This past week, two elected officials—U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania and Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford—were carjacked within hours of each other.
Lightford's black Mercedes was hijacked in Chicago by three masked suspects and gunfire ensued, though she and her husband were left physically unharmed. The next afternoon, in Philadelphia, Scanlon's vehicle was hijacked at gunpoint in Philadelphia. The suspects were later apprehended.
While both of the officials are currently navigating the trauma, the conservative New York Post highlighted their support for police reform, which they especially expressed during the nationwide protests against racist police brutality last summer.
Two Dems who support police reform carjacked less than 24 hours apart https://t.co/jushwinWqX pic.twitter.com/F3Jtfusdfl
— New York Post (@nypost) December 23, 2021
The conservative talking point that Democrats universally want to defund or abolish police continues to be parroted by Republican media personalities, despite the broad array of proposed solutions to counteract police violence.
One of those proposals is to dispatch mental health specialists instead of armed police officers to nonviolent episodes—a measure both Scanlon and Lightford supported in their respective chambers. One report from 2016 found that a quarter of people killed by police displayed signs of mental illness. The dispatch of mental health specialists instead of police in nonviolent, non-criminal acts has proven to work in cities where it's been executed.
The Post's emphasis on Scanlon's and Lightford's support for police reform suggested the crimes were proof of the need for policing with minimal oversight.
But some pointed out why this assessment was flawed: the crime was not prevented and both elected officials were endangered.
So overfunding the police doesn’t work? https://t.co/npdYrpLJsG
— John Hamasaki (@HamasakiLaw) December 24, 2021
Police funding in the US is at record levels, not just in US history, but in HUMAN history.
If that can't stop carjackings, maybe consider that POLICE DON'T ACTUALLY PREVENT CRIME. https://t.co/pXkwv5Gfz8
— Lee "Evil J. LandBaron III" Carter (@carterforva) December 24, 2021
so the police not preventing crime you saying https://t.co/utEOPy4LqV
— Stanley Earl. (@Gluvvvvvv) December 24, 2021
thanks to the New York Post, i know that if i'm ever being carjacked, all i need to do is shout "I LOVE THE POLICE VERY MUCH AND THINK EVERYTHING THEY DO IS PERFECT" and the carjackers will vanish into thin air https://t.co/ZBvbE11Ccv
— 🌨 🦑 primary everyone always (@AntiNateSilver) December 24, 2021
Police budgets grew across the country, including in these districts.
Police didn't stop the carjackings.
Your narrative is backwards. https://t.co/0louGTgydg
— The_Pale_H0rse☭ (@The_Pale_H0rse) December 24, 2021
so what did the cops do to stop it
answer quickly https://t.co/rb7Hvs6O3u
— Dan (@dannah__montana) December 24, 2021
Others were happy to see the two lawmakers become victims of a crime.
Poetic justice, put it in a song https://t.co/yRacb8NUJ8
— 𝔼𝕘𝕘 ℕ𝕠𝕘 ℕ𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕤𝕥 (@ollliiv) December 24, 2021
Neither bill that Scanlon or Lightford proposed would have dispatched mental health experts to an armed carjacking.