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Gov. Abbott condemns Austin, O'Rourke for 'defunding police' rhetoric during Houston campaign stop

The Austin Police Association tells KVUE it is supporting Abbott's re-election campaign.

HOUSTON — While speaking in Houston about running for reelection in 2022, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott focused some of his comments on condemning the City of Austin for "defunding the police."

Abbott also mentioned his likely opponent in the gubernatorial race, Beto O'Rourke, in his comments about defunding the police. Abbott and O'Rourke both need to win their primary elections first, but it is expected those will be the two vying for the governor's office.

Abbott said O'Rourke supports the "defunding the police" movement and called him dangerous to public safety. 

"I am running for reelection to ensure that no leftist, radical liberal will take over the office of governor, like Beto O'Rourke, and be dangerous and defund our police," Abbott said.

RELATED: Austin wants to be a model of modern policing, but the future remains unclear

The KVUE Defenders have deeply-investigated Austin's attempt at modernized policing. You can see that report here.

To briefly recap, in 2020, Austin City Council members cut or reallocated about $150 million from the police budget and separated some operations from law enforcement oversight. The budget has since been fully restored because of a legislative mandate – something Abbott noted during his comments in Houston.

"So many people lost their lives because of the catastrophic way in which the City of Austin went about policing," Abbott said. "That's wrong, and because of it, the City of Austin ... because we passed this law, is having to refund their law enforcement efforts."

The Austin Police Association tells KVUE it is supporting Abbott's re-election campaign. The police union was one or more than a dozen law enforcement groups across Texas to gather in Houston to endorse him for a third term.

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