Policiers tués à Dallas: Attention, une violence peut en cacher une autre ! (The real danger behind the myths of the “Black Lives Matter” movement)

Fry'em

Pigs AADL Micah Xavier JohnsonBHOCharleston-Dallas
https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/homicidesbyrace.gifbaby-killed-drive-by-shooting

I had feared that thousands of furious blond, blue-eyed women and their brunette sympathizers would take their rage into the streets, burning, killing and looting. While I don’t condone rioting, the historic and sociological reasons would have made such violence understandable. As one woman told me after the verdict: « For thousands of years, we have been putting up with abuse from large, strong, arrogant, evil-tempered men. « There is no group on Earth that has been kicked around the way women have. Since the dawn of history, we’ve been beaten, violated, enslaved, abandoned, stalked, pimped, murdered and even dissed by men. « Now this jury and the legal system have sent a clear message to society: It’s OK for men to cut our throats from ear to ear. » Mike Royko
« 60 % à 70 % » des détenus en France sont musulmans alors qu’ils représentent « à peine 12 % de la population totale du pays ». « Sur un continent où la présence des immigrés et de leurs enfants dans les systèmes carcéraux est généralement disproportionnée, les données françaises sont les plus flagrantes. En Grande-Bretagne, 11 % des prisonniers seraient musulmans, pour 3 % de la population. Une étude de l’ONG Open Society du milliardaire américain George Soros souligne de son côté qu’aux Pays-Bas, 20 % des détenus sont musulmans alors qu’ils représentent 5,5 % de la population, et, en Belgique, au moins 16 % de la population carcérale pour 2 % de la population totale. Les chiffres avancés ne sont pas officiels, car l’Etat français ne demande pas à ses citoyens de communiquer leur origine ou leur religion. En revanche, le quotidien affirme qu’il s’agit d’« estimations généralement acceptées » par les démographes et les sociologues. The Washington Post
Savez-vous que les Noirs sont 10 pour cent de la population de Saint-Louis et sont responsables de 58% de ses crimes? Nous avons à faire face à cela. Et nous devons faire quelque chose au sujet de nos normes morales. Nous savons qu’il y a beaucoup de mauvaises choses dans le monde blanc, mais il y a aussi beaucoup de mauvaises choses dans le monde noir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à blâmer l’homme blanc. Il y a des choses que nous devons faire pour nous-mêmes. Martin Luther King (St Louis, 1961)
Nous devons admettre le fait que ce type de violence n’arrive pas dans d’autres pays développés (…) Le fait que cela ait eu lieu dans une église noire soulève évidemment des questions sur une page sombre de notre histoire. Ce n’est pas la première fois que des églises noires ont été attaquées. Et nous savons que la haine entre les races et les religions posent une menace particulière pour notre démocratie et nos idéaux. Barack Hussein Obama (19.06.2015)
Je pense qu’il est très difficile de démêler les motivations de ce tireur. Par définition, si vous tirez sur des gens qui ne constituent aucune menace pour vous, vous avez un problème. Barack Hussein Obama (09.07.2016)
L’Amérique n’est pas aussi divisée qu’on le suggère (…)  L’individu dément qui a accompli ces attaques, il n’est pas plus représentatif des Noirs américains que le tireur de Charleston ne l’était des Américains blancs ou que le tireur d’Orlando ou de San Bernardino n’était représentatif des Américains musulmans. Barack Hussein Obama (09.07.2016)
It’s just not the police. (…) It’s a kind of anti-black mood, anti-semitism, anti-Muslim bashing, immigrant bashing, female bashing, a kind of mean spirited division in the country. (…) The poison of the rhetoric has had a devastating impact. (…) Just the permissiveness of violence towards black people is ready and apparent. We’ve being used as scapegoats for deeper economic and social fears. (…) It’s not just Trump, it’s the followers of Trump. Jessie Jackson
But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them? Where is the march against the drug dealers who prey on young black people? Where is the march against bad schools, with their 50% dropout rate for black teenaged boys? Those failed schools are certainly guilty of creating the shameful 40% unemployment rate for black teens? How about marching against the cable television shows constantly offering minstrel-show images of black youth as rappers and comedians who don’t value education, dismiss the importance of marriage, and celebrate killing people, drug money and jailhouse fashion—the pants falling down because the jail guard has taken away the belt, the shoes untied because the warden removed the shoe laces, and accessories such as the drug dealer’s pit bull. (…) There is no fashion, no thug attitude that should be an invitation to murder. But these are the real murderous forces surrounding the Martin death—and yet they never stir protests. The race-baiters argue this case deserves special attention because it fits the mold of white-on-black violence that fills the history books. Some have drawn a comparison to the murder of Emmett Till, a black boy who was killed in 1955 by white racists for whistling at a white woman. (…) While civil rights leaders have raised their voices to speak out against this one tragedy, few if any will do the same about the larger tragedy of daily carnage that is black-on-black crime in America. (…) Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders. And 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, according to the same report. (…) The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America? Juan Williams
The absurdity of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites. … Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the ‘poetic truth’ that these establishments live by. Shelby Steele
Would Trayvon be alive today had he been walking home—Skittles and ice tea in hand—wearing a polo shirt with an alligator logo? Possibly. And does this make the ugly point that dark skin late at night needs to have its menace softened by some show of Waspy Americana? Possibly. (…) Before the 1960s the black American identity (though no one ever used the word) was based on our common humanity, on the idea that race was always an artificial and exploitive division between people. After the ’60s—in a society guilty for its long abuse of us—we took our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity. We could not have made a worse mistake. It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt. Shelby Steele
When we say fry them, we’re not speaking of killing a police officer…we’re saying, treat the police the same as you’re going to treat a civilian who commits murder against a police officer. Rashad Turner (Black lives matter activist)
Pour neutraliser l’homme suspecté d’avoir abattu plusieurs officiers, les forces de l’ordre américaines ont eu recours à une machine armée d’une bombe. Vendredi à l’aube, un sniper suspecté d’avoir tiré sur des policiers et retranché depuis des heures dans un bâtiment est finalement tué par un robot télécommandé, utilisé pour faire détoner une bombe. Micah Johnson, jeune Noir de 25 ans, avait servi dans l’armée américaine en Afghanistan. Sur son profil Facebook, il avait publié des images avec le slogan «Black Power» des extrémistes afro-américains des années 1960 et 1970. Il avait également ajouté la lettre «X» entre son prénom et son nom, probablement en référence à Malcolm X, leader noir opposé à la non-violence prônée par Martin Luther King. Pour neutraliser ce suspect armé, la police de Dallas disposait d’un robot Northrop Grumman Andros, conçu pour les équipes de démineurs et l’armée. (…) «C’est la première fois qu’un robot est utilisé de cette façon par la police», a assuré sur Twitter Peter Singer, de la fondation New America, un groupe de réflexion spécialisé notamment dans les questions de sécurité. Ce spécialiste des méthodes modernes de combat a précisé qu’un appareil baptisé Marcbot «a été employé de la même façon par les troupes en Irak». (…) Des chercheurs de l’université de Floride travaillent eux au développement de «Telebot», comparé dans certains articles au célèbre «Robocop» imaginé au cinéma. Destiné notamment à assister des policiers handicapés pour qu’ils puissent reprendre le service, Telebot a été conçu «pour avoir l’air intimidant et assez autoritaire pour que les citoyens obéissent à ses ordres» tout un gardant «une apparence amicale» qui rassurent «les citoyens de tous âges», selon un rapport d’étudiants de l’université de Floride. L’arrivée de robots aux armes létales dans la police suscite de nombreuses interrogations. L’ONG Human Rights Watch et l’organisation International Human Rights Clinic, qui dépend de l’université de Harvard, s’inquiétaient ainsi en 2014 du recours aux robots par les forces de l’ordre. Ces engins «ne sont pas dotés de qualités humaines, telles que le jugement et l’empathie, qui permettent à la police d’éviter de tuer illégalement dans des situations inattendues», écrivaient-elles dans un rapport. Si l’emploi des robotos armés était amené à se développer, le bouleversement anthropologique suscité serait considérable. Le Figaro
For nearly a year, Richard Rosenfeld’s research on crime trends has been used to debunk the existence of a “Ferguson effect”, a suggested link between protests over police killings of black Americans and an increase in crime and murder. Now, the St Louis criminologist says, a deeper analysis of the increase in homicides in 2015 has convinced him that “some version” of the Ferguson effect may be real. Looking at data from 56 large cities across the country, Rosenfeld found a 17% increase in homicide in 2015. Much of that increase came from only 10 cities, which saw an average 33% increase in homicide. “These aren’t flukes or blips, this is a real increase,” he said. “It was worrisome. We need to figure out why it happened.” All 10 cities that saw sudden increases in homicide had large African American populations, he said. While it’s not clear what drove the increases, he said, he believes there is some connection between high-profile protests over police killings of unarmed black men, a further breakdown in black citizens’ trust of the police, and an increase in community violence. “The only explanation that gets the timing right is a version of the Ferguson effect,” Rosenfeld said. Now, he said, that’s his “leading hypothesis”. (…) Rosenfeld said that the version of the Ferguson effect he now found plausible was very different from the one Mac Donald had described. “She thinks the solution is to stop criticizing the police; I think the criticism is understandable, rooted in a history of grievance, and serves as a reminder that the police must serve and protect our most vulnerable communities.” If a breakdown of trust between police and community is leading a spike in murders, he wrote in an email, the solution required two things: better community policing in communities of color, and “more effective response to serious violent crime,” focused on redoubled efforts to solve homicides and other acts of violence. (…) Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri St Louis and the chair of a National Academy of Sciences roundtable on crime trends, said the Brennan Center’s focus on the economic roots of violence was not enough to explain “why homicide increased as much as it did in these cities in a one-year period”. “The conclusion one draws from the Brennan Center’s report is, ‘Not much changed,’ and that is simply not true. In the case of homicide, a lot did change, in a very short period of time,” he said. While “economic disadvantage is an extraordinarily important predictor of the level of homicide in cities,” he said, “there’s no evidence of a one year substantial economic decline in those cities. There have to be other factors involved.” (…) When Rosenfeld analyzed St Louis’s crime data, he found the increase in homicides there could not have been caused by a “Ferguson effect”, because the greatest increase came early in the year, months before Michael Brown’s death or the protests that followed. Rosenfeld’s research was widely cited in articles debunking the Ferguson effect. But that paper only looked at the evidence for the effect in one city. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, the justice department’s research arm, Rosenfeld did a new study early this year that looked that more broadly at homicide trends in the nation’s 56 largest cities and found an overall 17% increase in homicide. As a result of that broader national analysis he said, he has had “second thoughts” about the Ferguson effect. “My views have been altered.” Looking at the additional homicides in large cities, he found that two-thirds of the increase was concentrated in 10 cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Washington, Nashville, Philadelphia, Kansas City and St Louis. Those 10 cities had somewhat higher levels of poverty than the other cities he examined. But, he said, the “key difference” was that “their African American population was substantially larger than other large cities”: an average of 41% in those 10 cities, compared with 19.9% in the others. Separate analyses looked at two of these cities in 2015 and early 2016. A FiveThirtyEight assessment of Chicago crime data concluded that the city’s increase in gun violence was statistically significant, that the spike dated back to the release of the video of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, and that it was closely correlated with a drop in police arrests. Researchers in Baltimore found a similar correlation between a drop in arrests and an increase in violence in the wake of protests over Freddie Gray’s death, and concluded that while the Ferguson effect played no role in Baltimore’s rising violence, a “Freddie Gray effect” may have been a significant factor. (…) Rosenfeld considered two potential alternative explanations: the US heroin epidemic, and the number of former inmates returning home from prison. Neither of these explanations quite lined up with the increase in violence, he said. For instance, the country has been in the midst of a heroin epidemic since 2011. Why there would be a four to five year lag before the epidemic caused murders to spike? “That led me to conclude, preliminarily, that something like a Ferguson effect was responsible for the increase,” he said. What exactly that effect might be is far from clear, he said. The fierce debate over the “Ferguson effect” or Comey’s “viral video effect” has described the dynamic in several ways, including criminals being “emboldened” by protests against the police, and “de-policing”, or police drawing back from proactive activities, in the wake of increased public scrutiny. One Chicago officer said that police were drawing back not because of public scrutiny via cell phone videos, but because of their fear that city officials would no longer protect officers who made honest mistakes while doing a difficult job. Rosenfeld said he has only seen clear evidence of decreases in proactive police activity in Chicago and Baltimore. He said he believed “de-policing” was not a major factor in other cities – and that even in Chicago, changes in proactive police activity could only be responsible for some of the increase in shootings and violence. One potential link between public attention to police violence and increased violent crime in the community, he said, might be if intensified community mistrust of the police make offenders think “that they can commit crime with impunity. They don’t think the community is willing to cooperate with the police and investigations or they think the community is less likely to contact the police when victimized.” “We don’t yet have the data to understand the mechanism for the Ferguson effect,” he said. (…) Phillip Atiba Goff, a leading researcher on racial bias in policing and the president of the Center for Policing Equity, said in an April interview that one way of interpreting the Ferguson effect is “on its face, offensive”, but that there is clear research evidence linking perceptions of police legitimacy to how willing people are to break the law. (…) “A far more reasonable hypothesis is that the decay in police legitimacy is harming both police morale and community morale,” he said. “When you don’t believe police are legitimate, you are much more likely to be engaged in illegal behaviors and be uncooperative with law enforcement.” The Guardian
We recently published the most rigorous study of the Ferguson effect on crime rates to date based on monthly crime data from 81 of the 105 largest U.S. cities (population over 200,000).  We examined crime trends in the 12 months before and after Ferguson. The short answer: no nationwide crime wave could be pinned to Ferguson, at least among the largest U.S. cities. These results apply to overall crime rates, violent and property crime rates, and six out of the seven FBI Part I crimes. However, there was a significant increase in robbery rates across the United States that began about the time that Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. This is an important finding. It suggests that a Ferguson effect may exist for robbery—a violent street crime that can be effectively combated by good policing (or allowed to increase if de-policing is occurring). A handful of cities—those with historically high levels of violence, a greater proportion of African-American residents, and socioeconomic disadvantages (e.g., Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Detroit)—experienced increases in homicide rates after the Ferguson incident. Indeed, this is evidence of a Ferguson effect. It is notable however that each of these cities has been the subject of federal scrutiny and in two cases (New Orleans and Detroit) the police department has operated under a consent decree providing federal oversight of police operations. Our study didn’t please everyone. One of the more common critiques levied against our work was that we incorrectly conclude that there is no Ferguson effect on crime. Heather Mac Donald in City Journal, for example, in response to our findings, held: “the existence of a Ferguson effect does not depend on its operating uniformly across the country in cities with very different demographics.” We agree with Mac Donald. As would be expected, we observed heterogeneity in how cities responded to the events in Ferguson—most cities experienced no change in crime rates while a small number saw increases. This seems straightforward enough. The analogy would be a stock portfolio, where some holdings increase even in a down market. We concluded that some cities could have been “primed” for a Ferguson effect on crime, a conclusion that Mac Donald curiously termed “groundless.” But we wonder why Mac Donald titled her original opinion piece (the one that really stoked the Ferguson effect fire) in the  “The New Nationwide Crime Wave” (our italics). Now strong empirical evidence exists that finds no evidence of a nationwide crime wave among large cities. Despite this, the knee jerk reaction is a revision of the original hypothesis out of fear that the facts and good research will get in the way of a good story, or a political opinion. Revising theories in the face of observation is part of the scientific process. The only difference is that Mac Donald doesn’t acknowledge that her original hypothesis was wrong. And our results are good news for cities and the police: on the whole crime is not up. Scott E Wolfe Scott H Decker and David C Pyrooz
A group of criminologists has purported to answer the question: “Was there a Ferguson effect on crime rates in large U.S. cities?” The “Ferguson effect” refers to the phenomenon of police officers backing off from proactive policing in response to the anti-cop Black Lives Matter movement, with a resulting rise in violent crime. The criminologists answer their own question with a minutely qualified “No.” In fact, their analysis resoundingly confirms the existence of the Ferguson effect. (…) The authors, four professors led by sociologist David Pyrooz of the University of Colorado Boulder, created a complex econometric model that analyzed monthly rates of change in crime rates in 81 U.S. cities with populations of 200,000 or more. The other 24 cities in that size cohort were not included in the study due to lack of crime data. The researchers found that in the 12 months before Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri—the event that catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement—major felony crime, averaged across all 81 cities, was going down. In the 12 months after Brown was shot, that aggregate drop in crime slowed down considerably. But that deceleration of the crime drop was not large enough to be deemed statistically significant, say the criminologists. Therefore, they conclude, “there is no systematic evidence of a Ferguson Effect on aggregate crime rates throughout the large U.S. cities . . . in this study.” But the existence of a Ferguson effect does not depend on its operating uniformly across the country in cities with very different demographics. When the researchers disaggregated crime trends by city, they found that the variance among those individual city trends had tripled after Ferguson. That is, before the Brown shooting, individual cities’ crime rates tended to move downward together; after Ferguson, their crime rates were all over the map. Some cities had sharp increases in aggregate crime, while others continued their downward trajectory. The variance in homicide trends was even greater—nearly six times as large after Ferguson. And what cities had the largest post-Ferguson homicide surges? Precisely those that the Ferguson effect would predict: cities with high black populations, low white populations, and high preexisting rates of violent crime. A virulent anti-cop protest movement dedicated to the proposition that murderous, racist cops are the biggest threat facing young black men today will have its biggest impact on policing in black neighborhoods. It is in these neighborhoods that cops will face the most hostility from residents steeped in the Black Lives Matter ideology and where cops will most worry that, if an encounter with a civilian goes awry, they will become the latest racist officer-of-the-week on CNN. It is in black neighborhoods, in other words, where proactive policing—making pedestrian stops, enforcing quality-of-life public order laws—will be most inhibited. And given the already high rates of violent crime in black neighborhoods, any drop-off in policing is going to unleash even more crime, since it is in these high-crime neighborhoods where informal social controls have most disintegrated and where cops alone stand between law-abiding residents and anarchy. Even if the Black Lives Matter movement inhibited proactive policing uniformly in cities across the country, a place like Scottsdale, Arizona, say, will suffer less of an impact if cops back off, because the police are not as essential there to maintaining order as they are in Baltimore and St. Louis. The researchers are unwilling, however, to accept the implication of their findings. They grudgingly admit that “the data offer preliminary support for a Ferguson Effect on homicide rates in a few select cities in the United States”—those cities, according to their model, are Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Newark, Milwaukee, Rochester, Detroit, Oakland, Richmond, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, and Baton Rouge—but then they backpedal furiously. (Cities that barely missed making the “statistically significant” cut include Kansas City, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Chicago.) What’s important about those cities, they claim, is that “they had much higher crime rates before Ferguson.” Those higher crime rates, they say, “in turn may have primed [those cities] for increases in crime.” That conclusion is groundless. The proactive policing revolution that began in the 1990s had its greatest effect on high-crime cities; crime went down dramatically in neighborhoods that had been written off as ungovernable. If cities with a “higher proportion of black residents, lower socioeconomic status, and more police per capita,” in the authors’ words, were primed for a crime increase, and if those factors “lead to questions that may inhibit any ability to attribute crime increases specifically to the Ferguson Effect,” the authors need to explain how those cities experienced a crime drop in the first place. Moreover, if the authors think that high-black, high-crime cities were due for a crime increase regardless of changes in policing and a worsening in resident attitudes toward law enforcement, they didn’t alert us to such a reversal ahead of the fact. In a separate analysis, the authors disaggregated the seven felonies included in the FBI’s crime index and tracked the movement of each felony averaged across all 81 cities. Robbery registered a statistically significant upward surge in monthly rates: before Ferguson, the aggregate robbery rate was dropping; after Ferguson, the rate reversed course, rising enough to be considered statistically significant. The criminologists conclude that “changes in robbery rates constitute the lone exception to a spurious Ferguson Effect,” but demur from speculating why that may be. Perhaps it is because robbery and drive-by shootings are the quintessential violent street crimes, both committed disproportionately by blacks. If police are making fewer street stops, thus deterring gun-carrying less, a rising robbery rate is not contrary to what the Ferguson effect would predict. (Shootings are not captured in the FBI data used by the researchers, so their pre- and post-Ferguson trajectories are not easily available.) (…) The Pyrooz article will undoubtedly become a standard artillery piece on the activist and academic left. You would think that the fact that the Ferguson effect has been most pronounced in black areas would be cause for concern among those who claim to represent black interests against a sea of racism and oppression. In 2015, homicides in the 50 largest cities rose nearly 17 percent, “the greatest increase in lethal violence in a quarter century,” according to the Washington Post. The overwhelming majority of those additional victims were black. But the furious attempt to deny the Ferguson effect shows yet again that black lives seem to matter only when they are taken by police officers. Heather Mac Donald
Violence in Chicago is reaching epidemic proportions. In the first five months of 2016, someone was shot every two and a half hours and someone murdered every 14 hours, for a total of nearly 1,400 nonfatal shooting victims and 240 fatalities. Over Memorial Day weekend, 69 people were shot, nearly one per hour, dwarfing the previous year’s tally of 53 shootings over the same period. The violence is spilling over from the city’s gang-infested South and West Sides into the downtown business district; Lake Shore Drive has seen drive-by shootings and robberies. The growing mayhem is the result of Chicago police officers’ withdrawal from proactive enforcement, making the city a dramatic example of what I have called the “Ferguson effect.” Since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the conceit that American policing is lethally racist has dominated the national airwaves and political discourse, from the White House on down. In response, cops in minority neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities around the country are backing off pedestrian stops and public-order policing; criminals are flourishing in the resulting vacuum. (…) Residents of Chicago’s high-crime areas are paying the price. (…) Through the end of May, shooting incidents in Chicago were up 53 percent over the same period in 2015, which had already seen a significant increase over 2014. Compared with the first five months of 2014, shooting incidents in 2016 were up 86 percent. Certain police districts saw larger spikes. The Harrison District on the West Side, encompassing West Humboldt Park, for example, had a 191 percent increase in homicides through the end of May. Shootings in May citywide averaged nearly 13 a day, a worrisome portent for summer. (…) Social breakdown lies behind Chicago’s historically high levels of violence. Fatherlessness in the city’s black community is at a cataclysmic level—close to 80 percent of children are born to single mothers in high-crime areas. Illegitimacy is catching up fast among Hispanics, as well. Gangs have stepped in where fathers are absent. A 2012 gang audit documented 59 active street gangs with 625 factions, some controlling a single block. Schools in gang territories go on high alert at dismissal time to fend off violence. Endemic crime has prevented the commercial development and gentrification that are revitalizing so many parts of Chicago closer to downtown; block after block on the South Side features a wan liquor store or check-cashing outlet, surrounded by empty lots and the occasional skeleton of a once-magnificent beaux-arts apartment complex or bank. Nonfunctioning streetlights, their fuse boxes vandalized, signal the reign of a local gang faction. (…) Public-order infractions, otherwise known as “Broken Windows” offenses, abound. Stand just a few minutes on a South or West Side thoroughfare, and someone will stride by hawking bootleg CDs or videos and loose cigarettes. Some law-abiding Chicagoans blame the rising violence on just such street disorder. (…) The drug trade is less overt but more ubiquitous than the trafficking in CDs and loosies. The majority of victims in the current crime wave are already known to the police. (…) But innocents, like the Lake Shore Drive robbery victims, are being attacked as well (…) Officers who try to intervene in this disorder face a virulent street situation, thanks to the current anti-cop ideology. “People are a hundred times more likely to resist arrest,” an officer who has worked a decade and a half on the South Side informs me. “People want to fight you; they swear at you. ‘Fuck the police, we don’t have to listen,’ they say. I haven’t seen this kind of hatred toward the police in my career.” (…) The “no-snitch” ethic of refusing to cooperate with the cops is the biggest impediment to solving crime, according to Chicago commanders. But the Black Lives Matter narrative about endemically racist cops has made the street dynamic much worse. A detective says: “From patrol to investigation, it’s almost an undoable job now. If I get out of my car, the guys get hostile right away and several people are taping [with cell phones].” Bystanders and suspects try to tamper with crime scenes and aggressively interfere with investigations. Additional officers may be needed during an arrest to keep angry onlookers away.  This volatile policing environment now exists in urban areas across the country. (…) Criminals have become emboldened by the police disengagement. “Gangbangers now realize that no one will stop them,” says a former high-ranking police official. And people who wouldn’t have carried a gun before are now armed, a South Side officer says. Heather Mac Donald
To judge from Black Lives Matter protesters and their media and political allies, you would think that killer cops pose the biggest threat to young black men today. But this perception, like almost everything else that many people think they know about fatal police shootings, is wrong. The Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings over the past year and a half to correct acknowledged deficiencies in federal tallies. The emerging data should open many eyes. For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings. The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers. Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police. Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there. Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force. The Black Lives Matter movement claims that white officers are especially prone to shooting innocent blacks due to racial bias, but this too is a myth. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception”—that is, the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed. (…) The Black Lives Matter movement has been stunningly successful in changing the subject from the realities of violent crime. The world knows the name of Michael Brown but not Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old black child lured into an alley and killed by gang members in Chicago last fall. Tyshawn was one of dozens of black children gunned down in America last year. (…) Those were black lives that mattered, and it is a scandal that outrage is heaped less on the dysfunctional culture that produces so many victims than on the police officers who try to protect them. Heather Mac Donald
However intolerable and inexcusable every act of police brutality is, and while we need to make sure that the police are properly trained in the Constitution and in courtesy, there is a larger reality behind the issue of policing, crime, and race that remains a taboo topic. The problem of black-on-black crime is an uncomfortable truth, but unless we acknowledge it, we won’t get very far in understanding patterns of policing. Every year, approximately 6,000 blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population. Blacks are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. (…) The astronomical black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at eleven times the rate of whites alone. (…) The nation’s police killed 987 civilians in 2015, according to a database compiled by The Washington Post. Whites were 50 percent—or 493—of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent—or 258. Most of those victims of police shootings, white and black, were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force. The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black. Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods. In America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, for example, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants, 57 percent of all murder defendants, 45 percent of all assault defendants—but only 15 percent of the population. Moreover, 40 percent of all cop killers have been black over the last decade. And a larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths are a result of police killings than black homicide deaths—but don’t expect to hear that from the media or from the political enablers of the Black Lives Matter movement. Twelve percent of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers, compared to four percent of all black homicide victims. (…) Standard anti-cop ideology, whether emanating from the ACLU or the academy, holds that law enforcement actions are racist if they don’t mirror population data. New York City illustrates why that expectation is so misguided. Blacks make up 23 percent of New York City’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime, according to victims and witnesses. Add Hispanic shootings and you account for 98 percent of all illegal gunfire in the city. Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than two percent of all shootings, four percent of all robberies, and five percent of all violent crime. These disparities mean that virtually every time the police in New York are called out on a gun run—meaning that someone has just been shot—they are being summoned to minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects. Officers hope against hope that they will receive descriptions of white shooting suspects, but it almost never happens. This incidence of crime means that innocent black men have a much higher chance than innocent white men of being stopped by the police because they match the description of a suspect. This is not something the police choose. It is a reality forced on them by the facts of crime. The geographic disparities are also huge. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, the per capita shooting rate is 81 times higher than in nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—the first neighborhood predominantly black, the second neighborhood predominantly white and Asian. As a result, police presence and use of proactive tactics are much higher in Brownsville than in Bay Ridge. Every time there is a shooting, the police will flood the area looking to make stops in order to avert a retaliatory shooting. They are in Brownsville not because of racism, but because they want to provide protection to its many law-abiding residents who deserve safety. Who are some of the victims of elevated urban crime? On March 11, 2015, as protesters were once again converging on the Ferguson police headquarters demanding the resignation of the entire department, a six-year-old boy named Marcus Johnson was killed a few miles away in a St. Louis park, the victim of a drive-by shooting. No one protested his killing. Al Sharpton did not demand a federal investigation. Few people outside of his immediate community know his name. (…) This mindless violence seems almost to be regarded as normal, given the lack of attention it receives from the same people who would be out in droves if any of these had been police shootings. As horrific as such stories are, crime rates were much higher 20 years ago. In New York City in 1990, for example, there were 2,245 homicides. In 2014 there were 333—a decrease of 85 percent. The drop in New York’s crime rate is the steepest in the nation, but crime has fallen at a historic rate nationwide as well—by about 40 percent—since the early 1990s. The greatest beneficiaries of these declining rates have been minorities. Over 10,000 minority males alive today in New York would be dead if the city’s homicide rate had remained at its early 1990s level. What is behind this historic crime drop? A policing revolution that began in New York and spread nationally, and that is now being threatened. Starting in 1994, the top brass of the NYPD embraced the then-radical idea that the police can actually prevent crime, not just respond to it. They started gathering and analyzing crime data on a daily and then hourly basis. They looked for patterns, and strategized on tactics to try to quell crime outbreaks as they were emerging. Equally important, they held commanders accountable for crime in their jurisdictions. Department leaders started meeting weekly with precinct commanders to grill them on crime patterns on their watch. These weekly accountability sessions came to be known as Compstat. (…) For decades, the rap against the police was that they ignored crime in minority neighborhoods. Compstat keeps New York commanders focused like a laser beam on where people are being victimized most, and that is in minority communities. (…) In New York City, businesses that had shunned previously drug-infested areas now set up shop there, offering residents a choice in shopping and creating a demand for workers. Senior citizens felt safe to go to the store or to the post office to pick up their Social Security checks. Children could ride their bikes on city sidewalks without their mothers worrying that they would be shot. But the crime victories of the last two decades, and the moral support on which law and order depends, are now in jeopardy thanks to the falsehoods of the Black Lives Matter movement. Police operating in inner-city neighborhoods now find themselves routinely surrounded by cursing, jeering crowds when they make a pedestrian stop or try to arrest a suspect. Sometimes bottles and rocks are thrown. Bystanders stick cell phones in the officers’ faces, daring them to proceed with their duties. Officers are worried about becoming the next racist cop of the week and possibly losing their livelihood thanks to an incomplete cell phone video that inevitably fails to show the antecedents to their use of force.  (…) As a result of the anti-cop campaign of the last two years and the resulting push-back in the streets, officers in urban areas are cutting back on precisely the kind of policing that led to the crime decline of the 1990s and 2000s. (…) On the other hand, the people demanding that the police back off are by no means representative of the entire black community. Go to any police-neighborhood meeting in Harlem, the South Bronx, or South Central Los Angeles, and you will invariably hear variants of the following: “We want the dealers off the corner.” “You arrest them and they’re back the next day.” “There are kids hanging out on my stoop. Why can’t you arrest them for loitering?” “I smell weed in my hallway. Can’t you do something?” I met an elderly cancer amputee in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx who was terrified to go to her lobby mailbox because of the young men trespassing there and selling drugs. The only time she felt safe was when the police were there. “Please, Jesus,” she said to me, “send more police!” The irony is that the police cannot respond to these heartfelt requests for order without generating the racially disproportionate statistics that will be used against them in an ACLU or Justice Department lawsuit. Unfortunately, when officers back off in high crime neighborhoods, crime shoots through the roof. Our country is in the midst of the first sustained violent crime spike in two decades. Murders rose nearly 17 percent in the nation’s 50 largest cities in 2015, and it was in cities with large black populations where the violence increased the most. (…) I first identified the increase in violent crime in May 2015 and dubbed it “the Ferguson effect.” (…) The number of police officers killed in shootings more than doubled during the first three months of 2016. In fact, officers are at much greater risk from blacks than unarmed blacks are from the police. Over the last decade, an officer’s chance of getting killed by a black has been 18.5 times higher than the chance of an unarmed black getting killed by a cop. (…) We have been here before. In the 1960s and early 1970s, black and white radicals directed hatred and occasional violence against the police. The difference today is that anti-cop ideology is embraced at the highest reaches of the establishment: by the President, by his Attorney General, by college presidents, by foundation heads, and by the press. The presidential candidates of one party are competing to see who can out-demagogue President Obama’s persistent race-based calumnies against the criminal justice system, while those of the other party have not emphasized the issue as they might have. I don’t know what will end the current frenzy against the police. What I do know is that we are playing with fire, and if it keeps spreading, it will be hard to put out. Heather Mac Donald

