The Myth of Systemic Police Racism

Thank you, Heather Mac Donald, for bring some clarity to this discussion with numbers. mrossol.

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WSJ  6/3/2020 by Heather Mac Donald

George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has revived the Obama-era narrative that law enforcement is endemically racist. On Friday, Barack Obama tweeted that for millions of black Americans, being treated differently by the criminal justice system on account of race is “tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal.’ ” Mr. Obama called on the police and the public to create a “new normal,” in which bigotry no longer “infects our institutions and our hearts.”

Joe Biden released a video the same day in which he asserted that all African-Americans fear for their safety from “bad police” and black children must be instructed to tolerate police abuse just so they can “make it home.” That echoed a claim Mr. Obama made after the ambush murder of five Dallas officers in July 2016. During their memorial service, the president said African-American parents were right to fear that their children may be killed by police officers whenever they go outside.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz denounced the “stain . . . of fundamental, institutional racism” on law enforcement during a Friday press conference. He claimed blacks were right to dismiss promises of police reform as empty verbiage.

This charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today. However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

On Memorial Day weekend in Chicago alone, 10 African-Americans were killed in drive-by shootings. Such routine violence has continued—a 72-year-old Chicago man shot in the face on May 29 by a gunman who fired about a dozen shots into a residence; two 19-year-old women on the South Side shot to death as they sat in a parked car a few hours earlier; a 16-year-old boy fatally stabbed with his own knife that same day. This past weekend, 80 Chicagoans were shot in drive-by shootings, 21 fatally, the victims overwhelmingly black. Police shootings are not the reason that blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined; criminal violence is.

The latest in a series of studies undercutting the claim of systemic police bias was published in August 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

The false narrative of systemic police bias resulted in targeted killings of officers during the Obama presidency. The pattern may be repeating itself. Officers are being assaulted and shot at while they try to arrest gun suspects or respond to the growing riots. Police precincts and courthouses have been destroyed with impunity, which will encourage more civilization-destroying violence. If the Ferguson effect of officers backing off law enforcement in minority neighborhoods is reborn as the Minneapolis effect, the thousands of law-abiding African-Americans who depend on the police for basic safety will once again be the victims.

The Minneapolis officers who arrested George Floyd must be held accountable for their excessive use of force and callous indifference to his distress. Police training needs to double down on de-escalation tactics. But Floyd’s death should not undermine the legitimacy of American law enforcement, without which we will continue on a path toward chaos.

Ms. Mac Donald is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of “The War on Cops,” (Encounter Books, 2016).

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-myth-of-systemic-police-racism-11591119883?mod=trending_now_pos1

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I fear for america

Yes, there are racists in America. Always have been and always will be.  But William Galston is likely closer to the truth in his analysis that there is something missing in American police organization that will not correctly address the “bad apples”, the bad cops who are the cause of an extremely high percentage of the problems.  And if the Police unions bear some of the blame, they need to own it too.  mrossol

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WSJ 6/3/2020. by William A Galston

Along with millions of Americans, including President Trump, I watched the video in which former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes before Floyd died. Although Mr. Chauvin knew he was being recorded, he appeared not to care. He must have believed that he could act with impunity. And why not? The 18 complaints previously filed against him had led to nothing more than two letters of reprimand.

This is part of a larger pattern. Civilians have lodged more than 2,600 complaints against Minneapolis police officers since 2012, the Journal reports. Only 12 have resulted in disciplinary action, and the most severe penalty was a 40-hour suspension from duty. It is hard to believe that the facts underlying so many complaints warranted no more than this.

Rioters Torch the Rule of Law

00:00 / 23:14

Writing in these pages on Monday, Robert L. Woodson, a veteran African-American leader, recalls his work decades ago with the National Black Police Association, which recommended requiring police officers to restrain or even arrest other officers who were using undue force against civilians. “Loyalty and commitment to the rule of law should prevail over loyalty to fellow officers,” Mr. Woodson writes.

This did not happen in Minneapolis last week. The three other officers on the scene did nothing to restrain Mr. Chauvin and said almost nothing to persuade him to alter his conduct. It is hard to believe that they would have behaved this way if Mr. Woodson’s unarguable principle had been an enforceable rule in their department.

In some ways, Minneapolis was ripe for this incident. The city’s income gap between white and African-American households is among the widest in the country. Minorities are significantly underrepresented in its police force. Only 8% of its officers live in the city—almost none in minority communities—compared with a nationwide average of 40%.

