Texas’ Abbott says he’ll sign bill that will prevent cities from defunding police

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Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texas Republican, tweeted out late Sunday that he intends to sign a bill that would essentially prevent cities in the state to defund police departments.

The governor retweeted a post from Kenneth Casaday, the president of the Austin Police Association, that was critical of the response time for a shooting call early Sunday. 

Casaday said the call came in at 5:35 a.m. and there were no units available in the city to respond for 12 minutes. He said the victim suffered a critical injury after being shot in the head. Police finally arrived at the scene at 5:51 a.m., he said.

Abbott used the shooting to underscore the need for police funding and said, “This is what defunding the police looks like.”

“Austin is incapable of timely responding to a victim shot in the head. Texas won’t tolerate this,” he said.

Austin police did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News seeking information about the shooting that Casaday mentioned and if funding restraints played a role in the response time.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that the City Council voted last year to reallocate up to $150 million from the police department. The paper reported that the city reduced the department’s operational budget by about $21.5 million. The paper said the savings were made by delaying to police academies. 

The Texas House of Representatives has passed House Bill 1900, and a Texas Senate committee is debating the bill. 

The NBC affiliate reported that the bill calls for the state to take a portion of the sales tax for cities in violation and divert them to state coffers.

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