If You Want To Know What Disbanding The Police Looks Like, Look At Mexico

If You Want To Know What Disbanding The Police Looks Like, Look At Mexico

One of the most visible and insistent demands of the Black Lives Matter movement is the abolition or disbandment of the police—or at the very least defunding them, which taken to the extreme would amount to the same thing. “Abolish the police” has become a rallying cry among protesters and a litmus test for elected officials seeking to ally with them.

What comes after the police have been abolished remains unclear. Protesters and politicians alike are hazy on details, preferring instead to talk about “reimagining public safety” and throwing around vague terms like “community policing.”

Of course, in concrete terms what would happen if a city actually disbanded its police department, as the Minneapolis City Council pledged to do over the weekend, is that the county sheriff’s office or the state police—or perhaps even federal law enforcement—would step into the vacuum and the city would have almost no say in how it was policed or what policies county and state law enforcement agencies adopted.

But let’s say these ultra-progressive municipal governments could get their wish and abolish the police in their cities entirely. What would happen? Inevitably, an armed group would emerge and impose a monopoly on the use of force.

If you want an idea of how that works, look to our southern neighbor, Mexico, where over the past decade endemically corrupt police departments in some areas have been supplanted by autodefensas, or local self-defense militias. 

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