White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday cheered San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s decision to launch a policing crackdown in response to a surge in thefts and violent crime — a year after slashing her cops’ budget amid Defund the Police fervor.
Breed, a Democrat, last year reduced the local police budget by $120 million amid national anti-police brutality protests, but after rampant violent crime, including smash-and-grab sprees, on Tuesday she suddenly did an about face and ordered cops to get tough on “all the bulls–t that has destroyed our city.”
“We applaud the mayor making sure that there is more police presence in the city to protect Americans,” Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing, without mentioning the same mayor had helped cause the problems by going to war with that very police force.
“If you’re a mayor or local leader and there is a crime problem in your community, we think you should step up and do something about it, just as many mayors are already doing. And we’ve made clear that we’re going to offer federal support to help you do that to keep communities safe.”
She continued: “As just one example the Department of Justice announced last month grants to help put 50 more cops on the beat in San Francisco and funding for over 1,000 more community-oriented [policing] roles nationwide. The president has proposed doubling that program. So we want to make sure that that mayors and local leaders do indeed step up and make sure that they’re protecting their community.”
Breed abruptly pivoted this week when she ordered the crackdown. Breed said last year that she was “redirecting” $120 million “from law enforcement to start addressing [racial] disparities.”
In a speech this week, Breed said, “What I’m proposing today, and what I will be proposing in the future, will make a lot of people uncomfortable, and I don’t care. We are past the point where what we see is even remotely acceptable.”
“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” Breed said, without acknowledging her own role in her city’s crime spike.
“And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls–t that has destroyed our city.”
In addition to restoring police patrols in the city, Breed said she would push for legislation that would allow law enforcement real-time access to surveillance tapes and to make it harder to sell stolen goods.
Breed’s change of heart followed rampant shoplifting in the San Francisco region, including by large groups of people who raided area stores. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who represents San Francisco, also said this week that she disapproves of the increase in crime.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” Pelosi said. “Obviously it cannot continue. But the fact [is] that there is an attitude of lawlessness in our country that springs from I don’t know where… and we cannot have that lawlessness become the norm.”
In one high-profile incident, about 80 people on Nov. 21 swarmed a San Francisco-area Nordstrom department store and drove off in two dozen cars with up to $200,000 in goods, police said.
According to San Francisco police data, larceny is up more than 18 percent this year — with almost 29,000 such thefts, including from retail stores. Home burglaries are down slightly by 3 percent, but assaults are up 9 percent and murders are up 15 percent in the city.
Biden authored harsh federal laws in the 1980s and ’90s that critics say “mass incarcerated” poor people and minorities — drawing scorn from leftists in his party and also from some Republicans. But he was conspicuously quiet last year about calls to defund the police during the early phase of protests after the murder of George Floyd. This year, as violent crime spiked in many cities, Biden urged local officials to use COVID-19 relief funds to hire cops.