Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined a coalition of 17 states, led by Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, in a letter to President Trump, Attorney General Barr and Congressional leaders in support of law enforcement. Today’s letter follows a separate letter to Congress that urged reconsideration of anti-police rhetoric, which was led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
Dear President Trump, Attorney General Barr, Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell,
McCarthy, and Schumer:
The American people are yearning for safety, stability, and security during these difficult times.
Our nation is being torn between those who respect the rule of law and those who rationalize the
lawless, tragic burning of our communities while rallying behind the “defund the police”
movement. We must defeat the notion that defunding the police will make America safer and
focus on what we can do to rebuild trust between law enforcement and our communities.
As chief legal officers of our states, we have a responsibility to ensure that our communities are
the safest places to live, work, and raise a family. We also recognize, however, that every state
and community is different. Some city officials seek to exist without law enforcement. Officials
in cities like Seattle wish to allow autonomous, police-free zones, while those in Philadelphia
and Raleigh choose to dole out licenses to loot through public proclamations declaring officers
will not make arrests for property theft. We know this approach is wrong and will most certainly
lead to increasing crime rates and an erosion in public safety and trust.
Elected officials who say “defund” doesn’t mean “defund” choose to ignore the consequences of
their statements and the public safety risk posed to their communities. To “defund the police”
would mean to turn our backs on victims of domestic violence, children being bought and sold
for sex, or the elderly being physically and emotionally abused. Creative parsing of the word
“defund” is at best an attempt to pacify the loud, lawless few, and at worst, an attempt to vilify a
It is also tragic to see so many elected officials cave to the political agenda of certain radical
groups within our cities, letting chaos and disorder reign supreme, while putting the safety of so
many at risk. Americans deserve better than this kind of capitulation. They deserve to have their
lives and property protected by the law.
The vast majority of law enforcement officers are underpaid and overworked public servants
who adhere to the notion that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Defunding the
police will not protect one single American, but will undoubtedly lead to reduced community
This misperception is dramatically dispelled by the results of the City of Chicago’s consent
decree with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2015. The Obama Administration’s
stringent settlement kept law enforcement officers from engaging with the community as a
lawful method of policing. As a result, hardworking police officers were disrespected and
demeaned by the community while arrests declined and crime skyrocketed. In 2016, a year after
the consent decree went into effect, Chicago saw the largest year increase in the murder rate in
the last 60 years, and two weeks ago, Chicago saw its single deadliest weekend in more than 60
years – 85 people were shot, 24 fatally.
James Madison, in Federalist No. 45, warned of the dangers of a federal government overtaking
state sovereignty. In fact, the impetus for the 10th Amendment was the passionate pursuit of
striking a balance between federal and state power. As defenders of the Constitution and
believers in the rule of law, we certainly believe in the states’ abilities to be laboratories of
democracy. It is up to each individual state and its citizens as to how they police themselves. The
Minneapolis City Council, the New York and Los Angeles Mayors, and countless other
communities who committed to defunding or dismantling their police departments may have the
right to make that decision, even if it results in lawlessness and anarchy. We, the undersigned
Attorneys General, on the other hand, support well-trained and well-funded law enforcement
agencies that will keep our families, states, and nation safe.
The law enforcement profession continues to evolve as the men and women on the frontlines
regularly receive advanced certifications and degrees, use new equipment and technology, and
engage in regular trainings. We know this because many of our states oversee law enforcement
training and enforce these high standards statewide. Many law enforcement agencies have taken
great strides to diversify their forces, institute policies that build trust and encourage problem
Our goal should be to empower law enforcement to legally and ethically fulfill their duties, not
restrict their ability to protect us all. We need to give law enforcement the tools and support they
need to help people, not take them away. Ultimately, providing support for police and restoring
trust between law enforcement and our communities will make all Americans safer.
Christopher M. Carr
Georgia Attorney General
Read a PDF copy of the letter here.