Recently in Policing Category

Justin McCarthy reports for Gallup:

Three in four Americans (76%) say they have "a great deal" of respect for the police in their area, up 12 percentage points from last year.

In addition to the large majority of Americans expressing "a great deal" of respect for their local police, 17% say they have "some" respect while 7% say they have "hardly any."

Gallup has asked this question nine times since 1965. The percentage who say they respect the police is significantly higher now than in any measurement taken since the 1990s and is just one point below the high of 77% recorded in 1967. Solid majorities of Americans have said they respect their local law enforcement in all polls conducted since 1965.

Mac Donald v. Solomon

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In a written debate regarding what the next presidential administration's policing and criminal justice policies should be, published on on Real Clear Policy, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald and Danyelle Solomon from the Center for American Progress face off.  This is the third part of a series on major policy ideas, from left to right.  It is worth reading.

Here is Mac Donald's piece, here is Solomon's and here are their responses to each other.

A Cop's Perspective on CopCams

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Sean Van Leeuwen has this post in the blog of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS):

ALADS has long supported issuing BWC [Body Worn Cameras] to all patrol and jail deputies. We believe this equipment will serve to protect them from frivolous complaints and help prosecute criminals who gas or attack deputies while they work in the jail or on patrol.

Despite their usefulness, BWC have limitations.  Recordings are two-dimensional, potentially hindered by frame count, limited to a single perspective and other technical limitations.  They are a useful addendum to the observations and recollections of deputies and other witnesses and are not by themselves a complete documentation of an incident. The Sheriff's Department completed a two-year body camera pilot program last year and is still reviewing the data collected.  While the test was promising, it was only limited to a few deputies at a few stations. Before such a program is implemented department wide, there will have to be a commitment for proper training and funding in order to ensure the success of a future BWC program.
In this piece in the City Journal, Heather Mac Donald laments for the blood-soaked streets of Chicago, a violence-plagued city she describes as "the country's most glaring example of what I have called the 'Ferguson effect.'"  Some disturbing figures Mac Donald includes to illustrate this:

  • In August 2016, 92 people were killed, making it the city's worst month for homicides since July 1993
  • In the first seven months of 2016, at least 15 children under the age of 12 were shot
  • So far in 2016, homicides and nonfatal shootings are up 47% over the same period of 2015, which was already up over the same period of 2014
  • On Labor Day weekend alone, 13 people were fatally shot and 51 were injured in shootings
Earlier this month, the Justice Department released a report accusing the Baltimore Police Department of racism, making particular note of the police practice of clearing corners of loiterers and trespassers in high-crimes areas.  This practice of enforcement, said federal lawyers, is oppressive to minority communities, a stance echoed by Black Livers Matter activists, academics and the press.  But what about the law-abiding people that actually live in such areas?  What do they want police to do in their communities?  As a matter of fact, they are begging the police to enforce trespassing and loitering laws.  In this article in the National Review, Heather Mac Donald writes

This critique of public-order enforcement ignores a fundamental truth: It's the people who live in high-crime areas who petition for "corner-clearing." The police are simply obeying their will. And when the police back off of such order-maintenance strategies under the accusation of racism, it is the law-abiding poor who pay the price.

Community members are not only frustrated, they are scared.  A gas station owner in West Baltimore, whose business became overrun by loiterers following the release of the DOJ report, begged the police to "[p]lease help me."  A grandmother worries about groups of teens hanging out around her steps because she wants her "grandkids to be in a safe environment."  A copy store owner, who noticed a worsening of loiterers following the Freddie Gray riots in April 2015, says he calls the police whenever people gather in front of his store because their presence "scares people away.  Legitimate people, honest people," which affects his ability to make money and pay his bills.  Another woman wonders, "What ever happened to loitering laws?"

Trump, His Critics, and Law and Order

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Donald Trump's recent comments on law and order have been a mixed bag.  He has said some things that are obviously wrong.  No, violence in our cities is not record levels.  Surely a New Yorker of Mr. Trump's age remembers how bad things were back in the day when the subway was so crime-infested and so dangerous that people felt they were taking their lives in their hands just to get to work.  Today is not that bad, not even close.