Et si les principales victimes n’étaient pas celles que l’on croyait ?

Au lendemain d’un nouveau massacre américain …

Perpétré cette fois par un noir, apparemment proche de mouvements appelant au meurtre de policiers, contre des policiers blancs lors d’une manifestation justement contre les brutalités des policiers blancs contre les noirs …

Et qui sera finalement abattu par un robot raciste dont on ne sait toujours pas la couleur …

Comment ne pas voir avec la chercheuse américaine Heather MacDonald (merci Charly Karl Ékoulé Maneng) …

La terrible responsabilité, entre Maison Blanche, universités et médias, de nos pompiers-pyromanes et chasseurs d’ambulances patentés …

Qui lorsqu’ils n’appellent pas explicitement, à l’instar de nos casseurs à nous, à « griller les cochons comme du bacon » …

Nous rebattent les oreilles avec leurs habituelles contre-vérités niant l’évidence de la sur-criminalité noire (deux tiers des cambriolages, plus de la moitié des meurtres et presque la moitié des attaques à main armée dans les principales zones urbaines pour seulement 13% de la population totale – étrangement parallele d’ailleurs a la surcriminalite musulmane en France) …

Comme de la sous-victimisation noire pour les homicides du fait de la police (4% contre 12% pour les blancs et hispaniques) …

Des limites de certains concepts comme celui de « non-armé » (5 sur 7 des victimes noires d’homicides du fait de la police avaient essayé d’arracher l’arme du policier ou de le battre avec son propre équipement) …

De la survictimisation de policiers d’origine minoritaire  (18,5 fois plus probable qu’un policier soit tué par un Noir – 40% de tueurs de policiers sont des Noirs – qu’un policier tue un Noir non armé ou désarmé) mais aussi logiquement de leur plus grande tendance à faire usage de leur arme (3,3 fois plus que les policiers blancs) …

Mais aussi sur le véritable secret de polichinelle ou, comme le dit si bien l’anglais, « l’éléphant dans la pièce » de l’histoire …

A savoir la violence intra-ethnique noirs contre noirs (près de  6 000 noirs tués – sans compter les nombreux blessés et les victimes collatérales dont de nombreux enfants – majoritairement par d’autres noirs soit plus que le total de blancs et d’hispaniques pour seulement 13% de la population totale) …

Et, plus pervers encore, « l’effet Ferguson » qui, sans compter l’explosion des incivilités, l’encouragement au refus des contrôles policiers et le doublement des meurtres de policiers ce dernier semestre, voit une hausse de 17% des meurtres dans les 50 plus grandes agglomérations américaines du fait justement de la moindre activité policière, par peur d’être accusés de racisme, dans certaines zones à risque …

Et donc, à terme, la perte des acquis, en matière de sécurité, de décennies de travail policier (moins 40% d’homicides et moins 85% à New York depuis les annés 90) pour les zones et les populations qui en auraient le plus besoin …

Soit, triste ironie de l’histoire, le retour à ce qui était justement reproché à la police des années 60 et 70 voire bien avant, l’indifférence à la sécurité des plus démunis ?

The Danger of the “Black Lives Matter” Movement
Heather Mac Donald
Manhattan Institute
Imprimis – Hillsdale College
April 1, 2016

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on April 27, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

For almost two years, a protest movement known as “Black Lives Matter” has convulsed the nation. Triggered by the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement holds that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men today. This belief has triggered riots, “die-ins,” the murder and attempted murder of police officers, a campaign to eliminate traditional grand jury proceedings when police use lethal force, and a presidential task force on policing.

