(updated May 14, 2021)
The origins of the modern-day defund the police movement are more mysterious than many people realize. Yes, the controversial movement began in Minneapolis, but not when you think it did. It was actually four years before the infamous George Floyd riots when signs of the movement first began to pop up. See what you think of the following strangely connected events and please share any more information you may have.
Last August, on an otherwise quiet night in Georgetown, protesters screamed,” WAKE YOUR ASS UP!” as they stormed through the sleepy neighborhood:
(This video tweet has since been deleted from Twitter)
Watching their disruption brought to mind a bizarre protest in Minneapolis that seems to have an uncanny connection, and which may have been the specific starting point of today’s nationwide defund the police movement.
Mysterious Origins of Defund Movement:
On July 13, 2016, a group of protesters sat down on Interstate 35W during morning rush hour and shut down Minneapolis. They called themselves the “Coalition To Wake Your Ass Up.” (Same as the chant in Georgetown.) News anchors that day struggled to keep a straight face when saying the group’s name. And few people took their ideas seriously. Members of the coalition said they were “non-black people committed to highlighting the voices of black organizers.” They told media to direct any further questions to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis spokesperson Oluchi Omeoga. Their demands included defunding and abolishing police departments across the country:
This protest was in response to the much-publicized fatal shooting of Philando Castile, by a police officer during a traffic stop nearby a week earlier. It seems to mark the beginning of the defund push in our modern era and the beginning of Black Lives Matter using white sympathizers on their front lines for this specific goal. The death of George Floyd four years later was just the spark that ignited the broader firestorm of defunding actions.
Pre-BLM Anti-Police Roots:
Further research shows a group called The Dream Defenders pre-dates BLM but laid the seeds for that organization. BLM came into being after a FaceBook post used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter appeared following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2013. Dream Defenders describe themselves this way:
“The Dream Defenders was founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. That Spring, young Black, Latinx, and Arab youth marched from Daytona Beach, Florida, to Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was killed. With that fire in their bellies, they then went back to their communities and campuses to organize.”
They fought to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law by occupying Florida’s State Capitol for 30 days. But they seem not to realize that case was about simple self-defense, as Martin was assaulting Zimmerman when he was shot to death.
Continuing Defund Movement Mysteries:
After the protest in Georgetown, I sent a message to the Coalition To Wake Your Ass Up‘s Facebook page. I asked if they still exist as a group or if they meshed into BLM, but did not hear back. I wonder if they were chanting in Georgetown. And I wonder what they think of today’s defund movement and their role in its history. Have they walked the streets of Minneapolis or St. Paul lately? Do they still believe we can do without the police or replace them with regular civilians?
In the police-free utopia imagined by progressives, will social workers be ready for challenges like these?
From the Citizen app:
BLM Ties to Palestinian Terrorist Organizations:
A piece by The Hill from Dec. 2016, spells out the intertwined relationship between BLM and Middle Eastern Anti-Israel groups:
“One of the groups in the movement coalition, Dream Defenders, has sent delegations to the Mideast and advocates support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department.”
This article by Aljazeera from Sept. 2016 boasts a link between BLM and Palestinian terrorist groups. The article celebrates their collaboration as a “historic alliance” of civil rights groups:
“Progressive forces now gathered around this noble movement for the dignity of black lives and beyond are in fact late in joining the rest of the civilised world denouncing the systemic violence at the core of the Israeli settler colony.”
Do Most People Really want to Defund the Police?
As for the core question–do people hate the police and want to defund or dismantle them? The answer appears to be a resounding, “No.” Regular people interviewed on the street–especially in higher-crime neighborhoods–support the police. Well-known Tyler Perry types of the world (video below) support the police. And a recent Gallup Poll shows a majority of all races want the same or more police presence in their neighborhoods. So it’s clear most people support the police:
It seems only criminals and progressive elites, with their private armed security, want less police protection for the masses. The Minneapolis City Council is pushing hard to defund their police department. Yet on June 30, 2020, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the city had spent $63,000 of taxpayer money to protect three council members with armed security for three weeks: https://www.startribune.com/mpls-has-paid-63k-to-protect-for-three-council-members/571555642/
The rest of Minneapolitans are on their own. The hypocrisy is incredible. Is it time to start a movement to defund city hall?
Most people support some types of police reforms, especially ones that root out the small percentage of corrupt or inept officers. But they aren’t bigoted enough to stereotype entire departments as racist or corrupt. And they certainly don’t buy into the backward idea of decreasing police funding right when violent crime is spiking to historic levels. Maybe it’s time for the arrogantly self-described ‘woke’ to wake their own asses up before it’s too late.