Mitchell argued that would be, in effect, calling for defunding police. “Let me tell you what happens when you do that. That’s not going to take patrol officers off the streets, that’s going to take sex crimes detectives out of the advocacy centers because I’ve seen it and put them on the streets. So we’re going to have less people investigating crimes against children and women,” Mitchell said. Simons asked Gunnigle directly, “Do you support defunding the police?” “No. That is not part of my platform,” she responded. “That’s nothing I’ve ever tweeted. And you know what? The county attorney knows that. The county attorney has been in that office for 30 years and knows that during those 30 years, the office has never once passed a police budget. It has never once advocated for a police budget.” “The county attorney has nothing to do with funding police and, frankly, I am so offended that she would characterize support of mental health programs — that mental health first responders can respond to mental health cases in our community — as something dealing with police funding,” Gunnigle said. Did you catch how quickly Gunnigle changed the subject to say she would not be able to defund the police as county attorney? That wasn’t the question. It was, “Do support it?” Her response said a lot about how she views the police, with whom she would have to work closely as the county’s top prosecutor. Mitchell did not let her get away with it. “Where is that going to come from? That’s going to come from taking money away from the police,” she said. Mitchell went on to highlight that Gunnigle’s campaign manager, Bruce Franks Jr., also wants to defund the police and abolish prisons. According to a Sept. 12 Fox News report, Franks, a former Missouri state representative, posted on Facebook in April 2021, “Stop trying to reform the f****** police! Defund and Abolish!” “When we say DEFUND the police, f*** your rebuttals on why it doesn’t make sense,” he wrote on Facebook that same month. Mitchell also highlighted Franks’ radical views during a September debate on KPNX-TV.
The Phoenix City Council is finalizing its 2020-2021 budget. Join me in requesting they reallocate $25 million from the Phoenix Police budget to mental health and youth programs. #25SavesPHXLives— Julie Gunnigle (@JulieGunnigle) June 17, 2020
pic.twitter.com/4kAghA3iD9 — Brian Anderson (@AZBrianAnderson) September 9, 2022During the PBS debate, Simons asked Gunnigle to respond Mitchell’s characterization of Franks. “Hi, I’m Julie Gunnigle,” Gunnigle said to Mitchell. “You’re running against me and not my staff. My platform for reform is evidence-based and supported by both conservative and liberal thinkers, and it will save us money while keeping us safer.” Mitchell responded to that in her closing statement: “You are who you keep company with,” she said. The Western Journal reached out to the Dunnigle campaign regarding her 2020 tweet and received a kind of off-the-wall emailed response from spokeswoman Dawn Penich-Thacker, who also supports defunding the police, according to Fox News. “Let me put it this way. If you hoped your Granny was going to give you $25 for the holidays this year, a $5 raise over last year, and a gradual raise over every other year, but you didn’t know for sure, yet lo and behold, Granny gave you the same $20 and handmade sweater she gave you last year, would you cry that you have been ‘defunded’ or would you acknowledge you were kept whole/sustained at your existing levels by someone being responsible on a budget?” Penich-Thacker asked. She added, “So no, Julie Gunnigle has never uttered the word ‘defund’ in this context and you can see by a simple website visit that it is NOT part of her evidence-based platform for real Justice and accountability. She is a vocal advocate of using data and fact to innovate and adjust criminal and legal policy to actually serve taxpayers for the first time in decades.” The Phoenix police budget was $721 million in 2019, which was increased to $745 million in 2020. Maricopa County is the fastest-growing county in the nation and has been for years, so increasing Phoenix’s police budget year-over-year would make sense. Gunnigle looks like another in a line of liberal prosecutors who have helped facilitate the current crime wave in the U.S. If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, acts like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Maricopa County does not need a Boudin or Gascón-type top prosecutor who would allow Phoenix to turn into another San Francisco or LA. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.