Even though the U.S. Justice Department has resoundingly disproven the lie that a pacific Michael Brown was shot in cold blood while trying to surrender, Brown is still venerated as a martyr. And now police officers are backing off of proactive policing in the face of the relentless venom directed at them on the street and in the media. As a result, violent crime is on the rise.

The need is urgent, therefore, to examine the Black Lives Matter movement’s central thesis—that police pose the greatest threat to young black men. I propose two counter hypotheses: first, that there is no government agency more dedicated to the idea that black lives matter than the police; and second, that we have been talking obsessively about alleged police racism over the last 20 years in order to avoid talking about a far larger problem—black-on-black crime.

Let’s be clear at the outset: police have an indefeasible obligation to treat everyone with courtesy and respect, and to act within the confines of the law. Too often, officers develop a hardened, obnoxious attitude. It is also true that being stopped when you are innocent of any wrongdoing is infuriating, humiliating, and sometimes terrifying. And needless to say, every unjustified police shooting of an unarmed civilian is a stomach-churning tragedy.

Given the history of racism in this country and the complicity of the police in that history, police shootings of black men are particularly and understandably fraught. That history informs how many people view the police. But however intolerable and inexcusable every act of police brutality is, and while we need to make sure that the police are properly trained in the Constitution and in courtesy, there is a larger reality behind the issue of policing, crime, and race that remains a taboo topic. The problem of black-on-black crime is an uncomfortable truth, but unless we acknowledge it, we won’t get very far in understanding patterns of policing.

Every year, approximately 6,000 blacks are murdered. This is a number greater than white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the national population. Blacks are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. In Los Angeles, blacks between the ages of 20 and 24 die at a rate 20 to 30 times the national mean. Who is killing them? Not the police, and not white civilians, but other blacks. The astronomical black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined. Blacks of all ages commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and at eleven times the rate of whites alone.

The police could end all lethal uses of force tomorrow and it would have at most a trivial effect on the black death-by-homicide rate. The nation’s police killed 987 civilians in 2015, according to a database compiled by The Washington Post. Whites were 50 percent—or 493—of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent—or 258. Most of those victims of police shootings, white and black, were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force.

The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black. Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods. In America’s 75 largest counties in 2009, for example, blacks constituted 62 percent of all robbery defendants, 57 percent of all murder defendants, 45 percent of all assault defendants—but only 15 percent of the population.

Moreover, 40 percent of all cop killers have been black over the last decade. And a larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths are a result of police killings than black homicide deaths—but don’t expect to hear that from the media or from the political enablers of the Black Lives Matter movement. Twelve percent of all white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by police officers, compared to four percent of all black homicide victims. If we’re going to have a “Lives Matter” anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named “White and Hispanic Lives Matter.”

Standard anti-cop ideology, whether emanating from the ACLU or the academy, holds that law enforcement actions are racist if they don’t mirror population data. New York City illustrates why that expectation is so misguided. Blacks make up 23 percent of New York City’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime, according to victims and witnesses. Add Hispanic shootings and you account for 98 percent of all illegal gunfire in the city. Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than two percent of all shootings, four percent of all robberies, and five percent of all violent crime. These disparities mean that virtually every time the police in New York are called out on a gun run—meaning that someone has just been shot—they are being summoned to minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects.

Officers hope against hope that they will receive descriptions of white shooting suspects, but it almost never happens. This incidence of crime means that innocent black men have a much higher chance than innocent white men of being stopped by the police because they match the description of a suspect. This is not something the police choose. It is a reality forced on them by the facts of crime.

The geographic disparities are also huge. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, the per capita shooting rate is 81 times higher than in nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—the first neighborhood predominantly black, the second neighborhood predominantly white and Asian. As a result, police presence and use of proactive tactics are much higher in Brownsville than in Bay Ridge. Every time there is a shooting, the police will flood the area looking to make stops in order to avert a retaliatory shooting. They are in Brownsville not because of racism, but because they want to provide protection to its many law-abiding residents who deserve safety.

Who are some of the victims of elevated urban crime? On March 11, 2015, as protesters were once again converging on the Ferguson police headquarters demanding the resignation of the entire department, a six-year-old boy named Marcus Johnson was killed a few miles away in a St. Louis park, the victim of a drive-by shooting. No one protested his killing. Al Sharpton did not demand a federal investigation. Few people outside of his immediate community know his name.

Ten children under the age of ten were killed in Baltimore last year. In Cleveland, three children five and younger were killed in September. A seven-year-old boy was killed in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend by a bullet intended for his father. In November, a nine-year-old in Chicago was lured into an alley and killed by his father’s gang enemies; the father refused to cooperate with the police. In August, a nine-year-old girl was doing her homework on her mother’s bed in Ferguson when a bullet fired into the house killed her. In Cincinnati in July, a four-year-old girl was shot in the head and a six-year-old girl was left paralyzed and partially blind from two separate drive-by shootings. This mindless violence seems almost to be regarded as normal, given the lack of attention it receives from the same people who would be out in droves if any of these had been police shootings. As horrific as such stories are, crime rates were much higher 20 years ago. In New York City in 1990, for example, there were 2,245 homicides. In 2014 there were 333—a decrease of 85 percent. The drop in New York’s crime rate is the steepest in the nation, but crime has fallen at a historic rate nationwide as well—by about 40 percent—since the early 1990s. The greatest beneficiaries of these declining rates have been minorities. Over 10,000 minority males alive today in New York would be dead if the city’s homicide rate had remained at its early 1990s level.

What is behind this historic crime drop? A policing revolution that began in New York and spread nationally, and that is now being threatened. Starting in 1994, the top brass of the NYPD embraced the then-radical idea that the police can actually prevent crime, not just respond to it. They started gathering and analyzing crime data on a daily and then hourly basis. They looked for patterns, and strategized on tactics to try to quell crime outbreaks as they were emerging. Equally important, they held commanders accountable for crime in their jurisdictions. Department leaders started meeting weekly with precinct commanders to grill them on crime patterns on their watch. These weekly accountability sessions came to be known as Compstat. They were ruthless, high tension affairs. If a commander was not fully informed about every local crime outbreak and ready with a strategy to combat it, his career was in jeopardy.

Compstat created a sense of urgency about fighting crime that has never left the NYPD. For decades, the rap against the police was that they ignored crime in minority neighborhoods. Compstat keeps New York commanders focused like a laser beam on where people are being victimized most, and that is in minority communities. Compstat spread nationwide. Departments across the country now send officers to emerging crime hot spots to try to interrupt criminal behavior before it happens.

In terms of economic stimulus alone, no other government program has come close to the success of data-driven policing. In New York City, businesses that had shunned previously drug-infested areas now set up shop there, offering residents a choice in shopping and creating a demand for workers. Senior citizens felt safe to go to the store or to the post office to pick up their Social Security checks. Children could ride their bikes on city sidewalks without their mothers worrying that they would be shot. But the crime victories of the last two decades, and the moral support on which law and order depends, are now in jeopardy thanks to the falsehoods of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Police operating in inner-city neighborhoods now find themselves routinely surrounded by cursing, jeering crowds when they make a pedestrian stop or try to arrest a suspect. Sometimes bottles and rocks are thrown. Bystanders stick cell phones in the officers’ faces, daring them to proceed with their duties. Officers are worried about becoming the next racist cop of the week and possibly losing their livelihood thanks to an incomplete cell phone video that inevitably fails to show the antecedents to their use of force. Officer use of force is never pretty, but the public is clueless about how hard it is to subdue a suspect who is determined to resist arrest.

As a result of the anti-cop campaign of the last two years and the resulting push-back in the streets, officers in urban areas are cutting back on precisely the kind of policing that led to the crime decline of the 1990s and 2000s. Arrests and summons are down, particularly for low-level offenses. Police officers continue to rush to 911 calls when there is already a victim. But when it comes to making discretionary stops—such as getting out of their cars and questioning people hanging out on drug corners at 1:00 a.m.—many cops worry that doing so could put their careers on the line. Police officers are, after all, human. When they are repeatedly called racist for stopping and questioning suspicious individuals in high-crime areas, they will perform less of those stops. That is not only understandable—in a sense, it is how things should work. Policing is political. If a powerful political block has denied the legitimacy of assertive policing, we will get less of it.

On the other hand, the people demanding that the police back off are by no means representative of the entire black community. Go to any police-neighborhood meeting in Harlem, the South Bronx, or South Central Los Angeles, and you will invariably hear variants of the following: “We want the dealers off the corner.” “You arrest them and they’re back the next day.” “There are kids hanging out on my stoop. Why can’t you arrest them for loitering?” “I smell weed in my hallway. Can’t you do something?” I met an elderly cancer amputee in the Mount Hope section of the Bronx who was terrified to go to her lobby mailbox because of the young men trespassing there and selling drugs. The only time she felt safe was when the police were there. “Please, Jesus,” she said to me, “send more police!” The irony is that the police cannot respond to these heartfelt requests for order without generating the racially disproportionate statistics that will be used against them in an ACLU or Justice Department lawsuit.

Unfortunately, when officers back off in high crime neighborhoods, crime shoots through the roof. Our country is in the midst of the first sustained violent crime spike in two decades. Murders rose nearly 17 percent in the nation’s 50 largest cities in 2015, and it was in cities with large black populations where the violence increased the most. Baltimore’s per capita homicide rate last year was the highest in its history. Milwaukee had its deadliest year in a decade, with a 72 percent increase in homicides. Homicides in Cleveland increased 90 percent over the previous year. Murders rose 83 percent in Nashville, 54 percent in Washington, D.C., and 61 percent in Minneapolis. In Chicago, where pedestrian stops are down by 90 percent, shootings were up 80 percent through March 2016.

I first identified the increase in violent crime in May 2015 and dubbed it “the Ferguson effect.” My diagnosis set off a firestorm of controversy on the anti-cop Left and in criminology circles. Despite that furor, FBI Director James Comey confirmed the Ferguson effect in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School last October. Comey decried the “chill wind” that had been blowing through law enforcement over the previous year, and attributed the sharp rise in homicides and shootings to the campaign against cops. Several days later, President Obama had the temerity to rebuke Comey, accusing him (while leaving him unnamed) of “cherry-pick[ing] data” and using “anecdotal evidence to drive policy [and] feed political agendas.” The idea that President Obama knows more about crime and policing than his FBI director is of course ludicrous. But the President thought it necessary to take Comey down, because to recognize the connection between proactive policing and public safety undermines the entire premise of the anti-cop Left: that the police oppress minority communities rather than bring them surcease from disorder.

As crime rates continue to rise, the overwhelming majority of victims are, as usual, black—as are their assailants. But police officers are coming under attack as well. In August 2015, an officer in Birmingham, Alabama, was beaten unconscious by a convicted felon after a car stop. The suspect had grabbed the officer’s gun, as Michael Brown had tried to do in Ferguson, but the officer hesitated to use force against him for fear of being charged with racism. Such incidents will likely multiply as the media continues to amplify the Black Lives Matter activists’ poisonous slander against the nation’s police forces.

The number of police officers killed in shootings more than doubled during the first three months of 2016. In fact, officers are at much greater risk from blacks than unarmed blacks are from the police. Over the last decade, an officer’s chance of getting killed by a black has been 18.5 times higher than the chance of an unarmed black getting killed by a cop.

The favorite conceit of the Black Lives Matter movement is, of course, the racist white officer gunning down a black man. According to available studies, it is a canard. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception,” i.e., the incorrect belief that a civilian is armed. A study by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway, formerly acting director of the National Institute of Justice, has found that black officers in the NYPD were 3.3 times more likely to fire their weapons at shooting scenes than other officers present. The April 2015 death of drug dealer Freddie Gray in Baltimore has been slotted into the Black Lives Matter master narrative, even though the three most consequential officers in Gray’s arrest and transport are black. There is no evidence that a white drug dealer in Gray’s circumstances, with a similar history of faking injuries, would have been treated any differently.

We have been here before. In the 1960s and early 1970s, black and white radicals directed hatred and occasional violence against the police. The difference today is that anti-cop ideology is embraced at the highest reaches of the establishment: by the President, by his Attorney General, by college presidents, by foundation heads, and by the press. The presidential candidates of one party are competing to see who can out-demagogue President Obama’s persistent race-based calumnies against the criminal justice system, while those of the other party have not emphasized the issue as they might have.

I don’t know what will end the current frenzy against the police. What I do know is that we are playing with fire, and if it keeps spreading, it will be hard to put out.

Voir aussi:

The Myths of Black Lives Matter
The movement has won over Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But what if its claims are fiction?
Heather Mac Donald
The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 11, 2016

A television ad for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign now airing in South Carolina shows the candidate declaring that “too many encounters with law enforcement end tragically.” She later adds: “We have to face up to the hard truth of injustice and systemic racism.”

Her Democratic presidential rival, Bernie Sanders, met with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Wednesday. Mr. Sanders then tweeted that “As President, let me be very clear that no one will fight harder to end racism and reform our broken criminal justice system than I will.” And he appeared on the TV talk show “The View” saying, “It is not acceptable to see unarmed people being shot by police officers.”

Apparently the Black Lives Matter movement has convinced Democrats and progressives that there is an epidemic of racist white police officers killing young black men. Such rhetoric is going to heat up as Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders court minority voters before the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary.

But what if the Black Lives Matter movement is based on fiction? Not just the fictional account of the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., but the utter misrepresentation of police shootings generally.

To judge from Black Lives Matter protesters and their media and political allies, you would think that killer cops pose the biggest threat to young black men today. But this perception, like almost everything else that many people think they know about fatal police shootings, is wrong.

The Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings over the past year and a half to correct acknowledged deficiencies in federal tallies. The emerging data should open many eyes.

For starters, fatal police shootings make up a much larger proportion of white and Hispanic homicide deaths than black homicide deaths. According to the Post database, in 2015 officers killed 662 whites and Hispanics, and 258 blacks. (The overwhelming majority of all those police-shooting victims were attacking the officer, often with a gun.) Using the 2014 homicide numbers as an approximation of 2015’s, those 662 white and Hispanic victims of police shootings would make up 12% of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths. That is three times the proportion of black deaths that result from police shootings.

The lower proportion of black deaths due to police shootings can be attributed to the lamentable black-on-black homicide rate. There were 6,095 black homicide deaths in 2014—the most recent year for which such data are available—compared with 5,397 homicide deaths for whites and Hispanics combined. Almost all of those black homicide victims had black killers.

Police officers—of all races—are also disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police.

Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that blacks make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighborhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there.

Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force.

The Black Lives Matter movement claims that white officers are especially prone to shooting innocent blacks due to racial bias, but this too is a myth. A March 2015 Justice Department report on the Philadelphia Police Department found that black and Hispanic officers were much more likely than white officers to shoot blacks based on “threat misperception”—that is, the mistaken belief that a civilian is armed.

A 2015 study by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Greg Ridgeway, formerly acting director of the National Institute of Justice, found that, at a crime scene where gunfire is involved, black officers in the New York City Police Department were 3.3 times more likely to discharge their weapons than other officers at the scene.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been stunningly successful in changing the subject from the realities of violent crime. The world knows the name of Michael Brown but not Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old black child lured into an alley and killed by gang members in Chicago last fall. Tyshawn was one of dozens of black children gunned down in America last year. The Baltimore Sun reported on Jan. 1: “Blood was shed in Baltimore at an unprecedented pace in 2015, with mostly young, black men shot to death in a near-daily crush of violence.”

Those were black lives that mattered, and it is a scandal that outrage is heaped less on the dysfunctional culture that produces so many victims than on the police officers who try to protect them.

Ms. Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The War on Cops,” forthcoming in July from Encounter Books.

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Black and Unarmed: Behind the Numbers
What the Black Lives Matter movement misses about those police shootings
Heather Mac Donald
The Marshall Project
02.08.2016

For the last year or so, the Washington Post has been gathering data on fatal police shootings of civilians. Its database for 2015 is now complete. Commentators have taken the Post’s data as evidence that the police are gunning down unarmed blacks out of implicit bias. But a close examination of the Post’s findings presents a more complicated picture of policing and casts doubt on the notion that these shootings were driven by race.

The Post began its police shootings project in response to the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a death that triggered days of rioting, the assassination of two New York City police officers, and a surge of support for the Black Lives Matter protest movement. Federal tallies of lethal police shootings are notoriously incomplete; the Post sought to correct that lacuna by searching news sites and other information sources for reports of officer-involved homicides. The results: As of Jan. 15, the Post had documented 987 victims of fatal police shootings in 2015, about twice the number historically recorded by federal agencies. Whites were 50 percent of those victims, and blacks were 26 percent. By comparison, whites are 62 percent of the U.S. population, and blacks, 13 percent. The ensuing debate has largely centered on whether the disproportionate number of black deaths was a result of police racism or the relatively high rate of crime in black neighborhoods, which brings black men into more frequent, and more fraught, encounters with the police.

In August of 2015 the Post zeroed in on unarmed black men, who the paper said were seven times more likely than unarmed white men to die by police gunfire. The article noted that 24 of the 60 “unarmed” deaths up to that date — some 40 percent — were of black men, helping to explain « why outrage continues to simmer a year after Ferguson. » By year’s end, there were 36 unarmed black men (and two black women) and 31 unarmed white men (and one white woman) among the total 987 victims. The rate at which unarmed black men were more likely than unarmed white men to die by police gunfire had dropped, but was still six-to-one.

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. It is worth looking at the specific cases included in the Post’s unarmed victim classification in some detail, since that category is the most politically explosive. The “unarmed” label is literally accurate, but it frequently fails to convey highly-charged policing situations. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment. Some were shot from an accidental discharge triggered by their own assault on the officer. And two individuals included in the Post’s “unarmed black victims” category were struck by stray bullets aimed at someone else in justified cop shootings. If the victims were not the intended targets, then racism could have played no role in their deaths.