Even so, Trump is more right than his critics on the major issues.  Heather MacDonald has this article in the WSJ.  She quotes the usual suspects spewing the usual garbage, such as a historian reciting the very old and very wrong line that "the term law and order" is "racially tinged."  The fact that the anti-law enforcement side chooses to view "law and order" through a tinted glass does not tinge the object itself.

As over-the-top as Trump can be at times, his opponent and his critics comparing him to the likes of Adolf Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan are even more so.  See also this article by William McGurn, also in the WSJ.  MacDonald offers this explanation:

Why this frenzied effort to demonize Mr. Trump for addressing the heightened violence in inner cities? Because the Republican nominee has also correctly identified its cause: the false "narrative of cops as a racist force in our society," as he put it in Wisconsin.
The title of this post is taken from today's article in National Review by David French. The subtitle is, "The facts are a mere inconvenience for progressives stoking racial conflict."

It's hard to recall a political movement built on more verifiable lies and misinformation than Black Lives Matter, which exists to advance that notion that America is in the midst of a race-motivated epidemic of police shootings. From "hands up, don't shoot" to the extraordinary claim that it's "open season" on young black men, America is awash in rhetoric and fury that is already proving to be deadly to police and deadly to black communities across the United States.

I think the article is at some points overstated, but it is nonetheless a telling expose' of how the Left, and in particular the outlet Vox, is fanning racial animosity and unhinged condemnation of the police.  The piece is short and very much worth the read.

Normal People vs. DOJ Elites

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The Washington Post carries a story today about black people wanting only to live in peace and safety huddling together in one room of a Baltimore church, at the very moment a group of We-Know-Better DOJ lawyers (presumably with Harvard and Stanford degrees in hand) were in the room across the hall undermining their hopes.

The irony is more tragic than delicious, but plenty of both.

The picture would be bleak enough if the citizens of Baltimore were able to decide for themselves what kind of policing suits their needs.  It's that much worse when DOJ decides the question for them, never having to live with the bloody consequences once they drive their BMW's 35 miles back to Bethesda.

I would give a good deal if black lives actually mattered to DOJ in any operational sense, but it's not going to happen.  The on-the-ground reality black citizens are stuck living with is certain to take a back seat to the anti-police ethos now ruling the roost at the Department.
In Milwaukee over the weekend, yet another black man with most of his life ahead of him was gunned down by the police.  This has sparked calls for peace, and for a renewed national conversation about police misconduct and community trust.

I thought it would be useful to see what the conversation looks like.
In my last post, I quoted an AP story in which the co-organizer of a BLM chapter stated that the group "rejects using violence."

But some of our friends in the criminal defense bar are more discerning.  A criminal defense attorney from Knoxville, TN, Chris Seaton, wrote an article on the legal blog Mimesis titled, "Debate: Violence Against Cops Is Inevitable and Justifiable."  It was one of two pieces set forth in a point-counterpoint style in the wake of the police murders in Dallas and Baton Rouge. (The companion piece takes the opposing view, though in significant measure on prudential rather than moral grounds).

The article starts with a fair summary of its thesis (emphasis added):

In response to yesterday's shooting in Baton Rouge that as of 2 p..m. Sunday had three police officers dead, I was charged to debate whether violence against police is inevitable, wise or justifiable for African-Americans?  After consideration, I take the side that in our current climate, violence against police is not wise for African-Americans.  However, it is the inevitable and justifiable conclusion of militarizing police forces, lack of officer accountability following shootings of African-Americans, and silencing protests with ridiculous arrests.

I encourage readers to survey Mr. Seaton's article so that they can see for themselves the full case, larded though it wisely is with lots of wiggle room, for gunning down random police officers 

BLM may (when convenient) disclaim violence, but it should know, and very likely does know, that the case it's actually interested in has already been made..