Although Minneapolis has had its share of reformist police chiefs and elected officials, change has come haltingly. As in many other cities, the police union has protected its members against discipline and dismissal. The current head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis was named in a racial-discrimination lawsuit brought by a group of black officers, including the city’s current police chief.

Despite its special history, Minneapolis is far from unique, which helps explain the eruption of protests across the country. The U.S. has a pervasive problem. Bolstering federal criminal and civil laws against police misconduct is part of the solution—if the attorney general is committed to enforcing them vigorously. But the bulk of the response must take place at the state and local level, starting with Mr. Woodson’s proposal. And while officers charged with misconduct are entitled to due process, police unions should be deprived of the power to thwart needed disciplinary action.

Sadly, Americans’ response to these episodes has become routinized. We repeat, accurately, that most officers are dedicated public servants doing their best, under difficult conditions, to protect local residents and preserve public order. We insist, as we should, on preserving a bright line between peaceful protest, which is the right of every citizen, and violence against lives and property. And we recognize, rightly, that when arson and looting occur, minority-owned businesses are often the principal victims.

But Americans have been mouthing these sentiments for decades, and nothing has changed. A structural problem requires a structural response. We need one urgently.

I have long regarded 1968 as the worst year for America since the Civil War. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the violent protests it sparked; the killing of Robert F. Kennedy and the Democratic Party’s subsequent self-immolation at the Chicago convention; intensifying controversy over the Vietnam War, which divided classes and generations; George C. Wallace’s racist and populist presidential campaign, which garnered 13.5% of the popular vote and 46 electoral votes—these were but some of the milestones in that annus horribilis.

April 1968. Smoke was billowing in the distance—from the South Side—as I drove in Chicago, where I was a student at the time. I remember saying to myself: It can’t get worse than this. For more than half a century it didn’t—until now. A health crisis, an economic crisis, and a racial crisis have converged to produce a clear and present danger to American democracy. U.S. enemies abroad cannot contain their glee; America’s friends regret our plight—and fear for the future of a world order that was built on a foundation of American power, principles and persistence.

Adam Smith famously remarked that there is “a lot of ruin in a nation.” But there are limits, and we are testing them. Previous crises have always summoned the leadership the U.S. needed. Will our current crisis do the same? I’m not sure. I fear, as never before, for the future of my country.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ive-never-been-so-afraid-for-america-11591139729?mod=opinion_featst_pos3

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America’s New Nihilism – WSJ

America has deployed almost all of the progressive’s solutions to “social ills”.  Yes, as Mr. Henninger says, what has changed? Not much.  Could it be that the progressive solutions are no solutions at all?  Leadership would be pointing this out all day long.   mrossol

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WSJ 6/3/2020. by Daniel Henninger

This is not 1968. It’s worse.

The late 1960s were the heyday of modern American liberalism, which was then an ideology of hope. A bipartisan Congress passed landmark civil-rights legislation in 1964 and 1965. The precipitating event of the urban riots in 1968 was the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. New York, Trenton, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Washington were on fire. Arguably back then, despite passage of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, not enough time had passed for liberal policies to ameliorate conditions in the inner cities.

Last week, George Floyd died after rough treatment from arresting Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, who was arrested and charged with murder. Since then, there have been daily protests accompanied by riot and pillage in multiple U.S cities. A primary claim made repeatedly this week is that the U.S., which means the American people, are guilty of perpetual “systemic racism.”

It is evident from the coverage that most of the demonstrators were born after 1990. By then, the Great Society programs had been in place for 25 years, and now it is 55 years. Annual budget appropriations totaling multiple trillions of dollars on Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, public housing, rent subsidies and federal aid to public schools have produced . . . what?

Since the 1960s, essentially little has changed in the neighborhoods at the center of those long-ago urban riots. By current telling, they are about as poor, as crime-ridden, as under-educated and in poor health as they were when LBJ said he would change them. That means five decades of stasis and stagnation in America’s most marginalized places, virtually all of it under Democratic—now “progressive”—political control.

The failure of the liberal model is by now so embarrassing that the current owners of that model have created an alternative universe of explanations, such as blaming it on American settlers in the early 17th century or the nonexistence of “justice.”

It must be working because marchers in Paris and Berlin, of all places, are lecturing the U.S. on systemic racism. Thanks for the memories.

This is worse than 1968, because the political system is now engaged in a systemic act of forgetting. Let’s forget that this policy failure has happened or why. Let’s forget, for instance, that the people living in New York’s public housing are overrun with rats, unlit hallways and no heat in the winter. Let’s forget that many blacks have indeed been left behind—by a well-documented migration since 1990 of black Americans out of northern cities and Los Angeles into the South, where they have gone in search of economic opportunity. Let’s forget, despite a massive per annum outlay on Medicaid—some $593 billion in 2018—that black Americans still have a higher incidence of chronic disease.

