'Coddling Criminal Behavior Will End': Rick Scott, Senate Republicans Promise to 'Refund Police'

'Coddling Criminal Behavior Will End': Rick Scott, Senate Republicans Promise to 'Refund Police'

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) released an 11-point plan with 128 policy promises on Tuesday for Republicans if they retake control of Washington in 2022, including ending “soft-on-crime” policies and the “coddling of criminal behavior.”

Scott and his team previewed “An 11-point Plan to Rescue America” for Breitbart News ahead of its public release, the plan representing possibly the clearest overarching view any Republican has offered ahead of the midterm elections on the party’s vision for the future. Point three in the 11-point plan specifically addresses rising crime and anti-police policies in the hopes of remedying what the GOP views as disastrous fallout from months of anti-police Black Lives Matter riots in 2020 following the death of George Floyd. 

Scott told Breitbart News before the plan’s release that ending the crime wave is very simple: “Enforce the law.”

“First off, the police are the good guys and the criminals are the bad guys,” Scott said.

“You need to teach our kids how to respect the police,” he continued. “We’ve got to fund law enforcement and then we need to prosecute people for their crimes, and if you have a prosecutor who’s unwilling to prosecute or enforce the law, you fire them. I did this when I was governor. I had state attorneys that got elected with a plan to not enforce the law and so I took away their cases. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to start standing up for what we believe in.”

‘Re-funding the Police’

First on Scott’s list: funding the police, “stopping all efforts to defund or ‘re-imagine’ policing,” and bringing back respect for “people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.” 

During the 2020 anti-police riots, which were the the most costly riots in U.S. history, many leaders in blue cities caved to the leftist mob’s call to “defund the police.” The slogan, along with less potent but synonymous calls to “reallocate” funding, became popular with Democrats during and after the 2020 presidential election season. But following the defunding of police in many Democrat cities, murder rates rose 16 percent in 2021 across major U.S. cities, a trend which is already bleeding into 2022. Big cities are also continuing to see an upward trend of violent crime in places like Los Angeles and New York City — both of which defunded their departments and employed soft-on-crime so-called “bail reform” which allows career criminals back on the streets.

As crime began to rise, so did voters’ discontent with the outcome of “progressive police reform.” Poll after poll after poll has shown that a majority of voters do not support defunding police, and believe the policy has contributed to rising crime.  Democrats have begun to back away from the mess they created, at one point attempting to blame Republicans for defunding police. More recently, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Joe Biden have denounced the movement, Pelosi proclaiming that defunding police is not a policy of the Democrat Party. 

Here’s a list of the many times Democrats —not Republicans — supported defunding police. 

Notably, the movement had already begun to collapse in America’s most liberal cities.

Boosting Police Protections

Scott’s plan also promises to “support mandatory strict minimum sentences for all assaults involving serious injury to law enforcement officers,” and “strengthen qualified immunity and legal protections” for officers to “protect them from frivolous lawsuits.”

Early February reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database show that more police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2021 than in any year since 1995. In 2020, more than 60,000 law enforcement officers were assaulted in the line of duty. The FBI released the data, which showed  4,071 more officers assaulted compared to the 56,034 reported in 2019 — the second-highest number of assaults in the last decade.

“We believe it’s a combination … of the George Floyd protests — riots, if you will; a general feeling of a preference for less law enforcement; and less prosecution and less policing,” Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) and a 20-year police veteran, said in a Fox News report.

“Law enforcement officers have essentially been marginalized and demoralized and cast aside and encouraged now to enforce the law,” Johnson continued. “And so we’ve seen massive jumps in the homicide rate in cities across America.”

Cities like New York City also limited qualified immunity, which “shields state and local police from liability unless they violated a clearly established constitutional right,” the Hillreported. Far-left Democrats have pushed for the end of qualified immunity on a larger scale but have ultimately met with resistance.

Violent Crime Crackdown

Senate Republicans say they plan on “cracking down” on theft and violent crime by “imposing stiffer penalties,” and by forcing “prosecutors to prosecute.”

“At present, many prosecutors in big cities are allowing criminals to go free with no justice, and they are doing it on purpose,” the plan reads, adding that the GOP would try to make prosecution based on political ideology a federal crime.

The measures seem to be a stab at so-called “bail reform.” Deep blue cities have paired down penalties and removed bail for certain non-violent crimes, often not considering a criminal’s violent past. The policies, which “progressives” mistake for grace and compassion, have led to recidivism and chaos in some of America’s big cities. For example, 4 out of 10 criminal suspects freed by bail reform are rearrested.

Several heinous violent crime cases have also drawn attention to the consequences of letting criminals back out on the streets. Just recently, a homeless career criminal out on bail for robbery was accused of killing a woman by stabbing her 40 times in her Chinatown apartment. Roughly a week ago, another man who has tallied 44 arrests in his life was charged for a brutal mugging that took place on a Manhattan subway platform.

In Los Angeles, a man accused of stabbing 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer to death as she worked alone in an upscale furniture store was out at the time on $1,000 bail from an October 2020 misdemeanor arrest. He was also free on a $50,000 bond in Charleston, South Carolina in relation to a November 2019 arrest on suspicion of firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle.

Infamously, the man accused of plowing his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade last year — killing five people and injuring over 40 others — was out on $1,000 bond for a domestic abuse incident. In that case, a woman told police he purposefully ran her “over with his vehicle” while she was walking through a gas station parking lot.

Paring down penalties for shoplifting and other petty offenses has further plunged places like San Francisco and Los Angeles into panic. Shoplifting has become so rampant that Walgreens had closed 17 stores in Democrat-run San Francisco by the summer of 2021.

This just happened at the @Walgreens on Gough & Fell Streets in San Francisco. #NoConsequences@chesaboudinpic.twitter.com/uSbnTQQk4J

— Lyanne Melendez (@LyanneMelendez) June 14, 2021

Any effort to bring looters to justice in California is made null not only by removing cash bail, but also by a law which makes retail thefts of up to $950 misdemeanors instead of felonies, meaning that fewer are ever fully prosecuted.

For example, Los Angeles officials in December of 2021 said that they had made 14 arrests in connection with “mass looting” events in the city — however, all fourteen were quickly released from jail with or without posting bail.

That’s Not All

The GOP has several other crime-related priorities, including eliminating no-knock warrants for cases that do not involve violent crime, increasing penalties for spousal abuse and failure to pay child support, and enacting Marsy’s law, “which ensures victims of crimes have rights and constitutional protections equal to those who commit crimes.”

Lastly, the GOP will reportedly “oppose every attempt to deny our 2nd Amendment freedoms and will defend our gun rights always, at all costs.” Protecting Americans’ right to bear arms has always been one of the GOP’s strongest points, with Democrat opposition often blaming disembodied guns for violent crime and campaigning on ways to limit legal gun ownership.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter.

Katherine Hamilton