Anti-cop Burlington city councilor won’t run again, leaves behind undermanned police force

by Guy Page

December 5: Perri Freeman, two-term city councilor, will not seek re-election in March. Ms. Freeman was a leader among the Defund the Police movement and also proposed disarming city police while on patrol. A like-minded Progressive has announced plans to seek her Central district seat.

December 6: Democrat Maea Brandt defeats Progressive to wins city council special election in the East district, giving Democrats narrow control over city council.

December 12: Burlington police, unable to safely, effectively respond to violent man barricaded in apartment, forced to ask UVM and South Burlington police for assistance.

Freeman (Antioch College, Class of 2015) defeated longtime city councilor Jane Knodell in the 2019 Progressive primary and soon, to quote Seven Days, “ushered in a new wave of Progressive politics in the Queen City.” Decriminalization of prostitution followed. But perhaps her most visible impact was on policing. Freeman and other young Progressives voted to reduce the force through attrition, supported a police oversight board, and marched at Mayor Miro Weinberger’s home with protesters who “demanded accountability for violent police actions.” Her proposal to disarm police (except in extreme situations) was met with derision and disbelief in some city circles, but indicated her anti-police goals.

Freeman informed Seven Days of her decision on Monday, December 5. Exactly seven days later, and just a few blocks away from the 1 North Avenue headquarters of the Burlington Police Department, a potentially deadly incident took place in which an understaffed BPD was forced to ask other local police departments for help.

At 7:10 PM BPD dispatchers received a call from a person at the 198 North Avenue apartment he shared with Vincent Ford, 26. The caller said Ford – known to police “owing to prior incidents” – had threatened to kill him.

“Because of other calls for service occurring in the city at that time, the Officer in Charge requested mutual aid from the University of Vermont Police Department,” a BPD statement said.

One (1) BPD officer and one UVMPD officer were sent to the location. They found Ford spitting, lunging, threatening, destroying property.

“To address the barricaded suspect, the BPD deployed its Emergency Response Unit, including calling in off-duty ERU officers,” BPD said. “The South Burlington Police Department also sent two officers to assist.”

About five hours later Ford exited by rear window, armed with knives and a hammer. He jumped from the roof and (unstopped by police) ran through neighborhood back yards until the cops dropped him with a non-lethal bean bag shotgun round. He was treated at the hospital and lodged at the state prison in St. Albans.

To sum up: Burlington police got help from two other police agencies – and were still too undermanned to prevent a rear-window escape of an armed and deadly individual.

Before Perri Freeman and her police-oppositional colleagues took over city government, Burlington was seen as a good place for cops to work. Nice city, good pay, good benefits. Now the pay is still good, but trust broken cannot easily be restored. So now when a major response is needed, Burlington police need to call other police, and hope they respond before lives are lost.

Maea Brandt’s election may, or may not, spell the end of the growth of Progressive policies in Burlington. But if so, Freeman’s legacy will be the human impact of defunding and devaluing the role of police in a modern U.S. city.

Categories: Burlington

12 replies »

  1. As long as this person never gets close to Church St or City Hall Park –
    He might be safe!!

  2. Freeman also has opened the path to legalized prostitution statewide…..wait until all the crime and drugs that inevitably follow that bad idea find the way to Burlington….pure insanity…

  3. The fact that an unabashed marxist anarchist like Perri Freeman was elected in the first place is a testament that a majority of Burlington voters in her district are either renters, deadbeats, junkies, or a combination of the three. Burlington has lost it’s soul. Any law-abiding Burlingtonian who contributes to society and cares ought to be extremely grateful that they have any level of police protection with the amount of abuse sworn officers endure there.

  4. The dearth of on duty officers in Burlington is palpable every time I’m there. I have to go there twice a month for route work. The only place I see them is on the corners in the marketplace (usually 2 cars) presumably dealing with the latest altercation. I never see any traffic patrol, making stop signs fully optional for even automobile drivers not just bicyclists…sarcastic yes but also true. The late model dark BMWs are regularly parked by city hall with young males far too young to afford them sitting waiting to interact with the residents of the full time encampment of the park and whomever else may want to conduct “business” I recently got an invite to join out of town family for dinner downtown on New Year’s Eve this year. I declined as I would rather not be mugged or have to shoot someone…just doesn’t seem like a great way to end the year and ring in the new. I’m sorry for some of the residents who deal with this, but most of them voted for this…and now it’s harvest time.

    • You should enlighten your visitors about how Burlington has been turned into a crime-ridden craphole by the volition of their own voters and suggest you all meet for dinner in South Burlington, Essex, Williston or Shelburne. You still should suggest they not leave any valuables in view in their vehicles while parked. If you have some liberals among them, it would make for some lively dinner conversation why you are not meeting at your favorite Burlington restaurant.

  5. Like every bomb thrower they flee after committing the act. Perr Freeman set the place on fire and now runs off. Typical

  6. My town, with the largest Trump vote in the state, has been running with a police force at 30-40%. We even have to have the staties patrol on certain days because there are zero officers available. By your ;logic, this is this also a reflection of “anti-cop” sentiment

  7. Defunding police in Burlington, with the subsequent increase in crime is a case study of the “Law of Unintended Consequences.”

    • With the apparent motivation among leftist agitators and anarchists to completely destroy “western” society, not sure we can assume it was unintended.

  8. Perfect I think all the Liberal nuts that live there are getting just what they voted for. Democrats have ruined Vt…