Simply performing a cut-and-paste on 50 years of U.S. political history is an act of nihilism. Pummeled by activists and the media with constant accusations of “systemic racism,” as this week, and despite what many thought were 50 years of good-faith efforts on racial conciliation, people go numb, concluding that the solution being offered now is, literally, no solution.

This new progressive nihilism says the answer to inner-city crime is decriminalization. Because of New York’s new “bail reform” law, most of the looters arrested are being released, even as murders and burglaries were increasing in the city’s poorest neighborhoods before these events.

The new nihilism minimizes this week’s ideologically driven assaults on private property because it is “replaceable.” In fact, it is well-established that many of 1968’s burned-down neighborhoods have struggled to revive ever since.

The new nihilism says no matter how many reform police commissioners are appointed or black mayors elected, “nothing has changed.” That is the definition of hopelessness.

It is not hopeless.

One could, for example, give people a better chance at home ownership and home equity, as HUD Secretary Ben Carson has proposed, through reforms of the mortgage-lending market and reducing regulatory hurdles to urban housing construction. Get rid of those godawful public-housing prisons. But no, the public housing authorities are patronage mills, so it can’t happen.

Black parents love charter schools and voucher-supported private schools because they teach values, self-respect and hope. But no, this option for poor and lower-income parents has more Democratic Party opposition than ever. When will we see white college students marching in the streets over this moral abomination? Never.

One could argue that the job creation and rising incomes of recent years for young black Americans are more in step with the U.S.’s 244-year history of opportunity. But why bother? The nihilism of permanent guilt is easier because it substitutes sentiment for substance and absolves anyone of responsibility for past public-policy errors.

It remains to be learned how the American people, of any race, are processing the events of the past week. Media minimalism says the choice is between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. It’s a lot bigger than that.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-new-nihilism-11591225713?mod=opinion_featst_pos1

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Antifa, Other Far-Left Groups Exploit Protests for ‘Revolution’

If American’s don’t stand for our country we will lose it.  mrossol

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The Epoch Times, 6/3/2020.   Communist groups—including the extremist organization Antifa—are hijacking what started out as peaceful protests over the death of an unarmed black man to usher in a revolution, according to officials, experts, videos, and anarchists’ own words.

That charge comes amid an unprecedented and coordinated effort behind the riots, the likes of which have never been seen before and which span across multiple states and involve often violent street-level tactics.

Officials from both sides say that outside groups have exploited the recent momentum to further their own agenda. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, noted that “bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests” and that 80 percent of the rioters have come from outside the state. Federal officials including President Donald Trump have pointed to Antifa.

Bernard B. Kerik, former police commissioner of the New York City Police Department, said Antifa “100 percent exploited these protests,” noting that their various websites control and dictate where protests start.

“It’s in 40 different states and 60 cities; it would be impossible for somebody outside of Antifa to fund this,” he told The Epoch Times. “It’s a radical, leftist, socialist attempt at revolution.”

Operations including coordination, equipment, and travel costs would likely cost “tens of millions of dollars,” Kerik said. A friend of his, an FBI agent, told him she was at Newark airport on May 29 where she observed “probably 25 of these Antifa kids walking in through the airport.”

“They’re coming from other cities,” he said. “That cost money. They didn’t do this on their own. Somebody’s paying for this.”

“What Antifa is doing is they’re basically hijacking the black community as their army,” Kerik said. “They instigate, they antagonize, they get these young black men and women to go out there and do stupid things, and then they disappear off into the sunset.”

Photos later pulled offline appeared to show protesters with military-grade communications radios and earpieces, Kerik said, noting: “They have to be talking to somebody at a central command center with a repeater. Where do those radios go to?”

Andy Ngo, a journalist who has covered Antifa extensively, said the group is organized in “multiple units” with scouts that monitor the perimeter of an area, providing live audio or text updates. Others carry out violent missions with weapons and firebombs.

The extremist group is “horizontally” organized; it doesn’t have a public leader, since it’s part of their ideology that there should be no authority, Ngo said.

According to John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, these outside radical groups have organized scouts, medics, and even supply routes of rocks, bottles, and accelerants “for breakaway groups to commit vandalism and violence.” These groups have planned for violence in advance, using encrypted communications, he said.