In one of those unintended cases, an undercover cop from the New York Police Department was conducting a gun sting in Mount Vernon, just north of New York City. One of the gun traffickers jumped into the cop’s car, stuck a pistol to his head, grabbed $2,400 and fled. The officer gave chase and opened fire after the thief again pointed his gun at him. Two of the officer’s bullets accidentally hit a 61-year-old bystander, killing him. That older man happened to be black, but his race had nothing to do with his tragic death. In the other collateral damage case, Virginia Beach, Virginia, officers approached a car parked at a convenience store that had a homicide suspect in the passenger seat. The suspect opened fire, sending a bullet through an officer’s shirt. The cops returned fire, killing their assailant as well as a woman in the driver’s seat. That woman entered the Post’s database without qualification as an “unarmed black victim” of police fire.

Unfortunately, innocent blacks like the elderly Mount Vernon man probably do face a higher chance of getting shot by stray police fire than innocent whites. But that is because violent crime in their neighborhoods is so much higher. The per capita shooting rate in Brownsville, Brooklyn, with its legacy of poverty and crime, is 81 times higher than in working-class Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, a few miles away, according to the New York Police Department. This exponentially higher rate of gun violence means that the police will be much more intensively deployed in Brownsville, trying to protect innocent residents and gangbangers alike from shootings. If the police are forced to open fire, in rare instances a police bullet will go astray and hit a bystander. That is tragic, but that innocent’s chance of getting shot by the police is dwarfed by his chance of getting shot by criminals.

Other unarmed black victims in the Post’s database were so fiercely resisting arrest, judging from press accounts, that the officers involved could reasonably have viewed them as posing a grave danger. In October 2015, a San Diego officer was called to a Holiday Inn in nearby Point Loma, after hotel employees ejected a man causing a disturbance in the lobby. The officer approached a male casing cars in the hotel’s parking lot. The suspect jumped the officer and both fell to the ground. The officer tried to Tase the man, hitting himself as well. The suspect repeatedly tried to wrench the officer’s gun from its holster, according to news reports, and continued assaulting the officer after both had stood up. Fearing for his life, the officer shot the man. It is hard to see how race entered into that encounter. Someone who tries for an officer’s gun must be presumed to have the intention to use it. In 2015, three officers were killed with their own guns, which the suspects had wrestled from them. Similarly, in August, an officer from Prince George’s County, Maryland, pursued a man who had fled from a car crash. The man tried to grab the officer’s gun, and it discharged. The suspect continued to fight with the officer until he was Tased by a second officer and tackled by a third. The shot that was discharged during the struggle ultimately proved fatal to the suspect. In January, a sheriff’s deputy in Strong, Arkansas, responded to a pharmacy burglary alarm in the early morning. The burglar inside fought with the deputy for control of the deputy’s gun and it discharged. The suspect fled the store but was caught outside, at which point the deputy noticed the suspect’s gun injury and called an ambulance.

A police critic may reject the officers’ accounts of these deaths, invoking the cell phone videos that discredited police accounts in the shootings of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, and Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Viral videos of these events have generated an understandable skepticism towards police narratives. But equal skepticism is warranted towards witness accounts of allegedly unjustified officer shootings. Case in point: the persistent claim by bystanders that a peaceable Michael Brown, hands up, was gunned down in cold blood by Officer Darren Wilson. In fact, as forensic evidence and more credible eyewitnesses established, Brown had assaulted Wilson and tried to grab his gun. Until there is a critical mass of such resolved narratives, whether one trusts officer accounts more than bystander accounts, or vice versa, will depend on one’s prior assumptions regarding the police and the community.

In several cases in the Post’s “unarmed black man” category, the suspect had gained control of other pieces of an officer’s equipment and was putting it to potentially lethal use. In New York City, a robbery suspect apprehended in a narrow stairwell beat two detectives’ faces bloody with a police radio. In Memphis, Tennessee, a 19-year-old wanted on two out-of-state warrants, including a sex offense in Iowa, kicked open a car door during a car stop, grabbed the officer’s handcuffs, and hit him in the face with them.

In other instances in the Post’s “unarmed black man” category, the suspect’s physical resistance was so violent that it could reasonably have put the officer in fear for his life. A trespasser at a motel in Barstow, California, brought a sheriff’s deputy to the ground and beat him in the face so viciously that he broke numerous bones and caused other injuries. The suspect refused repeated orders to desist and move away. An officer in such a situation can’t know whether he will lose consciousness under the blows to his head; if he does, he is at even greater risk that his gun will be used against him.

An Orlando, Florida, officer was called about a fight in an apartment complex. The suspect fought so violently with the responding officer that the officer’s equipment had been torn off and was strewn about the scene, including his used Taser, baton, gun magazine, and wristwatch. In Dearborn, Michigan, a probation violator escaped from officers after committing a theft; later in the day, an officer approached him and he again took off running. A fight ensued, which left the officer with his gun belt loosened, his equipment from the belt on the ground, and his uniform ripped. The officer was covered with mud and sustained minor injuries. In Miami, a man crashed a taxi cab in the early morning hours and took off running onto a highway. During the fight, the driver bit the officer’s finger so hard that he nearly severed it; surgery was required to reattach it to the left hand. One can debate the tactics used and the moment when an officer would have been justified in opening fire, but these cases are more complicated and morally ambiguous than a simple “unarmed” classification would lead a reader to believe.

The Post’s cases do not support the idea that the police have a more demanding standard for using lethal force when confronting unarmed white suspects. According to the press accounts, only one unarmed white victim attempted to grab the officer’s gun. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a 50-year-old white suspect in a domestic assault call ran at the officer with a spoon; he was Tased and then shot. A 28-year-old driver in Des Moines, Iowa, led police on a chase, then got out of his car and walked quickly toward the officer, and was shot. In Akron, Ohio, a 21-year-old suspect in a grocery store robbery who had escaped on a bike did not remove his hand from his waistband when ordered to do so. Had any of these victims been black, police critics might well have conferred on them instant notoriety; instead, they are unknown.

While the nation was focused on the non-epidemic of racist police killings throughout 2015, the routine drive-by shootings in urban areas were taking their usual toll, including on children, to little national notice. In Cleveland, three children ages five and younger were killed in September. Five children were shot in Cleveland over the Fourth of July weekend. A seven-year-old boy was killed in Chicago that same weekend by a bullet intended for his father. In November, a nine-year-old in Chicago was lured into an alley and killed by his father’s gang enemies; the alleged murderer was reportedly avenging the killing of his own 13-year-old brother in October. In August a nine-year-old girl was doing her homework on her mother’s bed in Ferguson when a bullet shot into the house killed her. In Cincinnati in July, a four-year-old girl was shot in the head and a six-year-old girl was left paralyzed and partially blind from two separate drive-by shootings. A six-year-old boy was killed in a drive-by shooting on West Florissant Avenue in March in St. Louis, as protesters were again converging on the Ferguson Police Department to demand the resignation of the entire department. Ten children under the age of 10 were killed in Baltimore last year; 12 victims were between the age of 10 and 17. This is just a partial list of child victims. While the world knows who Michael Brown is, few people outside these children’s immediate communities know their names.

Without question, police officers must be constantly retrained in courtesy and respect; too often they develop boorish, callous attitudes towards civilians on the street. Some are unfit to serve. Some are surely racists. And if de-escalation training can safely reduce officer use of force further, it should be widely implemented. But the Black Lives Matter movement’s focus on shootings by police should not distract attention from the most serious use-of-force problem facing black communities: criminal violence. In 2014, there were 6,095 black homicide victims, more than all white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the population. The black homicide toll will be even higher in 2015. In over 90 percent of those black deaths, the killer was another black civilian. By all means, we must try to eliminate unjustified use of force by police. But as long as crime rates in black communities remain so high, officers will be disproportionately engaged there, with all the attendant risks of such deployment. Indeed, the incessant refrain that cops are racist could well increase the likelihood that black suspects will resist arrest, and that witnesses will be reluctant to cooperate.

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the forthcoming “The War on Cops.”

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Chicago on the Brink
A retreat from proactive policing has unleashed mayhem in the city
Heather Mac Donald
City journal
Summer 2016

Violence in Chicago is reaching epidemic proportions. In the first five months of 2016, someone was shot every two and a half hours and someone murdered every 14 hours, for a total of nearly 1,400 nonfatal shooting victims and 240 fatalities. Over Memorial Day weekend, 69 people were shot, nearly one per hour, dwarfing the previous year’s tally of 53 shootings over the same period. The violence is spilling over from the city’s gang-infested South and West Sides into the downtown business district; Lake Shore Drive has seen drive-by shootings and robberies.

The growing mayhem is the result of Chicago police officers’ withdrawal from proactive enforcement, making the city a dramatic example of what I have called the “Ferguson effect.” Since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, the conceit that American policing is lethally racist has dominated the national airwaves and political discourse, from the White House on down. In response, cops in minority neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities around the country are backing off pedestrian stops and public-order policing; criminals are flourishing in the resulting vacuum. (An early and influential Ferguson-effect denier has now changed his mind: in a June 2016 study for the National Institute of Justice, Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri–St. Louis concedes that the 2015 homicide increase in the nation’s large cities was “real and nearly unprecedented.” “The only explanation that gets the timing right is a version of the Ferguson effect,” he told the Guardian.)

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel warned in October 2015 that officers were going “fetal,” as shootings in the city skyrocketed. But 2016 has brought an even sharper reduction in proactive enforcement. Devastating failures in Chicago’s leadership after a horrific police shooting and an ill-considered pact between the American Civil Liberties Union and the police are driving that reduction. Residents of Chicago’s high-crime areas are paying the price.

Felicia Moore, a wiry middle-aged woman with tattoos on her face and the ravaged frame of a former drug addict, is standing inside a Polish sausage joint on Chicago’s South Side at 10 PM. Asked about crime, she responds: “I’ve been in Chicago all my life. It’s never been this bad. Mothers and grandchildren are scared to come out on their porch; if you see more than five or six niggas walking together, you gotta run.” The violence claimed her only son last year, she says, just as he was being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. Moore is engaging in some revisionist history: her son, Jeremiah Moore, was, in fact, killed with a shot to his head—but in 2013, a little over a year after he was released from prison for shooting a mother at a bus stop; the Atlantic Hawks don’t enter into it.

Felicia Moore’s assessment of the present crime situation in Chicago, however, is more reality-based. Through the end of May, shooting incidents in Chicago were up 53 percent over the same period in 2015, which had already seen a significant increase over 2014. Compared with the first five months of 2014, shooting incidents in 2016 were up 86 percent. Certain police districts saw larger spikes. The Harrison District on the West Side, encompassing West Humboldt Park, for example, had a 191 percent increase in homicides through the end of May. Shootings in May citywide averaged nearly 13 a day, a worrisome portent for summer.

A man who calls himself City Streets is standing in a ragtag group of drinkers and hustlers outside a liquor and convenience store on the South Side. They pass around beer, cigarettes, and cash and ask strangers for money. A young woman shoves her boy along, oblivious to the late hour. “It’s terrible out here. Someone gets shot every day,” City Streets tells me. “It ain’t no place to hang,” he adds, ignoring his own advice.

Social breakdown lies behind Chicago’s historically high levels of violence. Fatherlessness in the city’s black community is at a cataclysmic level—close to 80 percent of children are born to single mothers in high-crime areas. Illegitimacy is catching up fast among Hispanics, as well. Gangs have stepped in where fathers are absent. A 2012 gang audit documented 59 active street gangs with 625 factions, some controlling a single block. Schools in gang territories go on high alert at dismissal time to fend off violence. Endemic crime has prevented the commercial development and gentrification that are revitalizing so many parts of Chicago closer to downtown; block after block on the South Side features a wan liquor store or check-cashing outlet, surrounded by empty lots and the occasional skeleton of a once-magnificent beaux-arts apartment complex or bank. Nonfunctioning streetlights, their fuse boxes vandalized, signal the reign of a local gang faction.

But disorder, bad before, seems to be worsening. The night after my conversations with Felicia Moore and City Streets, dozens of teens burst into the intersection of Cicero and Madison on the West Side, stopping traffic and ignoring the loud approach of a fire truck. They hold their cell phones high, the new sign of urban empowerment. Earlier that day, a fight involving at least 60 teens took over a nearby intersection, provoking a retaliatory shooting two days later at a local fried-chicken restaurant. On May 14, a 13-year-old girl stabbed a 15-year-old girl to death in a South Side housing complex; the murderer’s mother had given her the knife. In the summer of 2015, wolf packs of teens marauded down Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, robbing stores and pedestrians. The phenomenon started even earlier this year. A couple strolling on Lake Shore Drive downtown on Memorial Day weekend were chased by more than a half-dozen young men, at least one armed with a gun. The two tried to escape across the highway, the teens in hot pursuit. A pickup truck hit the couple, killing the female. A police officer flashed his emergency lights at the teens, and they fled. “If it wasn’t for the police being there at the time, I don’t know where I might be now,” the surviving man told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Six feet under?”

Public-order infractions, otherwise known as “Broken Windows” offenses, abound. Stand just a few minutes on a South or West Side thoroughfare, and someone will stride by hawking bootleg CDs or videos and loose cigarettes. Oliver, a 34-year-old with a Bloods tattoo and alcohol on his breath, has just been frisked by the police in a West Side White Castle parking lot around 9:30 PM. “The police are assholes,” he says. “I know my rights; I’m selling CDs, so I know I’m doing something wrong, but they weren’t visible in my bag.” Oliver then sells two loosies to a passerby, laboriously counting out change from a five-dollar bill.

Some law-abiding Chicagoans blame the rising violence on just such street disorder. After a woman and four men were shot at a bus stop on the South Side in May, a local resident complained about the illegal vending. “This sort of congregation of people who meet at this space dealing drugs and selling loose cigarettes . . . is despicable,” he told the Chicago Tribune. The drug trade is less overt but more ubiquitous than the trafficking in CDs and loosies. As I approach a Jamaican jerk restaurant on the West Side, the young men in front melt away. “You saw what happened when you pulled up here—everyone disappeared,” a middle-aged man tells me. “They sell drugs everywhere.”

The majority of victims in the current crime wave are already known to the police. Four-fifths of the Memorial Day shooting victims, for example, were on the Chicago Police Department’s list of gang members deemed most prone to violence. But innocents, like the Lake Shore Drive robbery victims, are being attacked as well: a 59-year-old Pakistani cabdriver, fatally shot in the head in February by a 19-year-old passenger; a DePaul student brutally beaten in April on the subway while other passengers passively looked on; a 49-year-old female dispatcher with the city’s 311 call center, killed in May while standing outside a Starbucks a few blocks from police headquarters; a worker driving home at night from her job at FedEx, shot four times in the head while waiting at an intersection and saved from death by the cell phone at her ear; a trucker shot in the face in May on the Dan Ryan Expressway; three eighth-graders robbed at gunpoint outside their school in May; a six-year-old girl playing outside her grandmother’s house in June, shot in the back and lung; a man stabbed in the stomach by a felon, who said: “I hate white people. Give me your money.”

The murder that shook the city to its core was the assassination of nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee. He was playing in a park on November 2, 2015, when a 22-year-old gangster, Dwight Boone-Doty, lured him into an alley with the promise of chips and candy. Boone-Doty fatally shot the boy, then fled with two accomplices, bleaching the getaway car and dumping it in Dalton, Illinois. Boone-Doty’s original plan, according to a police source, was to kidnap Tyshawn and send his ears and fingers to his mother. Tyshawn’s father was a member of the gang believed responsible for shooting the brother and mother of one of Boone-Doty’s accomplices a few weeks earlier. After the shooting, local schools went on lockdown, terrified that the children of gang members were now fair game for execution.

Officers who try to intervene in this disorder face a virulent street situation, thanks to the current anti-cop ideology. “People are a hundred times more likely to resist arrest,” an officer who has worked a decade and a half on the South Side informs me. “People want to fight you; they swear at you. ‘Fuck the police, we don’t have to listen,’ they say. I haven’t seen this kind of hatred toward the police in my career.”

Antipolice animus is nothing new in Chicago, of course. An Illinois state representative, Monique Davis, told a Detroit radio station in 2013 that people in her South Side community believed that the reason so few homicide cases were solved is that it was the police who were killing young black males. Davis later refused to repudiate her statement: “We can’t say that it is not happening.” The “no-snitch” ethic of refusing to cooperate with the cops is the biggest impediment to solving crime, according to Chicago commanders. But the Black Lives Matter narrative about endemically racist cops has made the street dynamic much worse. A detective says: “From patrol to investigation, it’s almost an undoable job now. If I get out of my car, the guys get hostile right away and several people are taping [with cell phones].” Bystanders and suspects try to tamper with crime scenes and aggressively interfere with investigations. Additional officers may be needed during an arrest to keep angry onlookers away. “It’s very dangerous out there now,” a detective tells me. In March 2016, then-chief of patrol (now superintendent) Eddie Johnson decried what he called the “string of violent attacks against the police” after an off-duty officer was shot by a felon who had ordered him on the ground after robbing him. The previous week, three officers were shot during a drug investigation.

This volatile policing environment now exists in urban areas across the country. But Chicago officers face two additional challenges: a new oversight regime for pedestrian stops; and the fallout from an officer’s killing of Laquan McDonald in October 2014.

In March 2015, the ACLU of Illinois accused the Chicago Police Department of engaging in racially biased stops, locally called “investigatory stops,” because its stop rate did not match population ratios. Blacks were 72 percent of all stop subjects during a four-month period in 2014, reported the ACLU, whereas whites were 9 percent of all stop subjects. But blacks and whites each make up roughly 32 percent of the city’s populace. Ergo, the police are racially profiling. This by-now drearily familiar and ludicrously inadequate benchmarking methodology ignores the incidence of crime. In 2014, blacks in Chicago made up 79 percent of all known nonfatal shooting suspects, 85 percent of all known robbery suspects, and 77 percent of all known murder suspects, according to police department data. Whites were 1 percent of known nonfatal shootings suspects in 2014, 2.5 percent of known robbery suspects, and 5 percent of known murder suspects, the latter number composed disproportionately of domestic homicides. Whites are nearly absent, in other words, among violent street criminals—precisely whom proactive policing aims to deter. Whites are actually over-stopped compared with their involvement in street crime. Nearly 40 percent of young white males surveyed by Northwestern University criminologist Wes Skogan in 2015 reported getting stopped in the previous year, compared with nearly 70 percent of young black males. “Statistically, age is the strongest correlate of being stopped,” says Skogan—not race.

