About . . . . . . Classes . . . . . . Books . . . . . . Vita . . . . . . . Links. . . . . . Blog

by Peter Moskos

October 26, 2015

Three Cheers for FBI Director Comey

It's kind of funny to watch the Left completely freak out at the mere suggestion from Comey that viral videos might have an impact on police on crime. See this and this and this: And this:
Mr. Comey’s remarks caught officials by surprise at the Justice Department, where his views are not shared at the top levels. Holding the police accountable for civil rights violations has been a top priority at the department in recent years, and some senior officials do not believe that scrutiny of police officers has led to an increase in crime. While the department had no immediate comment on Friday, several officials privately fumed at Mr. Comey’s suggestion.
Here's a speech he gave on Oct 15. It's worth listening to (it's just 6 minutes).

This is a thoughtful and intelligent guy. And most of his comments are far too liberal for the police world. I mean, check out what he said yesterday: Cops can learn from #blacklivesmatter. Shocking, I tell you. Shocking.

More people are being killed. And Comey is thinking. And he's saying we need more and better data. And yeah, maybe viral videos and political fall-out have an effect on policing. Uh, of course they have an effect on policing. So let's talk.

You can read the text of his more recent speech here.

As no great person ever said, "The clairvoyance of injustice is dogmatic in its complexity." (Thanks to @AyeRishPirate)


IrishPirate said...

That academic phrase generator is amusing. So is the political one.

If you're involved in some online discussion I suggest clicking it a few dozen times until some near appropriate gem pops up and then change it as appropriate.

For example:

People who speak of the need for additional parking want an America where oil cartels and Hollywood liberals can corrupt our beloved family pets.

john mosby said...

Prof, what do you think of the South Carolina classroom extraction viral video?


Peter Moskos said...

Haven't watched it. I don't really want to watch it. I can't imagine an educational potential in watching it. But I guest I *should* watch it.

IrishPirate said...


sadly you need to watch the video.

I think you would refer to it as an "officer involved domestic".

The psychology of nobility is quite independent in its nihilism.

Peter Moskos said...

It's on my list of things to do.

Tonight I'll be on Chris Hayes, for those who are interested. Talking about Comey and related issues.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

It's certainly possible that more scrutiny of police is leading to police malingering, and police malingering leads to an increase in crime. It's also possible that greater scrutiny has less effect on police than expected, or that crime is increasing for other reasons, or that police malingering has little effect on crime overall. Some evidence is needed before one can say that anything is even probable. Police love to believe that they are all that stands between civilization and anarchy, but there's quite a bit of evidence suggesting that's not the case.

As a policy issue, of course, it's sort of irrelevant---assault committed by an officer is much worse for society than assault committed by a civilian, so it is worth some increase in the latter to reduce the former ("some" of course, being a significant word). The Soviet Union nearly eliminated street crime through a completely unrestrained police force and draconian sentencing, but no one sees it as a model. But without better evidence than this, it's just self-justifying puffery.

IrishPirate said...

You need to watch it before your appearance on the Chris Hayes show. I'm sure you'll get a question or 3 about it.

I really love police being filmed. I don't like the activity on that video, but I appreciate that the cop involved is going to have "former" before "cop" in his unofficial title very soon.

I prefer the vids showing cops acting appropriately. I've seen some where without the video cop would have been pilloried.

Concerned citizen said...

If my son or daughter came home from high school and said that a policeman had violently removed them from their chair after repeated requests to stand up, I would be angry...at my son or daughter.

IrishPirate said...

One of the top ten rules of policing as put forth by Daley the Elder:

The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder.

Richard J. Daley

Cops deal constantly with drunks, mentally ill, anger addicts, and those with an abiding sense of their own importance. Sometimes the people they deal with are their coworkers. Sometimes they're teens with underdeveloped teen brains.

The teen should have obeyed the teacher and then the steroidcop and gotten up. She didn't. He's gonna lose his job and he should.

He didn't preserve the disorder. He enhanced the disorder.

IrishPirate said...

I forgot the audio.


That Fuzzy Bastard said...

Now that I've actually watched the teen video, I'm not quite as reflexively pissed at the cop as I expected to be. He seems to have handled the situation incredibly poorly, but she really was resisting, and he didn't use lethal force. Though it's dark times when I look at a video of a cop beating up a teenager committing no crime and say "Well at least he didn't kill her".

Adam said...

Interesting discussion on Chris Hayes's show. I thought it was kind of lame that he led into the discussion with "some ex-cop says ____", but a criminologist says "not so fast." Errrr, aren't you both criminologists?

And why, as Rosenfeld argued, does the "Ferguson effect" have to be a consistent nationwide trend for it to be real and something that we should talk about? Where it does exist, it is a big problem.

The drop in proactive policing in Baltimore after the Gray incident was astonishing. There were under 200 murders in Baltimore in 2011, 211 last year, and there will be over 300 this year. This is a real problem. And Comey is getting attacked for just saying it's a problem and that we should talk about; he's not even defending the decrease in proactive policing. The left is, as you said, cannibalizing its own here.