Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Says He Will Sign Legislation Preventing Cities from Defunding the Police

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference where he provided an update to Texas’ response to COVID-19, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowed he would sign legislation that would make it harder for communities to defund the police after a shooting Saturday in Austin. The Republican governor retweeted the Austin Police Association president’s information about how long it took officers to respond to the the shooting, adding: “This is what defunding the police looks like.”

Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday tweeted that a call about the shooting came around 5:35 a.m. on Sunday morning. “No units available city wide for 12 minutes,” he said. He said Austin police arrived on the scene 16 minutes after the call came out and one victim was critically injured after being shot in the head.

Police say there appeared to be a disturbance between two drivers, and that it is possible that a bystander was shot in the head, according to CBS Austin. No arrests have been made.

In his tweet, Abbott wrote: “Austin is incapable of timely responding to a victim shot in the head.”

“Texas won’t tolerate this. We’re about to pass a law-that I will sign-that will prevent cities from defunding police. Sanity & safety will return,” Abbott said.

The bill states a municipality must hold hold an election if it proposes a budget for a fiscal year that – compared with the previous year’s budget — reduces funding, reallocates funds or reduces the number of police officers the department is allowed to employ. The bill passed in the state’s Senate but was postponed by the House on Sunday.

While Austin “defunded” its police department last year, supporters have said “defunding” isn’t about doing away with all funding for police departments. The practice is often a reallocation of some money from law enforcement to other services that could help the community.

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SOURCE: CBS News, Caitlin O’Kane

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