Despite the groundlessness of the ACLU’s racial-bias charges, then–police superintendent Garry McCarthy and the city’s corporation counsel signed an agreement in August 2015 allowing the ACLU to review all future stops made by the department. The agreement also created an independent monitor for police stops. “Why McCarthy agreed to put the ACLU in charge is beyond us,” says a homicide detective. McCarthy’s signing of the stop agreement was indeed ironic, since he had encouraged a dramatic increase in stops. They rose 50 percent in his first two years, ultimately reaching about 700,000 a year, more than the NYPD performed at the height of its own stop activity, even though the CPD is about a third the size of the NYPD.

On January 1, 2016, the police department rolled out a new form for documenting investigatory stops, developed to meet ACLU demands. The new form, traditionally called a contact card, was two pages long and contained a whopping 70 fields of information to be filled out, including three narrative sections. (Those narrative sections were subsequently combined to try to quiet criticism.) The new contact card dwarfs even arrest reports and takes at least 30 minutes to complete. Every contact card is forwarded to the ACLU. Stops dropped nearly 90 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Detectives had long relied on the information contained in contact cards to solve crimes. When 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was killed in January 2013, days after performing with her high school band in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural, investigators identified the occupants of the getaway car through descriptions of the vehicle in previous contact cards. Now, however, crime sleuths have almost nothing to go on. Earlier this year, a detective working armed robbery had a pattern of two male Hispanics with tattoos on their faces sticking up people in front of their homes. But virtually no contact cards had been written in the area for three months. So he made car stops in the neighborhood himself, coming across the stolen car used in the robberies and the parolees responsible for the crimes. This is not a maximally efficient division of labor.

Criminals have become emboldened by the police disengagement. “Gangbangers now realize that no one will stop them,” says a former high-ranking police official. And people who wouldn’t have carried a gun before are now armed, a South Side officer says. The solution, according to officers, is straightforward: “If tomorrow, we still had to fill out the new forms, but they no longer went to the ACLU, stops would increase,” a detective claims.

But a more profound pall hangs over the department because of a shockingly unjustified police homicide and the missteps of top brass and the mayor in handling it. On the night of October 20, 2014, a report went out over the police radio that someone was breaking into cars in a trucking yard in the southwest neighborhood of Archer Heights; the vandal had threatened the 911 caller with a knife. Two officers found 17-year-old Laquan McDonald a block away; he punctured a tire on their squad car and struck its windshield with his three-inch blade. The cops trailed McDonald, who was high on PCP, for nearly half a mile while waiting for backup units with a Taser. Two additional patrol cars pulled up as McDonald strode along the middle of Pulaski Road, energetically swinging his right arm, knife in hand. One car parked behind him; its dashboard camera recorded the subsequent events. The other car stopped about 30 yards ahead. The officers in that forward vehicle jumped out, guns pointed at McDonald, commanding him to drop the knife. Less than ten seconds after exiting, Officer Jason Van Dyke began shooting. McDonald spun 360 degrees under the impact of the first bullets and dropped to the ground. Van Dyke continued shooting, emptying his cartridge into McDonald’s crumpled and gently writhing body.

The shooting, pitiable to watch, represented a catastrophic failure of tactics and judgment. Some police use-of-force experts claim that a suspect armed with a knife can rush and slash an unprepared officer if the assailant is within 21 feet. Even if that so-called 21-foot rule applied here, Van Dyke and his partner had no need to exit the car and put themselves within possible reach of McDonald. If they were in any imminent risk of lethal harm, they created that risk themselves. But even then, McDonald did not appear poised to attack, despite his failure to drop the knife. He was on a slight rightward trajectory away from Van Dyke, who was on his left, before the shooting began.

What followed the homicide was almost as shocking. Five officers at the scene all told variants of the same tale in their written reports: that McDonald had been advancing toward Van Dyke, aggressively raising his knife as if to attack. Once on the ground, McDonald tried to get up, they said, continuing to point his knife at Van Dyke. None of those claims is borne out by the video. McDonald displayed no aggressive behavior toward Van Dyke. It is true that for two strides immediately before the first bullets hit him, McDonald’s trajectory had minimally shifted to the left so as to be perpendicular to Van Dyke rather than veering diagonally away. But that modest and likely unconscious alteration of trajectory does not rise to the level of lethal threat. And having made the mistake of opening fire in the first place, Van Dyke should at least have stopped shooting once McDonald fell. Had McDonald had a gun, capable of striking from a distance, rather than a knife, the analysis might have been different.

A police-union spokesman at the scene of the killing told reporters that McDonald had been threatening Van Dyke. The police department press release a few hours later essentially echoed that account, stating that McDonald continued to approach the officers after being warned. Superintendent McCarthy viewed the video the next day, without retracting the department’s press release, explaining later that he was too busy trying to learn what had happened. From then on out, officials made no effort to countermand the McDonald attack narrative. (A rumor that cops destroyed a video of the incident taken at a nearby Burger King, however, proved not to be true.)

McCarthy immediately stripped Van Dyke of his police powers and forwarded the case to the civilian board that reviews police shootings, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). The case also went to the Cook County state attorney’s office, the U.S. attorney’s office, and the FBI. In April, the mayor’s corporation counsel, Stephen Patton, attained city council approval for a $5 million settlement with the McDonald family, conditioned on the continued non-release of the video. Later that month, the detectives’ bureau cleared and closed the case, astoundingly concluding that the “recovered in-car camera video was . . . consistent with the accounts of the witnesses” and that “Van Dyke’s use of deadly force was within bounds of CPD guidelines.”

By then, the Chicago press was clamoring for the video’s release, but it was not until November 24, 2015, that the video came out, under a judge’s order. The reaction was understandably explosive; weeks of angry protests denouncing alleged police racism and brutality followed.

The Cook County state attorney announced first-degree murder charges against Officer Van Dyke on the day that the McDonald video was released. Mayor Emanuel fired McCarthy a week later and appointed the Police Accountability Task Force, dominated by critics of the police. That task force issued a report in April 2016, claiming that the Chicago Police Department is shot through with “racism.” Emanuel is now genuflecting to the city’s activists. He has adopted many of the report’s most sweeping recommendations, including the appointment of a costly and unnecessary inspector general for the department (that will come on top of the independent monitor for investigatory stops), the replacement of the IPRA with a new entity, the Civilian Police Investigative Agency, and the creation of the “Community Safety Oversight Board.” All these additional layers of oversight will only complicate chains of command and further discourage proactive policing.

McCarthy defends his decision not to release the video or to correct the record early on the ground that he didn’t want to compromise the integrity of the investigation. He did not have the legal authority to comment once the case went to federal agencies, he says. Those protocols may be appropriate in the case of an ordinary police shooting, but this was no ordinary police shooting. Allowing a fabrication about a very bad shooting to stand, especially during the current era of fevered antipolice sentiment, is guaranteed to amplify the demagoguery against the police. McCarthy, an able and accomplished police executive, should have at least called in the investigating bodies in emergency session and worked out with them a way to counter the false narrative without jeopardizing their work. The Emanuel administration also bears enormous responsibility for the crisis in legitimacy that now afflicts the department. Emanuel has praised himself for being the first Chicago mayor to acknowledge an alleged police code of silence, but he knew about the shooting, and his aides had seen the video early on. City hall was already in damage-control mode by February 2015, as Emanuel faced a tight runoff election. It is irresponsible for Emanuel to scapegoat McCarthy when his own administration also failed to set the record straight.

The damage to the Chicago police and to policing nationally from the mishandling of the McDonald homicide is incalculable. The episode can now be invoked to confirm every false generalization about the police peddled by the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet the shooting was a tragic aberration, not the norm. A New York Times Magazine article in April 2016 tried to establish the department’s racially driven malfeasance by citing the absolute number of fatal police shootings in Chicago: from 2010 to 2014, Chicago police killed 70 people, more than any other police agency. The Times article neglected to reveal that Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Dallas all lead Chicago in the per-capita rate of such fatal shootings. Chicago’s rate of police shootings is nearly 50 percent lower than Phoenix’s—even though its murder rate is twice as high—and 35 percent lower than Philadelphia’s.

The number of armed felons that the city’s cops confront dwarfs the number of officer-involved shootings. No other police department takes more guns off the street. In the first nine months of 2015, the CPD recovered 20 illegal weapons a day. From January 2007 to November 30, 2015, the police made 37,408 arrests of an armed felon, or roughly 4,670 a year. Each of those arrests could have turned into an officer shooting. But in 2015, even as crime was increasing under the Ferguson effect, the Chicago police shot 30 people, eight fatally. Those fatal shootings represent 1.6 percent of the 492 homicides that year. Nationally, police shootings make up 12 percent of all white and Hispanic homicide deaths and 4 percent of all black homicide deaths. Chicago’s ratio of fatal police shootings to criminal homicide deaths is less than the national average.

The Emanuel-appointed Police Accountability Task Force claimed that police shooting data give “validity to the widely held belief that the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” The task force pointed to the fact that of the 404 individuals shot by the police between 2008 and 2015, both fatally and nonfatally, 74 percent (or 299) were black, and 8 percent (or 33) were white. Predictably, the task force said not one word about black and white crime rates, which were even more disproportionate in 2015 than in 2014. In 2015, blacks were 80 percent of all known murder suspects and 80 percent of all known nonfatal shooting suspects. Whites made up 0.9 percent of known murder suspects in 2015 and 1.4 percent of all known nonfatal shooting suspects. And blacks were overwhelmingly the victims of criminal shootings as well. In 2015, 2,460 blacks were shot lethally and nonlethally, or nearly seven blacks a day. By contrast, roughly 30 blacks were shot lethally and nonlethally by the police in all of 2015. Those 2,460 black victims of criminal shootings constituted nearly 81 percent of all known shooting victims. Seventy-eight whites were shot in 2015, or one white every 4.6 days, constituting 2.5 percent of all known shooting victims. If 74 percent of police shootings have black subjects, that is because officer use of force is going to occur most frequently where the police are trying to protect the law-abiding from armed and dangerous suspects—and that is in predominantly minority neighborhoods.

Emanuel is disbanding the IPRA because it found that of the 404 police shootings between 2008 and 2015, only two were unjustified. The mandate of its replacement body will be clear: penalize more cops. But absent an examination of each of those cases, no conclusion can be reached about whether the low number of findings of misconduct represents a miscarriage of justice. The IPRA has been understaffed over the years, but its fundamental design is strong. The fact that it has not found many bad shootings most likely means that they are rare. The IPRA released more than 100 files of police misconduct cases in early June, as part of a new policy of increased transparency. Prediction: the press will find few cases of clear wrongdoing.

The CPD’s critics are right about one thing, however: the cumbersome disciplinary process makes it too hard to fire officers found guilty of wrongdoing. And Chicago has had some truly bad cops over the years—most infamously, Jon Burge, a detective who tortured suspects from 1972 to 1991 to obtain false confessions. But the vast majority of officers today observe the law and are dedicated to serving the community; what they need is more tactical training, adequate staffing and equipment, and better leadership from an ingrown, highly political management cadre. As for the alleged blue wall, or code, of silence, it is hard in any department to crack the defensive solidarity among officers, who feel that they are facing an uncomprehending and often hostile world. Even now, a few of the officers I spoke with will not pass judgment on the McDonald homicide, on the ground that they were not there. Such solidarity is understandable, but commanders need to stress that when it results in distorting the truth, not only will the officer be severely punished; he is also making today’s anti-cop environment all the worse.

Despite the activists’ charge that the Chicago police are intent on killing black males, it’s easy to find support for the cops in crime-ridden areas. Mr. Fisher, a 55-year-old sanitation worker at a West Side bakery, is waiting for his wife outside Wiley’s Soul Food and Bar-B-Que on the West Side. Fisher was pulled over earlier in 2016 for a missing light on his license plate. The officer was courteous, he says. “I ain’t trying to buck them, I ain’t trying to disrespect them, I ain’t trying to give them a hard time, because I love my job. It’s not them, it’s the younger generation that’s got us messed up.” Civilians provoke confrontations with cops, not vice versa, Fisher says: “I seen a lot of people disrespect them, cussin’ and fussin’. If a cop was to get out of his car here, someone would run. To me, if you’re not doing anything, why would you run?” (Such commonsensical hypotheses have been ruled illegal by many courts—if a cop makes them.) Melissa, a 24-year-old outside D & J’s Hair Club on Pulaski Road, says that she has no problem with the police. “They doing they job. I don’t give them no reason to talk to me.” The problem is crime, she says: “I feel unsafe here. It just gets worse and worse.”

Sometimes support for the cops comes from unexpected places. In May 2016, a 38-year-old drug trafficker named Toby Jones received a 40-year federal prison sentence for repeatedly trying to gun down a federal informant, in the process shooting three people. He told the judge: “Even with all the latest police shootings on minorities in Chicago, I don’t blame these cops one bit for most of their decisions in the field. And the black community has to first come to grips with why these cops are so afraid,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Stories of heroic cops go untold, Jones said, “but as soon as a black kid gets shot, everyone is in an uproar.”

Activists and politicians are proposing the usual “root causes” solution to the current crime wave—more government programs—as well as less usual ones, such as abolishing the police department. The mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force wants the mayor and Cook County to “implement programs that address socioeconomic justice and equality, housing segregation, systemic racism, poverty, education, health and safety.” Such top-down spending ignores the normative breakdown that renders government social services largely futile. The bakery where Fisher works has been hiring for the last five years; he tells the “young brothers” about the jobs. “Half of them don’t show up; the others have drugs in their system. Half want to hang out and make the fast money that can get you in jail,” Fisher observes.

But the Chicago violence is also undermining the politically correct consensus about crime and policing. The Chicago Tribune has called for the police to make more traffic stops to quell the highway shootings; it points out that the Illinois vehicle code offers plenty of reasons to stop drivers, whether for a broken taillight or an expired registration sticker. Traffic stops are, of course, a prime target in the specious campaign against racial profiling; the mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force blasted the CPD for its allegedly biased stop rates, ignoring differential rates of vehicle and moving violations.

Police superintendent Eddie Johnson wants three-strikes-and-you’re-out-type sentencing laws for repeat felons. Chicago’s criminal-justice system “fails to hold these individuals accountable and allows them to bring . . . violent acts into our neighborhoods,” he said in March 2016. Stricter sentencing for repeat offenders is also a prime target for Black Lives Matter protesters. A few days after Johnson’s plea, anti-law-enforcement activists assailed former president Bill Clinton for having signed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which lengthened federal sentences for repeat felony offenders. Such sentences, protesters charged, resulted in “mass incarceration” for blacks. And an Illinois bill mandating stricter sentencing for illegal gun possession was blocked by the black caucus in Springfield in 2013, on the ground that it would have a disparate impact on blacks.

Some people in the community, however, are demanding even stronger measures than Johnson calls for. After a 15-year-old car passenger was killed in a drive-by shooting on June 1 on the South Side, a friend of his family told the Chicago Tribune, “We need martial law. Period. If it’s to protect our children, then so be it.”

Such calls will undoubtedly multiply this summer, since the violence shows no signs of abating. It may not be time to call out the National Guard yet. But it is time to reinvigorate the Chicago Police Department. With the Police Accountability Task Force charge of endemic racism and the ACLU straitjacket depressing morale, and with resistance of lawful authority growing, that will be no small task. City leaders will need to show that they understand and will support officers like the cold-case homicide detective who told me, in reaction to the task-force report: “Never once has anyone complained to me that I’m racist. I’m in it to do what’s right.”

 Voir encore:

Stat Crimes Matter
How researchers try to obscure the existence of the Ferguson effect
Heather Mac Donald
February 22, 2016

A group of criminologists has purported to answer the question: “Was there a Ferguson effect on crime rates in large U.S. cities?” The “Ferguson effect” refers to the phenomenon of police officers backing off from proactive policing in response to the anti-cop Black Lives Matter movement, with a resulting rise in violent crime. The criminologists answer their own question with a minutely qualified “No.” In fact, their analysis resoundingly confirms the existence of the Ferguson effect.

Anyone not well-versed in “discontinuous growth models,” “empirical Bayes predictions,” the “Bonferroni correction,” and “Nakagawa’s hypotheticals” will have to take on faith a great deal of the recent paper published in the Journal of Criminal Justice. The authors, four professors led by sociologist David Pyrooz of the University of Colorado Boulder, created a complex econometric model that analyzed monthly rates of change in crime rates in 81 U.S. cities with populations of 200,000 or more. The other 24 cities in that size cohort were not included in the study due to lack of crime data.

The researchers found that in the 12 months before Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri—the event that catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement—major felony crime, averaged across all 81 cities, was going down. In the 12 months after Brown was shot, that aggregate drop in crime slowed down considerably. But that deceleration of the crime drop was not large enough to be deemed statistically significant, say the criminologists. Therefore, they conclude, “there is no systematic evidence of a Ferguson Effect on aggregate crime rates throughout the large U.S. cities . . . in this study.”

But the existence of a Ferguson effect does not depend on its operating uniformly across the country in cities with very different demographics. When the researchers disaggregated crime trends by city, they found that the variance among those individual city trends had tripled after Ferguson. That is, before the Brown shooting, individual cities’ crime rates tended to move downward together; after Ferguson, their crime rates were all over the map. Some cities had sharp increases in aggregate crime, while others continued their downward trajectory. The variance in homicide trends was even greater—nearly six times as large after Ferguson. And what cities had the largest post-Ferguson homicide surges? Precisely those that the Ferguson effect would predict: cities with high black populations, low white populations, and high preexisting rates of violent crime.

