- The Texas Municipal Police Association, the largest law enforcement group in the state, put out two ads in Austin telling drivers to “enter at your own risk” after the city slashed its police department budget.
- “Limited Support Next 20 Miles,” one of the signs reads.
- The billboards come in response to the Austin City Council’s decision to cut its police department budget by a third.
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A law enforcement group in Texas announced the release of two billboards that warn Austin visitors that the city slashed its police department budget.
“Warning!!! Austin Police Defunded Enter at Your Own Risk,” reads one of the billboards.
Another sign tells visitors that there’s “Limited Support Next 20 Miles.”
Amid calls to defund the police, the Austin City Council last month voted to cut $US150 million from its police department budget. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticised the decision, saying in a statement that it “paves the way for lawlessness.”
The Texas Municipal Police Association, the group behind the ads, announced the release of the billboards earlier this week in a Facebook post. On its website, the group bills itself as “the largest law enforcement association in Texas,” representing 30,000 officers across the state.
“This reckless act, a political stunt by the city council pandering to the radical left, will do nothing but endanger the people of Austin,” the Facebook announcement read.
“As the largest police association in Texas, it is our duty and responsibility to stand up for the brave men and woman of the APD, as well as the other law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction within the city limits which will have less of APDs resources to depend on, and to raise public awareness of the dangers of defunding not just Austin, but any city across the U.S.”
“Defund the police” has become a rallying cry among demonstrators protesting police brutality. Large-scale protests against police brutality erupted after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day. Months after Floyd died, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot a Black man named Jacob Blake in the back at least seven times, reigniting protests nationwide.
In response to the protests, several other cities across the country have announced substantial cuts to their police department budgets.