The words "murders," "robberies," "assaults" and "rapes" flash across the screen over images of news articles and caution tape, noting all are on the rise in Minnesota.

The television ad, part of a recent $750,000 television buy from the national Republican Governors Association, puts the blame for those statistics on DFL Gov. Tim Walz, who is seeking a second term.

"What was Tim Walz's response?" says a voice in the ad. "He pushed to defund our police."

Except Walz was opposed to the measure on the ballot in Minneapolis last fall that would have amended the city charter to eliminate a requirement to keep a department with a minimum number of officers based on population. The amendment would have required the city to create a new Department of Public Safety.

Republicans often refer to the initiative as the "defund the police" movement, but the ad is wrong in claiming Walz supported it.

Walz came out in opposition to the ballot measure in an interview with the Star Tribune at the State Fair in 2021, just a few months before it was defeated in the November election.

"We see this both here and across the country, increasing crime coming out of COVID. We need to recognize that the police force is going to be part of that solution," Walz said, when asked in an interview about the ballot question.

Walz said he thought the measure was too complicated for a referendum and would be better debated among elected officials.

"I just think that the debate appears to be too simplified and I think it's fraught with peril to just use a slogan like 'defund the police,'" he said.

The 30-second ad, funded by the RGA through a state political fund, cites a June 2020 Star Tribune article about Walz and DFL leaders pushing a series of police reforms in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd's killing by a Minneapolis police officer.

While Democrats pushed for use-of-force standards, an increase in oversight of police discipline and some community-based alternatives to traditional law enforcement, none of those measures supported taking funding from police.

In July, legislative Democrats and Republicans ultimately came together to pass a package of police reforms that included a statewide ban on chokeholds and neck restraints and a prohibition on warrior-style training for officers, among other changes.

Scott Jensen, the Republican candidate for governor, was a state senator at the time and also supported the package, which Walz signed into law.