Mike Griffin, a longtime political activist from Minneapolis, told The New York Times there were people he never witnessed before demonstrating, including “well-dressed young white men in expensive boots carrying hammers and talking about torching buildings.”

“I know protests, I’ve been doing it for 20 years,” he said. “People not affiliated with the protests are creating havoc on the streets.”

Communism expert Trevor Loudon, meanwhile, told The Epoch Times that Antifa is only one part of the picture, noting that “every significant communist or socialist party in the United States has been involved in these protests and riots from the beginning.”

According to Loudon, “Communist Party USA, Liberation Road, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Democratic Socialists of America, Revolutionary Communist Party, Workers World Party, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation” have been involved, among others.

Hijacking Peace 

One protester who came upon a large pile of bricks while filming live called it a “setup,” as a man by his side quipped, “Ain’t no damn construction around here.”

Police departments in several states in recent days have warned of materials being purposely planted in certain locations so as to fuel rioting.

The Kansas City police department in Missouri stated on Twitter that it “learned of & discovered stashes of bricks and rocks” in some areas “to be used during a riot,” and asked people to report such cases to authorities to be removed.

Days later, the Minneapolis Police department warned of “incendiary materials and accelerants” such as water bottles filled with gasoline found hidden in bushes and neighborhoods.

Bricks and similar objects have appeared in ManhattanBaltimore, North Carolina, and more. Protesters outside the White House were caught throwing bricks. There have also been false alarms, as the Frisco Police Department in Texas found that one pile was from a legitimate construction project.

Some videos, meanwhile, show African Americans objecting to bricks being handed to their peers.

Loudon, who is also a contributor to The Epoch Times, said the bricks and other examples were part of a “terrorist military operation” and that the whole thing had been “completely organized and long preplanned.”

“If the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis hadn’t sparked these riots, the next one would have,” he said. “People need to understand that there are hundreds of foreign-trained agitators and organizers operating in this country, and tens of thousands more disciplined communists.”

Numerous social media posts and videos also depict African American protesters objecting to rioting perpetrated by groups of white men clad in full black outfits—the black costume has long been associated with Antifa.

In Oakland, a group of Caucasians dressed in full black gear and armed with hammers started destroying and breaking into a building as African Americans nearby voiced their opposition.

One video appears to show a predominantly white crowd of people destroying a Minneapolis Police Department building, some also dressed in full black gear. Another video purportedly in Baltimore shows African American protesters begging white people, also clad in black, to stop rioting.

Peaceful protesters in Washington, meanwhile, tackled an “Antifa rioter” who was hammering the pavement to get blocks of concrete to throw. Protesters then handed over the rioter to the police.

At a May 30 press conference, Attorney General William Barr said the violence appears to be “planned, organized, and driven by far-left extremist groups and anarchic groups using Antifa-like tactics.”

In a twitter thread, Ngo said the destruction of businesses isn’t only opportunism but is tied to Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) ideology to “abolish capitalism & have regime change. To do that, they have to make economic recovery impossible.”

“Militant antifa cells across the country mobilized to aid BLM rioters,” Ngo said. “Every part of the rioting has a purpose. Fires destroy economy. Riots can overwhelm police & even military. All of it leads to a destabilized state if maintained.”

Communism Core 

Gabriel Nadales, a former Antifa member, told Jan Jekielek, host of The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” series, that to really be a part of Antifa is to do two things:

“One is to share their violent ideology and be willing to fight for them at any turn, and the second is to actually do it. It’s not just about having anti-conservative beliefs,” he said.

Communist groups have played a role in the recent protests. On May 27, the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) Twin Cities chapter issued a call for supplies for “comrades protesting at the 3rd precinct (at Lake and Minnehaha).” An AutoZone store was set ablaze in the same area, amid widespread looting.

Such groups also appear to have played a role in funding. On May 28, DSA’s Twin Cities chapter asked on Twitter to “Please also give to the TCDSA solidarity fund, because people will need help in the days and weeks ahead!” DSA chapters in SeattleMemphisLos Angeles, and Metro Atlanta have called for donations amid the protests.

The DSA also formed a national anti-fascist work group at the convention in 2019.

Other communist groups, such as the Workers World Party, have backed the protests, while some groups, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, called for an “actual revolution.”

Liberation News, a newspaper of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, wrote in a staff statement on May 26 that it’s a “critical period” to “sharpen our resolve to build organizations capable of waging militant class struggle.”

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/antifa-other-far-left-groups-exploit-protests-for-revolution_3375358.html?__sta=vhg.hhksexuhqqhbbv|HTH&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech

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I'm serious… usually. (Martin Rossol)