Democrats at the state Capitol are growing increasingly alarmed about the impact rising crime could have on their party in 2022.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told the Colorado Sun he’s spoken with several Democrats who expressed that concern to him directly.
Suthers also said during an interview for the story that he thinks the rise in violent crime in Colorado will become a political problem for Democrats in 2022. Colorado Republicans have already made clear they plan to attack Democrats on that front.
Suthers said he’s talked with Democratic state lawmakers — “I won’t name names” — who are worried about as much.
“Crime really hasn’t been a political issue for about 30 years,” he said.
Suthers’ comments came in a broader interview about the ACLU’s growing influence among Democrats in the General Assembly, and the party’s embrace of their soft-on-crime agenda.
“They have influence because they have built relationships with legislators, especially legislators who are looking to do criminal justice reform, and have made themselves the go-to organization and starting point for legislation development,” [State Rep. Leslie Herod] said.
Herod said that even though the ACLU doesn’t directly contribute to campaigns like other groups that lobby at the Capitol, they have power over lawmakers — particularly those with ambition — because they have so much data and connections to grassroots groups.
“Literally, if I pick up the phone and need something, they will do it,” she said. “I think that matters.”
And just what has the ACLU been up to at the State Capitol?
Pushing Democrats to pass sweeping police reform legislation that has led to attrition among local law enforcement, just as crime continues to grow.
The ACLU also got behind two bills last session that are reportedly sending Democrats into a full blown panic.
S.B. 62 and S.B. 173 would have prohibited arrests for several misdemeanors and felonies. As former Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler explained at the time, the bills would have provided “stay out of jail free cards” for suspected felons.
As I wrote on these pages several weeks ago, the ACLU-drafted bill prohibits arrests for many of the crimes that make up our current and well-documented lawless tsunami, including car theft, burglaries, riots, destruction of private property, theft of up to $100,000, and many more. Those offenders would be given mere summonses — like traffic tickets — to appear in court, which they could then skip up to three times before the court imposes a monetary bond. It is not fair to call SB 62 a “get out of jail free” card. It is a “stay out of jail free” card.
The bills ultimately died but not before a number of high profile Democrats like Attorney General Phil Weiser threw their support behind the legislation.
Law enforcement has blamed much of the 2020 Colorado crime wave on COVID policies that required police to issue summons instead of arrests to reduce jail populations.
S.B. 62 and S.B. 173 would have enshrined many of those emergency policies from the early stages of the pandemic into law.
Making matters even worse, Denver DA Beth McCann’s office has been hard at work releasing criminals with little or no bond.
Denver’s police Chief Paul Pazen said earlier this year that kind of pure insanity is contributing to the rise in violent crime.
It’s gotten so bad Pazen began partnering with the feds so suspected criminals’ cases will be heard in federal court.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen has had it. He says his officers are arresting a record number of armed felons, but the Denver County Court and Denver District Attorney’s Office are releasing them with low or no bonds.
In a desperate attempt to address the issue, he’s forming a partnership with federal agents so the cases will be heard in federal court instead, where prosecutors and judges show less leniency toward violent offenders.
Also at issue is the impact anti-law enforcement fervor on the left is having on local police departments.
Pazen said in September anti-cop rhetoric is leaving to officers leaving metro area departments in droves.
Attorney General Phil Weiser’s loaded and non-sensical “patterns practices investigation” that labeled Aurora PD racist is another problem for Democrats.
The gist of the report is this: APD is racist in the performance of its duties because it contacts and arrests a higher percentage of Blacks than reside in Aurora. … Such rationale ignores crime trends, individual will, data since the dawn of data, and common sense.
If the AG’s thesis is true, his next “patterns and practices” targets must be the agencies in his home of Denver and Gov. Jared Polis’ home of Boulder.
Looking at 2019-2021 Uniform Crime Report data for Denver, and using the language and logic of the AG’s report: the relative proportion of Denver Police citations, summonses, and arrests involving Black subjects was more than 3 times higher than would be anticipated based on the relative percentage of Black individuals in Denver’s population alone. That is a higher percentage than Aurora PD.
When law enforcement can’t event trust the Attorney General not to slander their character, can you really blame them from walking away from their jobs?
The fact Democrats have only now realized that hopping on the soft-on-crime bandwagon will hurt them at the ballot box is a day late and a dollar short.
They will be rightfully tagged as the party of crime in 2022, and Democrats only have themselves and their policies to blame.