Three years ago, the “defund the police” movement got its start in Minneapolis, MN. A number of leftist politicians wasted no time in jumping on the bandwagon, along with a bunch of Hollywood celebrities – all of whom thought it was a great idea to slash police funding or, in some cases, to abolish the police entirely.
Shivanthi Sathanandan, currently the second vice-chairwoman of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) Party, was one of these early supporters. In June 2020, she called for taking action against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department” because “MPD has systematically failed the black community, they have failed ALL OF US … If you are still disagreeing with that BASIC FACT, I’m not sure what to say to you.”
That was then, and this is now. “Shivanthi Sathanandan, police hater, just got carjacked by reality,” reads a New York Post headline. The piece describes Sathanandan as a new convert to the law-and-order movement after a violent carjacking in which she was allegedly attacked in her yard by four “very young” men with guns. It quotes Sathanandan’s social media posts, featuring a selfie of her bloodied face and her thanks to the “incredible” Minneapolis police officers for their help, with the following message:
Look at my face. REMEMBER ME when you are thinking about supporting letting juveniles and young people out of custody to roam our streets instead of HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS… Look at my face. These criminals will not win. We need to take back our city. And this will not be the last you hear from me about this…
These men knew what they were doing. I have NO DOUBT they have done this before. Yet they are still on OUR streets…I’m now part of the statistics. I wasn’t silent when I fought these men to save my life and my babies, and I won’t be silent now. We need to get illegal guns off our streets, catch these young people who are running wild and creating chaos across our city AND HOLD THEM IN CUSTODY AND PROSECUTE THEM. PERIOD. (Emphasis in original.)
What happened to Sathanandan and her family is horrifying but unfortunately, not unique.
Although carjacking crimes are actually down in Minneapolis from this time last year, police statistics as of mid-September show assault offenses, sex offenses, vandalism/property damage, car thefts, and stolen property crimes in the city are all on the rise. There are also less police officers available to handle this surge in crime due, in part, to the aftermath of the police abolition/defund movement she was a proponent of.
While Sathanandan was agitating for the MPD to be dismantled, officers were leaving in unprecedented numbers – 40 cops were in the process of resigning or otherwise separating from the MPD, another 75 were on medical leave for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the riots that summer, and “dozens more” were expected to file for leave. According to a local newspaper, the attrition continued well into 2023: “as of May 2023, there were 585 sworn officers in the Minneapolis Police Department compared to a force of 892 in 2018, a decline of about 34%.” A 2021 statement by the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis outlining the reasons for the personnel losses includes, as one, the “false narratives spewed by uninformed politicians, activist groups and ultimately pushed by the media” that “added to the hatred towards the police, [and] diminishing trust and support from the community.”
It’s possible that Sathanandan has walked back her views on the MPD. However, the official “Action Agenda” of the Minnesota DFL Party she represents shows that the DFL is on board with plenty of like-minded liberal public safety notions, starting with “policies that prioritize restoration/rehabilitation,” supporting a “model of public safety that includes more professionals who are trained in mental health issues,” and adopting what it calls “common sense gun violence prevention measures,” like criminal background checks on all gun sales and red-flag orders. The DFL opposes “any efforts to weaken or eliminate Minnesota’s requirements for a permit to carry a handgun in public,” a law that we’re guessing had absolutely no effect on the four crooks that allegedly attacked her, beat her up and stole her car.
Much like New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who was happy to support “sanctuary city” status in theory until reality in the form of droves of arriving illegal aliens landed on his doorstep, Sathanandan, “now part of the statistics,” has received a brutal reminder that policies have consequences.