Obama task force member says police officers are responsible for spike in violent crime, not ‘defund the police’

Violent crime has spiked in major cities nationwide in 2021, unfortunately coming on the heels of a year that was also characterized by higher-than-normal violent crime rates. So who is to blame? According to activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham, law enforcement is responsible for skyrocketing crime rates.

Cunningham’s comments are particularly eyebrow-raising because she is an influential voice who sat on former President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s Ferguson Commission.

What did Cunningham claim?

Cunningham, who is also an MSNBC contributor, argued Monday on MSNBC that the “defund the police” movement is not responsible for rising crime rates. Instead, she claimed police officers are at fault.

The context of Cunningham’s argument was a question from show host Stephanie Ruhle about the implications of the “defund the police” movement considering skyrocketing violent crime rates has become the primary issue in the New York City mayoral election.

Cunningham built her argument on the fact that police departments have not been defunded, but have, in fact, had their funding increased since 2020. In reality, cities are pumping more cash into law enforcement to battle violent crime and a shortage of police officers. Cunningham failed to mention that fact, instead outright suggesting that more funding, plus increased crime rates, means police officers are responsible.

“I think that there are a lot of police unions and GOP operatives that would like for us to believe that this recent crime wave has everything to do with this idea of defunding the police. But guess what… The police haven’t been defunded,” Cunningham said.

“If you actually look at the 50 largest cities’ law enforcement spending, as a share of the general expenditure in each of those cities, actually rose slightly from 13.6% to 13.7%. And many of the cities that have talked about removing that money, like Minneapolis and Seattle, they’ve actually paused or slowed how they were thinking about moving that money,” she continued.