Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva blasted advocates of defunding police and law enforcement departments Tuesday, accusing them of ignoring the good officers do during a crisis.
“I think this is selective amnesia from people that believe in a utopian society, if that exists," Villanueva told “America’s Newsroom". "If so, great, we can defund all law enforcement, all military. There will be no wars."
Villanueva also discussed the outbreak of violence in and around Seattle's Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, which has left one person dead and three others wounded.
“We have a conflict that has kind of artificially been made larger than it needed to be," he said, adding that "the moment the [Seattle government] abandoned the police precinct and the city blocks to the autonomous zone, that was a key point in this thing that has only escalated in getting bigger.”
Residents who live near the area expressed relief after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that city officials are working to end the protest following the outbreak of violence.
“It was doomed to happen from Day One,” Matthew Ploszaj, who lives in the vicinity, told KOMO News. “No one wanted to say it, but I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. It should have ended when the Car Tender [auto repair store] got broken [into] and the mob went down and broke his fence. It did not have to come to this.”
Villanueva went on to say that critics of police and law enforcement seem not to give credit to the many acts of heroism performed by officers in their communities. He recalled the November shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., in which two students were killed by a classmate.
“Just ask the parents in that school what they think about defunding school police," he said. "It was off-duty law enforcement that was the first on scene within seconds.
“They didn’t even hesitate. They ran in to try to contain the situation and save lives," Villanueva went on. "So, defunding police is not an answer ... It’s a question of what are you doing with police and how are you interacting with the community. That’s where the key to success is.”