A virulent anti-cop protest movement dedicated to the proposition that murderous, racist cops are the biggest threat facing young black men today will have its biggest impact on policing in black neighborhoods. It is in these neighborhoods that cops will face the most hostility from residents steeped in the Black Lives Matter ideology and where cops will most worry that, if an encounter with a civilian goes awry, they will become the latest racist officer-of-the-week on CNN. It is in black neighborhoods, in other words, where proactive policing—making pedestrian stops, enforcing quality-of-life public order laws—will be most inhibited. And given the already high rates of violent crime in black neighborhoods, any drop-off in policing is going to unleash even more crime, since it is in these high-crime neighborhoods where informal social controls have most disintegrated and where cops alone stand between law-abiding residents and anarchy. Even if the Black Lives Matter movement inhibited proactive policing uniformly in cities across the country, a place like Scottsdale, Arizona, say, will suffer less of an impact if cops back off, because the police are not as essential there to maintaining order as they are in Baltimore and St. Louis.

The researchers are unwilling, however, to accept the implication of their findings. They grudgingly admit that “the data offer preliminary support for a Ferguson Effect on homicide rates in a few select cities in the United States”—those cities, according to their model, are Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Newark, Milwaukee, Rochester, Detroit, Oakland, Richmond, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, and Baton Rouge—but then they backpedal furiously. (Cities that barely missed making the “statistically significant” cut include Kansas City, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Chicago.) What’s important about those cities, they claim, is that “they had much higher crime rates before Ferguson.” Those higher crime rates, they say, “in turn may have primed [those cities] for increases in crime.”

That conclusion is groundless. The proactive policing revolution that began in the 1990s had its greatest effect on high-crime cities; crime went down dramatically in neighborhoods that had been written off as ungovernable. If cities with a “higher proportion of black residents, lower socioeconomic status, and more police per capita,” in the authors’ words, were primed for a crime increase, and if those factors “lead to questions that may inhibit any ability to attribute crime increases specifically to the Ferguson Effect,” the authors need to explain how those cities experienced a crime drop in the first place. Moreover, if the authors think that high-black, high-crime cities were due for a crime increase regardless of changes in policing and a worsening in resident attitudes toward law enforcement, they didn’t alert us to such a reversal ahead of the fact.

In a separate analysis, the authors disaggregated the seven felonies included in the FBI’s crime index and tracked the movement of each felony averaged across all 81 cities. Robbery registered a statistically significant upward surge in monthly rates: before Ferguson, the aggregate robbery rate was dropping; after Ferguson, the rate reversed course, rising enough to be considered statistically significant. The criminologists conclude that “changes in robbery rates constitute the lone exception to a spurious Ferguson Effect,” but demur from speculating why that may be. Perhaps it is because robbery and drive-by shootings are the quintessential violent street crimes, both committed disproportionately by blacks. If police are making fewer street stops, thus deterring gun-carrying less, a rising robbery rate is not contrary to what the Ferguson effect would predict. (Shootings are not captured in the FBI data used by the researchers, so their pre- and post-Ferguson trajectories are not easily available.)

A few analysts have pointed out that the paper’s dismissal of a more widespread Ferguson effect rests on arbitrary statistical conventions. Fordham law professor John Pfaff notes that the rate of change in the aggregate violent crime rate rose tenfold after Ferguson. That increase was not deemed “statistically significant,” however, because it missed falling within the conventional statistical confidence interval by .02 crimes per 100,000 residents per month. The confidence interval tells you how certain you can be that the events being measured actually happened or were not the products of random chance. Statistical conventions deem a data distribution statistically significant only if there is not more than a 5 percent chance that the data points were arrived at in error or that the distribution curve mapping those data points would have occurred randomly. Had the increase in the rate of change in violent crime increase been .02 crimes per 100,000 per month higher, the authors would likely have had to change their conclusion regarding a “spurious” Ferguson effect. As it is, the existing tenfold increase in the rate of change has only a 12 percent chance of being a mirage—that is, the product of incorrect crime data, say, or of a random distribution of events, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Scott Winship. And the aggregate increase in the homicide rate of change, which the authors dismiss as “statistically insignificant,” has less than an 11 percent chance of being a random occurrence, according to Winship. Concludes Pfaff about the Pyrooz study: “So [the] claim of ‘no Ferguson Effect’ is built on little more than a century-old arbitrary line that arbitrarily balances 2 core error costs.”

The authors are doing nothing untoward in resting their conclusions on statistical conventions. But a lay reader may conflate their finding of “no statistically significant effect” with no effect at all and will likely not understand how narrowly a tenfold rise in the rate of change in violent crime missed being deemed statistically significant—if that lay reader even grasps the change at all from the paper’s tables.

The Pyrooz article will undoubtedly become a standard artillery piece on the activist and academic left. You would think that the fact that the Ferguson effect has been most pronounced in black areas would be cause for concern among those who claim to represent black interests against a sea of racism and oppression. In 2015, homicides in the 50 largest cities rose nearly 17 percent, “the greatest increase in lethal violence in a quarter century,” according to the Washington Post. The overwhelming majority of those additional victims were black. But the furious attempt to deny the Ferguson effect shows yet again that black lives seem to matter only when they are taken by police officers.

Voir de plus:

5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks
Aaron Bandler
July 7, 2016

The Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shootings have caused an uproar among leftists because they fuel their narrative that racist white police officers are hunting down innocent black men. But the statistics – brought to light by the superb work of Heather MacDonald – tell a different story.

Here are five key statistics you need to know about cops killing blacks.

1. Cops killed nearly twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. According to data compiled by The Washington Post, 50 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings were white, while 26 percent were black. The majority of these victims had a gun or « were armed or otherwise threatening the officer with potentially lethal force, » according to MacDonald in a speech at Hillsdale College.

Some may argue that these statistics are evidence of racist treatment toward blacks, since whites consist of 62 percent of the population and blacks make up 12 percent of the population. But as MacDonald writes in The Wall Street Journal, 2009 statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveal that blacks were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties in the country, despite only comprising roughly 15 percent of the population in these counties.

« Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force, » writes MacDonald.

MacDonald also pointed out in her Hillsdale speech that blacks « commit 75 percent of all shootings, 70 percent of all robberies, and 66 percent of all violent crime » in New York City, even though they consist of 23 percent of the city’s population.

« The black violent crime rate would actually predict that more than 26 percent of police victims would be black, » MacDonald said. « Officer use of force will occur where the police interact most often with violent criminals, armed suspects, and those resisting arrest, and that is in black neighborhoods. »

2. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. According to MacDonald, 12 percent of white and Hispanic homicide deaths were due to police officers, while only four percent of black homicide deaths were the result of police officers.

« If we’re going to have a ‘Lives Matter’ anti-police movement, it would be more appropriately named « White and Hispanic Lives Matter,' » said MacDonald in her Hillsdale speech.

3. The Post’s data does show that unarmed black men are more likely to die by the gun of a cop than an unarmed white man…but this does not tell the whole story. In August 2015, the ratio was seven-to-one of unarmed black men dying from police gunshots compared to unarmed white men; the ratio was six-to-one by the end of 2015. But MacDonald points out in The Marshall Project that looking at the details of the actual incidents that occurred paints a different picture:

The “unarmed” label is literally accurate, but it frequently fails to convey highly-charged policing situations. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment. Some were shot from an accidental discharge triggered by their own assault on the officer. And two individuals included in the Post’s “unarmed black victims” category were struck by stray bullets aimed at someone else in justified cop shootings. If the victims were not the intended targets, then racism could have played no role in their deaths.

In one of those unintended cases, an undercover cop from the New York Police Department was conducting a gun sting in Mount Vernon, just north of New York City. One of the gun traffickers jumped into the cop’s car, stuck a pistol to his head, grabbed $2,400 and fled. The officer gave chase and opened fire after the thief again pointed his gun at him. Two of the officer’s bullets accidentally hit a 61-year-old bystander, killing him. That older man happened to be black, but his race had nothing to do with his tragic death. In the other collateral damage case, Virginia Beach, Virginia, officers approached a car parked at a convenience store that had a homicide suspect in the passenger seat. The suspect opened fire, sending a bullet through an officer’s shirt. The cops returned fire, killing their assailant as well as a woman in the driver’s seat. That woman entered the Post’s database without qualification as an “unarmed black victim” of police fire.

MacDonald examines a number of other instances, including unarmed black men in San Diego, CA and Prince George’s County, MD attempting to reach for a gun in a police officer’s holster. In the San Diego case, the unarmed black man actually « jumped the officer » and assaulted him, and the cop shot the man since he was « fearing for his life. » MacDonald also notes that there was an instance in 2015 where « three officers were killed with their own guns, which the suspects had wrestled from them. »

4. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than white officers. This is according to a Department of Justice report in 2015 about the Philadelphia Police Department, and is further confirmed that by a study conducted University of Pennsylvania criminologist Gary Ridgeway in 2015 that determined black cops were 3.3 times more likely to fire a gun than other cops at a crime scene.

5. Blacks are more likely to kill cops than be killed by cops. This is according to FBI data, which also found that 40 percent of cop killers are black. According to MacDonald, the police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black than a cop killing an unarmed black person.

Despite the facts, the anti-police rhetoric of Black Lives Matter and their leftist sympathizers have resulted in what MacDonald calls the « Ferguson Effect, » as murders have spiked by 17 percent among the 50 biggest cities in the U.S. as a result of cops being more reluctant to police neighborhoods out of fear of being labeled as racists. Additionally, there have been over twice as many cops victimized by fatal shootings in the first three months of 2016.

Anti-police rhetoric has deadly consequences.

Voir de même:

Dallas Shooter Micah Xavier Johnson Followed Groups Promoting Black Panthers and Cop-Killing
Sigrid Johannes and Benny Johnson
Independent Journal
July 8, 2016

Police have identified the dead suspect in the Dallas police shooting incident as Micah Xavier Johnson. The 25-year-old man was a resident of Dallas. Johnson has no criminal record or ties to terror organizations, according to reports.

However, Johnson’s Facebook profile told a different story. CBS News confirmed that this now deleted profile was Johnson’s.

Before Facebook deleted the profile, which is standard practice for the social media site in the wake of one of its users committing a violent act, Independent Journal Review screen grabbed some of Johnson’s alarming activity. Johnson’s Facebook activity dates as far back as 2011.

The LA Times confirmed Johnson’s military history, but there was no mention of service on his Facebook page.

Johnson was killed after a prolonged negotiation with police. He threatened that officers would discover improvised explosives throughout the city. His stated goal was to kill white people, specifically white law enforcement.

Voir de plus:

The Dallas Shooting and the Advent of Killer Police Robots

Chief David Brown says officers used a device equipped with a bomb to kill a suspect, a perhaps unprecedented move that raises new questions about use of lethal force.
David A. Graham

The Atlantic

Jul 8, 2016

In the mourning over the murders of five police officers in Dallas, and relief that the standoff had ended, one unusual detail stuck out: the manner in which police killed one suspect after negotiations failed.

“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,” Chief David Brown said in a press conference Friday morning. “Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger. The suspect is deceased … He’s been deceased because of a detonation of the bomb.”

That use of a robot raises questions about the way police adopt and use new technologies. While many police forces have adopted robots—or, more accurately, remote-controlled devices—for uses like bomb detonation or delivery of non-lethal force like tear gas, using one to kill a suspect is at least highly unusual and quite possibly unprecedented.

“I’m not aware of officers using a remote-controlled device as a delivery mechanism for lethal force,” said Seth Stoughton, an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina who is a former police officer and expert on police methods. “This is sort of a new horizon for police technology. Robots have been around for a while, but using them to deliver lethal force raises some new issues.”

Robotics expert Peter Singer of New America also told the Associated Press he believed the use was unprecedented.

But while there are likely to be intense ethical debates about when and how police deploy robots in this manner, Stoughton said he doesn’t think Dallas’s decision is particularly novel from a legal perspective. Because there was an imminent threat to officers, the decision to use lethal force was likely reasonable, while the weapon used was immaterial.

“The circumstances that justify lethal force justify lethal force in essentially every form,” he said. “If someone is shooting at the police, the police are, generally speaking, going to be authorized to eliminate that threat by shooting them, or by stabbing them with a knife, or by running them over with a vehicle. Once lethal force is justified and appropriate, the method of delivery—I doubt it’s legally relevant.”

Police forces have adopted remote-controlled devices for a wide variety of tasks in recent years, from tiny to large. These tools can search for bombs, take cameras into dangerous areas, deliver tear gas or pepper spray, and even rescue wounded people. Police used one small robot in the manhunt for Boston Marathon bomber Dzohkar Tsarnaev. In May, the Dallas Police Department posted on its blog that it had acquired new robots. Other law-enforcement agencies have experimented with flying “drones,” again more correctly remotely controlled aerial vehicles. So far, those uses appear to have been solely for surveillance. The Department of Justice said in 2013 that it had used drones in the U.S. on 10 occasions.

In a few cases, forces have used remote-controlled devices to deliver non-lethal force, too, as Vice reported last year. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2014, “the Bomb Squad supported APD’s SWAT Team on November 9 at a local residence. The SWAT team requested robot assistance to assist on a barricaded subject armed with a gun. The Bomb Squad robot was able to deploy chemical munitions into the subject’s motel room, which led to the subject’s surrender.” Vice cited other news reports that involved hostage situations where robots were deployed, though the applications are sometimes vague. A remote-controlled device could also be equipped to deliver a flash-bang grenade, used to disorient suspects.

Brown didn’t explain what kind of explosive DPD attached to their device. While a department might stock flash-bangs, explosives for breaching doors, and a few other explosive devices, “I’m not aware of any police department having on hand something that is intended to be used as a weaponized explosive,” Stoughton said.

Use of remote-controlled devices by law enforcement raises a range of possible questions about when and where they are appropriate. The advent of new police technologies, from the firearm to the Taser, has often resulted in accusations of inappropriate use and recalibration in when police use them. Stoughton pointed out that prior to the Supreme Court’s 1985 decision in Tennessee v. Garner, the “fleeing-felon rule” gave officers the right to use lethal force to prevent a suspect in a serious crime from escaping. But the justices limited the rule, saying that firearms meant the rule was no longer current. Unless either they or civilians are in danger of death or serious bodily harm, police can only use non-lethal force to stop a fleeing felon. Similarly, the adoption of the Taser has raised questions about whether officers are too quick to use the devices when they would be better served to deescalate or use their hands.

“I think we will see similar concerns when we’re talking about the use of robots to employ lethal force,” Stoughton said. For example, in Dallas, the police appear to have faced danger of death or serious bodily harm. But imagine a scenario in which a suspect has been shooting but is not currently firing, and in which all officers are safely covered. In such a case, police would likely not open up a gun battle. But would commanders be quicker to deploy a robot, since there would be less danger to officers? And would current lethal-force rules really justify it? There is reason to believe they would not.

The nascent questions over police use of remote-controlled devices echoes an existing argument over the military use of such tools. U.S. drone strikes overseas are believed to have killed hundreds of civilians, and the legal justifications for when and where they are used are often hotly contested. In some cases, drone strikes have killed American citizens without due process. Many civil libertarians are troubled by the implications for stateside use. In 2013, Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, mounted a 13-hour filibuster blocking the confirmation John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to direct the CIA, over the White House’s refusal to say whether it believed it could use military drones to kill American suspects on American soil. Attorney General Eric Holder later wrote Paul to say that the president does not have the authority to do so.

Move away from the realm of remote-controlled devices into the world of autonomous or partially autonomous robots that could deliver lethal, or even non-lethal, force, and the concerns mount. There’s already a heated debate over whether and how the military should deploy lethal, autonomous robots. That debate, too, could transfer to police forces. But as Stoughton noted, law enforcement serves a different purpose than the army.

“The military has many missions, but at its core is about dominating and eliminating an enemy,” he said. “Policing has a different mission: protecting the populace. That core mission, as difficult as it is to explains sometimes, includes protecting some people who do some bad things. It includes not using lethal force when it’s possible to not.”

Voir par ailleurs:

What Does Science Tell Us About the So-Called Ferguson Effect?

Scott E Wolfe Scott H Decker and David C Pyrooz
Quillette
March 1, 2016

American policing is in the midst of a challenge to its legitimacy. The police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO in the summer of 2014 led to a firestorm of social media attention focused on police use of force against minority citizens. Social media and cell phone video fueled the viral spread of similar incidents across the United States in months to come, making police shootings a national (and international) conversation rather than one constrained locally to the jurisdictions where specific incidents occurred.

Rather than speculate about the impact of so important an issue, solid research should guide our understanding and policy responses.

Ferguson and related incidents resulted in civil unrest, microscopic scrutiny of police behavior, lawsuits, and officer terminations. Websites where citizens could post cell phone video of police-citizen interactions gained popularity, such as Cop Block and Reddit’s Bad Cop No Donut. This led some commentators, law enforcement officials, including the FBI Director, and politicians  to warn the American public of an impending crime wave. More crime was argued to be the result of officers withdrawing from their duties out of fear of being on the next viral video.

The term given to this phenomenon is the “Ferguson effect.” It speaks to both “de-policing” (a reduction in proactive police strategies) as well as crises in citizen perceptions of criminal justice system legitimacy (as citizens become aware of injustices and emboldened by hypercriticism of law enforcement).

What does science tell us about this purported Ferguson effect? For the most part the debate has been based on anecdotal evidence and back-of-the-napkin data analysis. Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute was one of the first to use data to examine the Ferguson effect. She found increases in violent crime in a small group of cities and concluded that this was evidence of a nationwide crime wave on the horizon. Other findings have been reported by the New York Times, 538.com, the Washington Post, and the Brennan Center for Justice, which reveal some evidence of increases in violent crime.

The question that wasn’t answered by Mac Donald, and others, is whether increases in violence in the United States were a result of the events surrounding Ferguson.

