Criminal Justice Reform is Dead, and “Defund the Police” Did It

Dr. Munr Kazmir
6 min readOct 29, 2021

But there are still three boring, noncontroversial reforms which could be set in motion with bipartisan support immediately.

June 4, 2021 — Minneapolis — Authorities move in to push out and make arrests of protesters after a dispersal order is given. Protesters have been gathering at the location where Winston Smith was killed by law enforcement the day before. (photo: Chad Davis)

Look! It’s a bipartisan groundswell of popular support for reforming policing and criminal justice in America!

Quick, what do we do?

Defund police departments! Abolish the police! End qualified immunity! End cash bail!

…and a list of 10 other demands more suitable to a hostage negotiation; each one guaranteed to get pushback from all and sundry, including from opponents willing to fight tooth and nail every agonizing step of the democratic process.

Not just Republicans, either; far from it. The above proposed measures give police unions- a reliably voting Democratic block until approximately yesterday- heart failure. Democratic politicians pushing such measures put progressive police officers everywhere in a bit of a bind; their livelihoods or party loyalty?

For working-class cops who are Democrats, pushing mad ideas like “defund the police” off on a tiny minority of radical progressives is the only course of action.

More moderate prominent Democrats might not have been as explicit as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar in their support, but they were hardly loudly clamoring voices of reason against radical ideas like “defund the police”. Moderate Dems on Capitol Hill and beyond defended the defunders, and even looters and arsonists using the protests as cover for violence and criminality.

What can local progressives elected to public office do?

They now have an army of highly-involved, elite fellow progressives clamoring at them to defund the police- online and off. There are no clearly contrary marching orders coming down from on high. No effort is being made on a national basis to walk-back some of the more incendiary rhetoric against cops lobbed during the height of the George Floyd protests.

No effort is being made to reform the unfairly tarnished image of ordinary beat cops everywhere- the lowest paid members of the law enforcement community, the lowest rungs on the corporate ladder.