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AG Pax­ton Joins Sec­ond Let­ter in Sup­port of Law Enforcement

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined a coalition of 17 states, led by Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, in a letter to President Trump, Attorney General Barr and Congressional leaders in support of law enforcement. Today’s letter follows a separate letter to Congress that urged reconsideration of anti-police rhetoric, which was led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

 

Dear President Trump, Attorney General Barr, Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell,

McCarthy, and Schumer:

The American people are yearning for safety, stability, and security during these difficult times.

Our nation is being torn between those who respect the rule of law and those who rationalize the

lawless, tragic burning of our communities while rallying behind the “defund the police”

movement. We must defeat the notion that defunding the police will make America safer and

focus on what we can do to rebuild trust between law enforcement and our communities.

 

As chief legal officers of our states, we have a responsibility to ensure that our communities are

the safest places to live, work, and raise a family. We also recognize, however, that every state

and community is different. Some city officials seek to exist without law enforcement. Officials

in cities like Seattle wish to allow autonomous, police-free zones, while those in Philadelphia

and Raleigh choose to dole out licenses to loot through public proclamations declaring officers

will not make arrests for property theft. We know this approach is wrong and will most certainly

lead to increasing crime rates and an erosion in public safety and trust.

 

Elected officials who say “defund” doesn’t mean “defund” choose to ignore the consequences of

their statements and the public safety risk posed to their communities. To “defund the police”

would mean to turn our backs on victims of domestic violence, children being bought and sold

for sex, or the elderly being physically and emotionally abused. Creative parsing of the word

“defund” is at best an attempt to pacify the loud, lawless few, and at worst, an attempt to vilify a

noble profession.

 

It is also tragic to see so many elected officials cave to the political agenda of certain radical

groups within our cities, letting chaos and disorder reign supreme, while putting the safety of so

many at risk. Americans deserve better than this kind of capitulation. They deserve to have their

lives and property protected by the law.

 

The vast majority of law enforcement officers are underpaid and overworked public servants

who adhere to the notion that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Defunding the

police will not protect one single American, but will undoubtedly lead to reduced community

safety.

 

This misperception is dramatically dispelled by the results of the City of Chicago’s consent

decree with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2015. The Obama Administration’s

stringent settlement kept law enforcement officers from engaging with the community as a

lawful method of policing. As a result, hardworking police officers were disrespected and

demeaned by the community while arrests declined and crime skyrocketed. In 2016, a year after

the consent decree went into effect, Chicago saw the largest year increase in the murder rate in

the last 60 years, and two weeks ago, Chicago saw its single deadliest weekend in more than 60

years – 85 people were shot, 24 fatally.

 

James Madison, in Federalist No. 45, warned of the dangers of a federal government overtaking

state sovereignty. In fact, the impetus for the 10th Amendment was the passionate pursuit of

striking a balance between federal and state power. As defenders of the Constitution and

believers in the rule of law, we certainly believe in the states’ abilities to be laboratories of

democracy. It is up to each individual state and its citizens as to how they police themselves. The

Minneapolis City Council, the New York and Los Angeles Mayors, and countless other

communities who committed to defunding or dismantling their police departments may have the

right to make that decision, even if it results in lawlessness and anarchy. We, the undersigned

Attorneys General, on the other hand, support well-trained and well-funded law enforcement

agencies that will keep our families, states, and nation safe.

 

The law enforcement profession continues to evolve as the men and women on the frontlines

regularly receive advanced certifications and degrees, use new equipment and technology, and

engage in regular trainings. We know this because many of our states oversee law enforcement

training and enforce these high standards statewide. Many law enforcement agencies have taken

great strides to diversify their forces, institute policies that build trust and encourage problem

solving.

 

Our goal should be to empower law enforcement to legally and ethically fulfill their duties, not

restrict their ability to protect us all. We need to give law enforcement the tools and support they

need to help people, not take them away. Ultimately, providing support for police and restoring

trust between law enforcement and our communities will make all Americans safer.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christopher M. Carr

Georgia Attorney General

 

Read a PDF copy of the letter here.