How BLM-style Hate Killed Korryn Gaines

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I blogged yesterday about the police shooting of Korryn Gaines, a black woman and mother of two small children. Gaines' killing is already being touted by the anti-American academic Left as the new Ferguson (see this story)  --  which I suppose is appropriate, giving the rampant deceit and ginned-up outrage from which the Ferguson fable was woven.

The point I'll make now is that, in all likelihood, Ms.Gaines would be alive today but for the kind of whipped-up hatred the Black Lives Matter movement, with its abettors, is spewing across this country. 

The backstory of Korryn Gaines is fascinating, tragic, and most of all, revealing.  It's provided by the Washington Post's excellent crime reporter, Tom Jackman.

Back to the Future

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To follow up on Michael's post about the departure of NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, it's useful to remember, in the struggle against crime, where we came from  -- because with the current retreat from policies that work, we're headed right back there.

From the jacket of The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America by Prof. Barry Latzer:

A compelling case can be made that violent crime, especially in the period after the late 1960s, was one of the most significant domestic issues in the United States, and perhaps in the nations of the West generally. Aside from the movement for black civil rights, it is hard to think of a phenomenon that had as profound effect on American life in the last third of the 20th century. After 1965, crime rose to such levels that it frightened virtually all Americans and prompted significant alterations in everyday behaviors and even in lifestyles. The risk of being "mugged" became an issue when Americans chose places to live as well as schools for their children, when they selected commuter routes to work, and when they planned their leisure activities. In some locales, people were fearful of leaving their dwellings at any time, day or night, even to go to market. In the worst of the post-1960s crime wave, Americans spent part of each day literally looking back over their shoulders.

How to Lie While Telling the Truth

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The Washington Post features a story today that reflects on policing and African Americans.

The nub of it is this:  Police in Baltimore County arrived at the home of a young woman, Korryn Gaines, to serve a warrant that arose from an April traffic stop.  Ms. Gaines was a black mother of two small children, one of whom was nearby as the police arrived.  The police did not succeed in serving the warrant, and instead killed Ms. Gaines in a hail of gunfire.  Her five year-old son was injured.  Some of the episode was recorded with live-streaming.  Thus far, no criminal charges have been lodged, or are known to be under consideration, for the police who did the shooting.

Now, everything I have written in that paragraph is true.  And false.

Two Events, Juxtaposed

Today was revealing about the place of policing in this country.

As Kent noted, it saw the naming of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as the first featured office holder to speak at the Democratic National Convention.  Ms. Rawlings-Blake has presided over three quite notable episodes during her tenure: the Freddie Gray riots, in which she directed the police to stand down; an ensuing huge increase in the number of murders in her city; and what at this point must be considered a largely concocted case against six police officers, not one of whom has been convicted of anything.

As this was going on, Baton Rouge buried Montrell Jackson, the last of three policemen to be gunned down in a staged attack eight days ago. To my knowledge, neither Ms. Rawlings-Blake nor any other Convention speaker mentioned Jackson, his murder, or his funeral.
Databases are all to the good  --  if you take the time to look behind the data. Unfortunately, people in the press and academia have become experts at putting out "databases," then citing them for a distorted rendition of what they actually show. They do this knowing that only a fraction of readers will get beyond the article's first few paragraphs.

Hence this story:

Baton Rouge cop killer Gavin Eugene Long and others who have killed police officers in the line of duty are included in The Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-award winning "Fatal Force" database, a review conducted by The Daily Caller finds.

The database also counts Omar Mateen, the Islamist who was killed by police in Orlando after slaughtering 49 people at a gay nightclub, as one of the 533 people killed by cops so far this year.

The database, which includes demographics of individuals fatally shot by police as well as details about their background and the circumstances of the shooting, has been touted by reporters and activists for filling in a gap left by the FBI's limited statistics.

But the database -- which counted 990 police shooting victims last year -- is often cited by activists without the important context that many of the people killed by police officers deserved it.


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