We recently published the most rigorous study of the Ferguson effect on crime rates to date based on monthly crime data from 81 of the 105 largest U.S. cities (population over 200,000).  We examined crime trends in the 12 months before and after Ferguson. The short answer: no nationwide crime wave could be pinned to Ferguson, at least among the largest U.S. cities. These results apply to overall crime rates, violent and property crime rates, and six out of the seven FBI Part I crimes.

However, there was a significant increase in robbery rates across the United States that began about the time that Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. This is an important finding. It suggests that a Ferguson effect may exist for robbery—a violent street crime that can be effectively combated by good policing (or allowed to increase if de-policing is occurring).

A handful of cities—those with historically high levels of violence, a greater proportion of African-American residents, and socioeconomic disadvantages (e.g., Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Detroit)—experienced increases in homicide rates after the Ferguson incident. Indeed, this is evidence of a Ferguson effect. It is notable however that each of these cities has been the subject of federal scrutiny and in two cases (New Orleans and Detroit) the police department has operated under a consent decree providing federal oversight of police operations.

Our study didn’t please everyone. One of the more common critiques levied against our work was that we incorrectly conclude that there is no Ferguson effect on crime. Heather Mac Donald in City Journal, for example, in response to our findings, held: “the existence of a Ferguson effect does not depend on its operating uniformly across the country in cities with very different demographics.”

We agree with Mac Donald. As would be expected, we observed heterogeneity in how cities responded to the events in Ferguson—most cities experienced no change in crime rates while a small number saw increases. This seems straightforward enough. The analogy would be a stock portfolio, where some holdings increase even in a down market. We concluded that some cities could have been “primed” for a Ferguson effect on crime, a conclusion that Mac Donald curiously termed “groundless.”

But we wonder why Mac Donald titled her original opinion piece (the one that really stoked the Ferguson effect fire) in the  “The New Nationwide Crime Wave” (our italics). Now strong empirical evidence exists that finds no evidence of a nationwide crime wave among large cities. Despite this, the knee jerk reaction is a revision of the original hypothesis out of fear that the facts and good research will get in the way of a good story, or a political opinion. Revising theories in the face of observation is part of the scientific process. The only difference is that Mac Donald doesn’t acknowledge that her original hypothesis was wrong. And our results are good news for cities and the police: on the whole crime is not up.

A second criticism offered by Mac Donald and others focused on our use of an “arbitrary” cut point to determine statistical significance (p < 0.05). While not an absolute standard, this level of significance is the most commonly used in the social sciences. Let’s assume that we ignored this convention and instead drew conclusions based on numbers that failed to recognize the possibility of chance fluctuations in crime. We would have been rightly criticized for fishing for effects to prove a point. That’s not how science is supposed to work.

One alternative is to look away from statistical significance and focus on substantive significance—that is, effect sizes. What was the magnitude of the effect of Ferguson on crime trends? When you examine the effect size for violent crime we see that it is expected to change by 0.34 offenses per 100,000 residents per month after Ferguson. This suggests that if a Ferguson effect on violent crime exists, we would observe an average of 4 more violent offenses per 100,000 people over the course of an entire year in the 81 U.S. cities. When we standardize this effect—placing it on a comparable metric—we find a 0.008 post-Ferguson monthly redirection in violent crime. Over a year, that’s a 0.096 standard deviation increase. An effect size of 0.20, according to Jacob Cohen, the pioneer of effect size interpretations, is “small.” In short, this isn’t an effect size that proponents of a Ferguson effect would want to trumpet as evidence in support of their claims.

Mac Donald seizes on Fordham law professor John Pfaff’s ill-informed tweets about a “tenfold” increase in violent crime after Ferguson. Yes, the rate of change in violent crime was 10 times greater after Ferguson. But that’s because the violent crime rate trend before Ferguson was practically flat. Any change, whether positive or negative, would have appeared massive by that standard. An analogy may be in order. Let’s say you are walking on a flat street at sea level and then step up a curb. Your elevation has now changed drastically (0 feet above sea level compared to 4 inches above sea level on the curb). Does this mean you are now standing on a mountain? No, it does not.

This does not imply that there is no such thing as a Ferguson effect. Indeed, the evidence points to other possible Ferguson effects. One study just published in Law and Human Behaviour showed that a sizable portion of sheriff’s deputies indicated that they have become less motivated in recent months as a result of negative publicity surrounding law enforcement. Indeed, this is evidence of a Ferguson effect on officer morale and behavior. The good news, however, was that there was no indication in the study that such sentiment translated into de-policing in the form of a withdrawal from community partnerships.

Another study published in Justice Quarterly revealed that officers who felt less motivated as a result of negative publicity surrounding their profession were significantly less likely to have confidence in their own authority as cops. Again, this provides support for a Ferguson effect. The bigger questions are whether and how such negative publicity translates to police activities on the street.

The Ferguson effect may mean different things. As a consequence there may be no simple yes or no answer to questions about its effect. Ignoring the nuances in a debate about crime and criminal justice leads to bad policy and potentially negative outcomes.

Despite this, some insist that a Ferguson effect exists and that crime rates are increasing. They point to unfair scrutiny of the police as a cause. Why anyone would want a Ferguson effect to exist, and criticize research of contrary evidence, is an interesting question. This tells us that such individuals believe that police are not professional enough, not trained well enough, and too hesitant under pressure to withstand the new reality that their actions can be caught on camera. This sentiment seems to be particularly “anti-cop.” It seems to us that it is much more “pro-cop” to conclude that a vast majority of officers are well-trained professionals who can withstand pressure from public scrutiny. If one accepts this premise, we would certainly not expect large groups of officers to de-police and cause higher crime rates in our communities.

Maybe herein lies the problem—threatening people with the prospect that violent crime will increase if they protest police behaviors suggests that the police should not be accountable for their behavior. The recent events in Richland County (Columbia), South Carolina involving the video of a Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy tossing a teenage girl across a classroom is an example of how a law enforcement executive can take the opposite approach to this prevailing opinion. In response to this, Sheriff Leon Lott initiated a quick, transparent, and professional investigation, fired the deputy for his actions, and people in the community largely moved on with their lives. No violent crime increase occurred, no violent protests took place. There was no “Ferguson effect” in an area that we may be most likely to see it—an urban jurisdiction with racial diversity, higher than average crime rates, and in the South which is a region that apparently has had a history of racial tension.

Any assessment of a Ferguson Effect should be one of fact and not ideology. Yet some insist that academics are out to satisfy a progressive agenda. Such attacks have no grounding in the facts and themselves advance an ideology. When such opinions come from academics it tells us that they can’t accept the evidence and that they instead resort to ad hominem attacks. Indeed, police leaders across the country are using data and research to better understand their crime problems and craft more effective responses.

In the end, one thing about the Ferguson effect is crystal clear. A substantial segment of the American public is questioning the legitimacy of police actions, including the use of force. This attention is a Ferguson effect in itself.

Perhaps we should spend more time worrying about the legitimacy crisis rather than a Ferguson effect on crime. Rather than warning the public to stop criticizing police we should work with them to restore trust and legitimacy. This argument does not give carte blanche to rabble rousers who aim to exact violence against police and file false complaints. On the contrary, such behavior is not acceptable.

At the same time, law enforcement, politicians, and talking heads need to stop threatening citizens by telling them that the police are going to de-police unless they stop criticizing officers. Such statements only communicate to the public that we should not hold public servants accountable. Such unscientific rhetoric may appeal to many but serves no one. What we need is more good inquiry and less speculation. We invite others to join the debate, but with data and analysis.

Scott E. Wolfe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, at the University of South Carolina.

Scott H. Decker is a Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University.

David C. Pyrooz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder.

Voir aussi:

Is the ‘Ferguson effect’ real? Researcher has second thoughts

‘Some version’ of theory linking protests over police killings to increase in crime may be best explanation for increase in murders in 2015, St Louis criminologist says after deeper analysis of crime trends
Lois Beckett
The Guardian
Fri 13 May 2016

For nearly a year, Richard Rosenfeld’s research on crime trends has been used to debunk the existence of a “Ferguson effect”, a suggested link between protests over police killings of black Americans and an increase in crime and murder. Now, the St Louis criminologist says, a deeper analysis of the increase in homicides in 2015 has convinced him that “some version” of the Ferguson effect may be real.

Looking at data from 56 large cities across the country, Rosenfeld found a 17% increase in homicide in 2015. Much of that increase came from only 10 cities, which saw an average 33% increase in homicide.

“These aren’t flukes or blips, this is a real increase,” he said. “It was worrisome. We need to figure out why it happened.”

All 10 cities that saw sudden increases in homicide had large African American populations, he said. While it’s not clear what drove the increases, he said, he believes there is some connection between high-profile protests over police killings of unarmed black men, a further breakdown in black citizens’ trust of the police, and an increase in community violence.

“The only explanation that gets the timing right is a version of the Ferguson effect,” Rosenfeld said. Now, he said, that’s his “leading hypothesis”.

Other experts have argued that it’s still hard to know whether 2015’s increase in murders was significant, much less what might have caused the trend. The liberal Brennan Center found that increases in homicide last year were localized in only a few cities, and that “community conditions” were likely to blame, rather than “a national pandemic”.

Even if the increase in homicide is significant, there are many competing theories for what may be responsible. The Brennan Center pointed to economic deterioration of struggling neighborhoods. Columnist Shaun King argued last month that the increase in violence in two cities seemed to be caused by police officers “refusing to fully do their jobs”. Local police officials have blamed court system failures, gang dynamics and the proliferation of illegal guns.

Rosenfeld’s new analysis of homicide trends, which was was funded by the Department of Justice, is currently being reviewed by department officials and has not yet been released to the public. A justice department spokeswoman said the paper is expected to be released in July.

A political flashpoint

The question of whether there is any link between protests over police mistreatment of black Americans and an increase in violence in some black neighborhoods has been a political flashpoint for the past year. Conservative writer Heather Mac Donald warned in May 2015 that protests over police behavior would only backfire on black citizens.

“Unless the demonization of law enforcement ends, the liberating gains in urban safety over the past 20 years will be lost,” she wrote. Her op-ed, titled The New Nationwide Crime Wave, sparked a months-long debate.

The Obama administration repeatedly denied that there is any evidence of a “Ferguson effect”, while FBI director James Comey reiterated his suggestion that violent crime was increasing because of “a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year.” Protesters said the conservative focus on the Ferguson effect is an attempt to undermine the movement to reform American policing.

Rosenfeld said that the version of the Ferguson effect he now found plausible was very different from the one Mac Donald had described.

“She thinks the solution is to stop criticizing the police; I think the criticism is understandable, rooted in a history of grievance, and serves as a reminder that the police must serve and protect our most vulnerable communities.”

If a breakdown of trust between police and community is leading a spike in murders, he wrote in an email, the solution required two things: better community policing in communities of color, and “more effective response to serious violent crime,” focused on redoubled efforts to solve homicides and other acts of violence.

Comey reignited the debate on Wednesday, telling reporters that the continued increase in violence was a serious problem that national media outlets were choosing to ignore. He said that private conversations with police officials across the country convinced him that “marginal pullbacks by lots and lots of police officers” afraid of being the subject of the next viral video of police misconduct might be contributing to the increase.

“The people dying are almost entirely black and Latino men,” he said. “It’s a complicated, hard issue, but the stakes couldn’t be higher. A whole lot of people are dying. I don’t want to drive around it.”

The White House clashed with Comey last year over his previous comments on policing and crime increases, and the administration has repeatedly pushed back against the idea of a “Ferguson effect”. Obama himself cautioned against trying to “cherry-pick” crime data last year, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that while the idea of the Ferguson effect had been bolstered by anecdotes, “there’s no data to support it”.

Chicago, Obama’s hometown, has seen more than 1,000 shooting incidents so far this year, compared with about 600 incidents during the same period last year. Murders in Chicago are up 56%, with 70 more people murdered so far this year than last year. Among those injured in Chicago so far this year was Zariel Trotter, a 13-year-old advocate against gun violence. Lee McCullum Jr, a former South Side prom king featured in a CNN documentary, was fatally shot on Thursday.

“The numbers are not only going up, they’re continuing to go up faster than they were going up last year,” Comey said of the uptick, according to Politico. Comey told reporters he would not call the trend he was seeing the Ferguson effect, the New York Times reported.

Some protesters and law enforcement leaders criticized Comey for advancing a theory without national data to back it up.

“Director Comey’s recent comments about a ‘viral video effect’ are unfounded, and frankly, damaging to the efforts of law enforcement,” Ronal Serpas, the chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, said in a statement Thursday.

Serpas cited a series of influential reports from the liberal Brennan Center that found no change in overall crime in 2015 in the nation’s 30 largest cities, and only a slight increase in violent crime.

The Brennan Center analysis did find that the murder rate had increased 13.2% in the nation’s 30 largest cities, but it downplayed this finding. “While this suggests cause for concern in some cities, murder rates vary widely from year to year, and there is little evidence of a national coming wave in violent crime,” the report noted.

The three cities that had seen the biggest increases in murder “all seem to have falling populations, higher poverty rates, and higher unemployment than the national average,” the Brennan Center report concluded. “Economic deterioration of these cities could be a contributor to murder increases.”

Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri St Louis and the chair of a National Academy of Sciences roundtable on crime trends, said the Brennan Center’s focus on the economic roots of violence was not enough to explain “why homicide increased as much as it did in these cities in a one-year period”.

“The conclusion one draws from the Brennan Center’s report is, ‘Not much changed,’ and that is simply not true. In the case of homicide, a lot did change, in a very short period of time,” he said.

While “economic disadvantage is an extraordinarily important predictor of the level of homicide in cities,” he said, “there’s no evidence of a one year substantial economic decline in those cities. There have to be other factors involved.”

History of the ‘Ferguson effect’

The idea of a “Ferguson effect” was coined in 2014 by St Louis police chief Samuel Dotson. The same year that Ferguson saw massive protests over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, St Louis saw a 32.5% increase in homicides. “The criminal element is feeling empowered by the environment,” St Louis’s police chief argued, blaming the increase in crime on what he called “the Ferguson effect”, and arguing that the police department needed to hire 180 more officers.

That claim was picked up in May 2015 by Mac Donald, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute which had published a researcher’s 1996 warning about the purported rise of “juvenile super-predators”.

Samuel Sinyangwe, a co-founder of Mapping Police Violence and Campaign Zero, called the conservative focus on the Ferguson effect “a reactionary attempt to undermine the movement”.

“It has been the attempt to put across this narrative that any criticism of the police is dangerous to society,” he said.

That kind of political rhetoric has been used against civil rights advocates in the past. Opponents of the 1964 Civil Rights Act argued that “civil rights would engender a crime wave”, Yale political scientist Vesla Weaver wrote in an article on how arguments about crime were used to attack and undermine African Americans’ fight for equal rights.

A closer look at many of the statistics Mac Donald used to bolster her thesis showed they did not provide sufficient evidence of a nationwide crime wave, criminologist Frank Zimring argued last year.

When Rosenfeld analyzed St Louis’s crime data, he found the increase in homicides there could not have been caused by a “Ferguson effect”, because the greatest increase came early in the year, months before Michael Brown’s death or the protests that followed.

Rosenfeld’s research was widely cited in articles debunking the Ferguson effect.

But that paper only looked at the evidence for the effect in one city. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, the justice department’s research arm, Rosenfeld did a new study early this year that looked that more broadly at homicide trends in the nation’s 56 largest cities and found an overall 17% increase in homicide.

As a result of that broader national analysis he said, he has had “second thoughts” about the Ferguson effect. “My views have been altered.”

Looking at the additional homicides in large cities, he found that two-thirds of the increase was concentrated in 10 cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Washington, Nashville, Philadelphia, Kansas City and St Louis.

Those 10 cities had somewhat higher levels of poverty than the other cities he examined. But, he said, the “key difference” was that “their African American population was substantially larger than other large cities”: an average of 41% in those 10 cities, compared with 19.9% in the others.

Separate analyses looked at two of these cities in 2015 and early 2016. A FiveThirtyEight assessment of Chicago crime data concluded that the city’s increase in gun violence was statistically significant, that the spike dated back to the release of the video of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, and that it was closely correlated with a drop in police arrests. Researchers in Baltimore found a similar correlation between a drop in arrests and an increase in violence in the wake of protests over Freddie Gray’s death, and concluded that while the Ferguson effect played no role in Baltimore’s rising violence, a “Freddie Gray effect” may have been a significant factor.

Violence has many complex causes, and decades of exhaustive research has shed only partial light. Even the dramatic drop in violence and crime since the early 1990s – the most basic fact about crime in America – is not fully understood. In trying to understand 2015’s murder trends, Rosenfeld looked for reasons why cities that already struggled with high levels of violence might see “a precipitous and very abrupt increase”.

Rosenfeld considered two potential alternative explanations: the US heroin epidemic, and the number of former inmates returning home from prison. Neither of these explanations quite lined up with the increase in violence, he said. For instance, the country has been in the midst of a heroin epidemic since 2011. Why there would be a four to five year lag before the epidemic caused murders to spike?

“That led me to conclude, preliminarily, that something like a Ferguson effect was responsible for the increase,” he said.

What exactly that effect might be is far from clear, he said. The fierce debate over the “Ferguson effect” or Comey’s “viral video effect” has described the dynamic in several ways, including criminals being “emboldened” by protests agains the police, and “de-policing”, or police drawing back from proactive activities, in the wake of increased public scrutiny. One Chicago officer said that police were drawing back not because of public scrutiny via cell phone videos, but because of their fear that city officials would no longer protect officers who made honest mistakes while doing a difficult job.

Rosenfeld said he has only seen clear evidence of decreases in proactive police activity in Chicago and Baltimore. He said he believed “de-policing” was not a major factor in other cities – and that even in Chicago, changes in proactive police activity could only be responsible for some of the increase in shootings and violence.

One potential link between public attention to police violence and increased violent crime in the community, he said, might be if intensified community mistrust of the police make offenders think “that they can commit crime with impunity. They don’t think the community is willing to cooperate with the police and investigations or they think the community is less likely to contact the police when victimized.”

