Portland, Oregon’s largest city, became the city that concentrated the leftist “defund the police” movement during 2020. After achieving a cut of more than $16 million, now, due to the worrying wave of crime and homicides, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler is requesting an extra batch of money to address the crime crisis.
After slashing its police budget by $16 million last year, the city epicenter of racial strife, has seen 20 homicides since the start of 2021, compared to just one this same period last year.
In response to the escalating violence, Portland’s Democratic mayor on Friday, March 12, requested $2 million in additional funding to put toward the city’s police force, citing a spike in homicides and other violent crimes, Fox News reported.
So far, city council members have not publicly commented on the matter and it is unknown whether or not they will support the request.
Wheeler’s request, came during his State of the City address, and three days after he condemned one of the latest killings in the city, in broad daylight of a 42-year-old man as he parked his car on Tuesday.
“This shooting was brazen and horrific,” Wheeler wrote on Twitter. “The City and its partners are working hard to prevent and reduce gun violence. This is a public health crisis that is harming our entire community.”
This shooting was brazen and horrific. The City and its partners are working hard to prevent and reduce gun violence. It's a public health crisis that's harming our entire community.https://t.co/wsDspv2mqe
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) March 10, 2021
Wheeler’s request drew media attention and plenty of criticism because Portland has been considered an epicenter of the “Defund the police” movement, in which liberal groups have attempted during 2020 to divert public money intended for safety departments and transfer it to initiatives tied to claims of racial equality.
Wheeler has been repeatedly criticized during the conflicts for his inability to control them, he even received criticism from then President Trump who repeatedly offered economic and police aid to deal with the riots, but they were rejected by the mayor.
However, in the face of Trump’s offer, Wheeler wrote a public letter which read, “Dear President Trump, Once again, you said you offered to help Portland by sending federal law enforcement to our city. On behalf of the city of Portland: No, thank you,” Wheeler wrote. He even went on to attack President Trump and among other things accused him that his offer was a “demagogic attitude.”
Already in early February the mayor of Portland publicly admitted defeat and acknowledged that the policies implemented to “combat” extreme left-wing organized crime had failed and consequently requested federal assistance in order to address the rising tide of violence by groups such as antifa and Black Lives Matter.
It has now formalized the request for additional funds and is awaiting comments from city council members.