“We don’t yet have the data to understand the mechanism for the Ferguson effect,” he said.

‘A largely evidence-free debate’

Advocates for police reform and community violence prevention greeted the hypothesis with some skepticism. Dante Barry, executive director of the Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, said the idea that increased political activism by black Americans could lead to increased violence was “anti-democratic”.

Mistrust between some black neighborhoods and police was not some new phenomenon, he said. “The trust factor has always been a factor, for generations.”

Sinyangwe, of Mapping Police Violence and Campaign Zero, said he could not evaluate Rosenfeld’s research before reading his full report, but noted that New York City, which saw both massive protests over the death of Eric Garner and a brief drop in proactive police activity as a protest against Mayor Bill de Blasio, has not seen dramatic increases in crime or murder.

“The reality is we really don’t know what leads to increase in homicide,” he said. “You have to go into communities and ask them what is going on.”

Phillip Atiba Goff, a leading researcher on racial bias in policing and the president of the Center for Policing Equity, said in an April interview that one way of interpreting the Ferguson effect is “on its face, offensive”, but that there is clear research evidence linking perceptions of police legitimacy to how willing people are to break the law.

“If you believe not having police doing proactive stops in neighborhoods leads to immediate upticks in violent crime, that suggests that the people who live in that neighborhood are just waiting to commit acts of violence until they’re not being watched by the hall monitors that wear badges and guns,” he said. The suggestion that some Americans “can’t control their base instincts” without someone with a badge surveilling them is the kind of logic that led to mass incarceration and the war on drugs, he said.

“A far more reasonable hypothesis is that the decay in police legitimacy is harming both police morale and community morale,” he said. “When you don’t believe police are legitimate, you are much more likely to be engage in illegal behaviors and be uncooperative with law enforcement.”

Mac Donald, whose op-ed launched the Ferguson effect debate, said in April that increased homicides in cities with large numbers of black residents “is exactly what you would predict from the Ferguson effect. That’s where the Black Lives Matter message that police are racist is going to have the most effect, and it’s where cops are getting the most pushback from proactive policing – and where policing is most necessary.”

The Obama administration has rejected the Ferguson effect because “it goes against a broader agenda of saying the real solution is social services, fighting racism,” she said.

“People are very opposed to acknowledging the connection between policing and crime,” she said. “You see the Brennan Center trying to tie itself into knots denying its own data.”

In response to criticism of the Brennan Center report, Inimai Chettiar, who oversaw the production of the report, said it “looked specifically at what’s happening to crime and not the cause. We didn’t look into whether or not there’s a Ferguson effect.”

“There have been a lot of people saying there was a crime wave and there was a murder wave nationally, and what the report’s results show is that there was not a national murder wave, there is not a national crime wave. Crime is still the same, however there are pockets that are experiencing higher murders, and those are serious things that we need to address.”

Rosenfeld blamed the FBI’s extremely slow crime data system for fueling a “largely rhetorical – largely evidence-free debate”. The FBI’s full national crime numbers for last year will not be released until September, more than a year after the debate over the year’s crime trends began.

In the absence of official national statistics, his research was based on police department data collected by the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, he said.

“That’s simply unacceptable, that’s unnecessary, and the FBI really needs to get its act together,” he said.

Voir également:

A Dallas, la police a utilisé pour la première fois un «robot tueur»
Pierre Jova , AFP agence
Le Figaro
08/07/2016

VIDÉO – Pour neutraliser l’homme suspecté d’avoir abattu plusieurs officiers, les forces de l’ordre américaines ont eu recours à une machine armée d’une bombe.

Vendredi à l’aube, un sniper suspecté d’avoir tiré sur des policiers et retranché depuis des heures dans un bâtiment est finalement tué par un robot télécommandé, utilisé pour faire détoner une bombe.

Micah Johnson, jeune Noir de 25 ans, avait servi dans l’armée américaine en Afghanistan. Sur son profil Facebook, il avait publié des images avec le slogan «Black Power» des extrémistes afro-américains des années 1960 et 1970. Il avait également ajouté la lettre «X» entre son prénom et son nom, probablement en référence à Malcolm X, leader noir opposé à la non-violence prônée par Martin Luther King.

Pour neutraliser ce suspect armé, la police de Dallas disposait d’un robot Northrop Grumman Andros, conçu pour les équipes de démineurs et l’armée. La photo d’un robot de ce type a été diffusée par le magazine américain Popular Science.

«C’est la première fois qu’un robot est utilisé de cette façon par la police», a assuré sur Twitter Peter Singer, de la fondation New America, un groupe de réflexion spécialisé notamment dans les questions de sécurité. Ce spécialiste des méthodes modernes de combat a précisé qu’un appareil baptisé Marcbot «a été employé de la même façon par les troupes en Irak».

L’arrivée des robots armés dans la police?
Dans l’armée américaine, les robots terrestres transforment le visage de la guerre depuis plusieurs années déjà. Ils sont notamment capables de récupérer et désactiver une charge explosive, à l’aide d’un bras téléguidé par des soldats restés à l’abri du danger. Ils semblent voués à être désormais de plus en plus employés à des fins de combat. Y compris par les forces de l’ordre.

En Chine, l’université de la défense nationale a conçu un appareil baptisé «AnBot», destiné à avoir «un rôle important à jouer pour renforcer les mesures anti-terroristes et anti-émeutes». «La caractéristique la plus controversée d’AnBot est bien sûr son ‘outil intégré anti-émeute électrisé’ (ressemblant certainement à un Taser ou à un aiguillon pour bétail). Il ne peut être déclenché que par les humains contrôlant Anbot à distance», écrivaient Peter Singer avec un autre spécialiste Jeffrey Lin, en avril, dans Popular Science. «Le fait qu’Anbot soit si grand veut dire qu’il a la place d’intégrer d’autres équipements de police, comme des gaz lacrymogènes et d’autres armes moins létales», poursuivaient les auteurs.

Des chercheurs de l’université de Floride travaillent eux au développement de «Telebot», comparé dans certains articles au célèbre «Robocop» imaginé au cinéma. Destiné notamment à assister des policiers handicapés pour qu’ils puissent reprendre le service, Telebot a été conçu «pour avoir l’air intimidant et assez autoritaire pour que les citoyens obéissent à ses ordres» tout un gardant «une apparence amicale» qui rassurent «les citoyens de tous âges», selon un rapport d’étudiants de l’université de Floride.

L’arrivée de robots aux armes létales dans la police suscite de nombreuses interrogations. L’ONG Human Rights Watch et l’organisation International Human Rights Clinic, qui dépend de l’université de Harvard, s’inquiétaient ainsi en 2014 du recours aux robots par les forces de l’ordre. Ces engins «ne sont pas dotés de qualités humaines, telles que le jugement et l’empathie, qui permettent à la police d’éviter de tuer illégalement dans des situations inattendues», écrivaient-elles dans un rapport.

Si l’emploi des robotos armés était amené à se développer, le bouleversement anthropologique suscité serait considérable.

Voir enfin:

The Post-O.J. Trial Upside: Riots As Scarce As Justice

October 6, 1995

 Millions of people were stunned and outraged by the not-guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. But I always try to look at the upside. And there are plenty of reasons to feel relief and gratitude.

For one thing, there was no rioting. I had feared that thousands of furious blond, blue-eyed women and their brunette sympathizers would take their rage into the streets, burning, killing and looting.

While I don’t condone rioting, the historic and sociological reasons would have made such violence understandable.

As one woman told me after the verdict: « For thousands of years, we have been putting up with abuse from large, strong, arrogant, evil-tempered men.

« There is no group on Earth that has been kicked around the way women have. Since the dawn of history, we’ve been beaten, violated, enslaved, abandoned, stalked, pimped, murdered and even dissed by men.

« Now this jury and the legal system have sent a clear message to society: It’s OK for men to cut our throats from ear to ear. »

But why haven’t you rioted?

« It would just give men another excuse to kick us around. »

Another group that I feared would riot were obscure waiters.

As one of them said after the verdict: « This figures. Throughout history, obscure waiters have received little respect. A waiter goes to a table and says to someone like O.J., `Hi, I’m Ron and I’ll be your server.’ Would O.J. say, `Hi, Ron, I’m O.J. and I’ll be your customer?’ No, all O.J. would say is: `Get me a clean fork.’

« What do you think that jury would have done if O.J. the superstar had been murdered by a obscure waiter? Do you think Johnnie Cochran would say that some cop planted the waiter’s bloody apron as false evidence? »

Then why didn’t all of you obscure waiters riot?

« What, and miss the dinner trade? »

Another positive development was that Mark Fuhrman, while a Los Angeles cop, was a bigot and had used the infamous « N-word. »

This was a shocking revelation because it shattered the widely accepted stereotype of big city cops as being incurable liberals who support the ACLU and love white wine spritzers and Woody Allen movies.

It also led to the perfectly logical conclusion that any white cop who used the « N-word » was almost certainly involved in a massive racial frame-up, regardless of what DNA and other scientific evidence indicated.

This could lead to a new body of law in which Irish-American cops are asked if they ever said « dago, » Italian-American cops if they ever said « polack, » Polish-American cops if they ever used the word « heeb, » Jewish cops if they ever used the word « schwarz, » and black cops if they ever used the word « honky. »

It could resolve the problem of overcrowded prisons by assuring just about every accused criminal an acquittal on the grounds that policemen use bad words.

My faith in the jury system has also been restored.

Until now, I didn’t believe that someone like O.J. Simpson, a black football hero and star of TV commercials and motion pictures, who could not afford to spend more than $8 million on lawyers, could possibly get a fair shake from a predominantly black jury when accused of killing his white ex-wife and a Jewish body-building young waiter.

But this jury proved that they could overlook the racially volatile fact that Simpson belongs to a mostly white golf club and reach a verdict based strictly on the evidence.

And the verdict helped wipe away the slander that America is a still a racially polarized country. No, the sight of all those middle-aged white people leaping about the streets, hugging, kissing, cheering and giving each other high fives, while blacks grimaced and shook their heads, has inspired hope for the future.

Finally, Simpson, now a free man, has vowed to devote his energies to tracking down the real murderer of his ex-wife.

That’s very good because some people had thought it strange that from the very beginning of this mystery, Simpson had seemed far more concerned with his own feelings than with the terrible fact that the woman he loved had been brutally murdered.

Now he says he will try to find the evil brute who killed the mother of his children. Maybe he can invite the Goldman and Brown families to join him in the hunt.

So those of us who believe in justice should wish him well in his search for the identity of the real killer.

But I wonder – can Simpson shave without looking in the mirror?

 

3 Responses to Policiers tués à Dallas: Attention, une violence peut en cacher une autre ! (The real danger behind the myths of the “Black Lives Matter” movement)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    STUDY CONFIRMS RACIAL BIAS IN POLICE SHOOTINGS (Against whites, that is)

    In shootings in these 10 cities involving officers, officers were more likely to fire their weapons without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black and white civilians involved in police shootings were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon. Both results undercut the idea of racial bias in police use of lethal force …

    http://nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html

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  2. jcdurbant dit :

    IT’S THE COP SHOWS, STUPID ! (Mean World Syndrome: Since the average American kid sees an estimated 8,000 murders on TV before they turn 12, they end up primed to think that violence is a regular part of life)

    “Why public views on crime have grown more dire is unclear, though many blame it on the nature of news coverage, reality TV, and political rhetoric.”

    Andrew Kohut (Pew)

    Now that crime rates are so low, people have “very little direct experience of crime,” so their perceptions are mainly shaped by news media and entertainment. “Both of these present profoundly inaccurate pictures of the amount of serious crime. The mainstream media continue to live by if it bleeds it leads. I’ve found that if the TV news doesn’t have a horrific local crime story they just pick one up from another city.” Entertainment is just as bad, he says, or worse: Crime dramas continue to captivate, and these often feature horrific criminals like serial killers and child abductors. “This creates a constant background noise, where various crimes are “everywhere and horrific and incomprehensible in nature.” More banal, poverty-driven crime is rarely featured on the news or in broadcast procedurals, he says, aside from ride-along reality-TV crime shows like COPS, which are shot from the “perspective of the always moral and moralizing police officer.” Indeed, separate research indicates that blacks are finally being less overrepresented as the perpetrators of crimes on broadcast news, while Latinos are being overrepresented as undocumented immigrants and Muslims are “greatly overrepresented as terrorists on network and cable news programs.”

    Alex Vitale (Brooklyn college)

    During Reagan’s presidency, which lasted from 1981 to 1989, America was way more dangerous than it is today. In that era, there was an average of 20,377 murders a year in the U.S. There were 14,249 in 2014, the latest year with official FBI data. Meanwhile, the U.S. population has grown from 229 million to 310 million, a 35 percent increase, driving down the per capita rates. There’s also never been a safer time to be a child in America, and while an average of 101 police officers were intentionally killed every year during Reagan’s presidency, the annual number is just 62 under Obama — the lowest recorded amount.

    This is crucial, since as cultural critic Walter Lippman argued in Public Opinion in 1922, people don’t rely on critical thinking or have ready access to facts to make sense of their world; they lean on the “pictures in their heads,” informed by the media they’re exposed to. The late George Gerbner, who spent a quarter-century studying American culture, called it Mean World Syndrome: Since the average American kid sees an estimated 8,000 murders on TV before they turn 12, they end up primed to think that violence is a regular part of life. It’s an example of what the superstar psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman called the availability heuristic, whereby people estimate how likely things are to happen based on how frequently they’re exposed to those things or their representations. Since you don’t know the actual statistic, you use a heuristic — a shortcut for thinking — of coming up with an example to guess at the prevalence. So if everything you watch or read is telling you that crime is lurking around you, you might assume that it is — even if the data indicates otherwise …

    http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/07/psychology-why-americans-afraid-low-crime-levels.html

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  3. jcdurbant dit :

    TELLING THE TRUTH EVEN WHEN IT HURTS YOUR OWN SIDE (A population that’s more likely to engage in violent crime is more likely to encounter the police in dangerous and fraught circumstances)

    « [Black men and women] are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police. But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias. »

    The New York Times

    Shootings of unarmed men dominate headlines, but they (thankfully) represent a small slice of the whole pie. The high was 9 percent in 2015. Since then the percentage has decreased to 5 percent in 2016, 7 percent in 2017, and 5 percent (so far) in 2018. In the vast majority of cases, police were confronting armed men, and while not every shooting of an armed man is justified (just as not every shooting of an unarmed man is unjustified), it is just not the case that the police have truly declared “open season” on anyone. Moreover, while it is very true that black men represent a disproportionate share of police-shooting victims relative to their share of the general population, it is much less clear that they represent a disproportionate share of victims relative to their share of the criminal population. A population that’s more likely to engage in violent crime is more likely to encounter the police in dangerous and fraught circumstances. (The vast majority of black men are law-abiding, but black men are still far more likely to commit crimes such as murder or armed robbery than whites.)

    When controlling for the facts and circumstances of individual encounters, the picture gets more complex. For example, in a widely reported 2016 study of 1,000 shootings in ten major police departments, Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer found that police were materially more likely to use nondeadly force against black men, but “in stark contrast to nonlethal uses of force, we find that, conditional on a police interaction, there are no racial differences in officer-involved shootings.”

    No one (including the author of the study) claims this is the definitive study of police violence, but note how it gives both sides of the debate food for thought. The “blue lives matter” defenders of police should engage in serious soul-searching about the evidence of bias in nonlethal force. Black Lives Matters activists engaging in “open season” rhetoric should perhaps rethink their most extreme claims.

    But I’m going to make a confession. Truth be told, the way I covered this issue in 2015 and much of 2016 shed more heat than light. Here’s what I did. I looked at the riots in Ferguson, Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Charlotte, the extremism of the formal Black Lives Matter organization (which referred to convicted cop-killers as “brothers” and “mama” and said its explicit goal was to “disrupt the western-prescribed nuclear family structure”), and the continued use of debunked claims, including “hands up, don’t shoot,” and I focused on these excesses largely to the exclusion of everything else.

    Yes, I used all the proper “to be sure” language — there are some racist cops, not every shooting is justified, etc. — but my work in its totality minimized the vital quest for individual justice, the evidence that does exist of systematic racial bias, and I failed to seriously consider the very real problems that contribute to the sheer number of police killings in the U.S.

    To put it bluntly, when I look back at my older writings, I see them as contributing more to a particular partisan narrative than to a tough, clear-eyed search for truth.

    So I’ve set out to rectify that imbalance. A person can walk and chew gum at the same time. One can rightly condemn riots and radicalism while also noting that each time a bad cop walks free it damages the fabric of trust between the government and its citizens. One can rightly say that it’s not “open season” on black men — or that any given inflammatory allegation has been thoroughly debunked — while also noting that the same DOJ that refuted “hands up, don’t shoot” also found evidence of systematic police misconduct in Ferguson.

    Most cops do what’s right. Many cops are extraordinarily brave. But I also think the best evidence indicates that race is more of a factor in modern policing than I wanted to believe. I also think a pro-police bias has infected our criminal-justice system — including the way juries decide cases — and that pro-police bias has helped bad cops walk free. Moreover, there are legal doctrines that need to be reformed or abolished (such as qualified immunity, but that explanation requires a whole separate piece). And there should be a culture change in the way officers are taught to perceive risk, a culture change that thoughtful veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars could help initiate.

    Riots are vicious and wrong. Cop-killers are depraved. We should defend, not disrupt, the nuclear family. We should tell the truth even when the truth hurts our own side. Racism still plagues our land, and race too often plays a pernicious role in American policing. It is not “open season” on black men, yet too many bad cops go free, and too many black men die at the hands of the state. Our laws and culture grant the men in blue too much latitude and too many privileges. All of these things can be true at the same time. All of them are true at the same time. It’s the immense and monumental American challenge that we must deal with them all at once.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/police-shootings-david-french-changed-writing/

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