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by Peter Moskos

April 4, 2016

"'Walter Scott effect': North Charleston traffic stops cut in half after shooting"

Worth reading for many reasons: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20160402/PC16/160409955


john mosby said...

One of the biggest lessons I've learned from the NYPD Rant site is that the commenters (many of whom are almost overtly racist) unanimously say that you shouldn't hassle working people, of any race, over petty traffic stuff. See, e.g., the postal saga. The same commenters who launch on anti-Fed screeds or call 'hood inhabitants a different species agreed that it was ridiculous to lock up a black postman.

But the NYPD was able to exercise discretion. So they could make a stop under broken-windows principles, then, once it was determined the driver is a working stiff just trying to get home, they could send him on his way without hitting his pocketbook.

Southern PD's, not so much. Once they make a stop, they pretty much have to treat everyone the same, lest they have disparate effect and either trigger or continue federal monitoring. They apparently have the option to give warning tickets, but even that is just documentation that you took a few minutes of freedom away from the guy.

So Broken Windows in North Charleston translates into banging working guys for petty traffic BS.

The financial motive a la Ferguson wasn't even a factor: the article mentions that traffic fines are a drop in the bucket of the city budget.

And if you're tired of seeing honest workers getting banged for petty traffic BS, the only solution, in the logic of the New South, is to stop pulling over everyone.

Unintended consequences of well-intentioned policies.....


Andrew Laurence said...

Or maybe, if you see someone violating the driving laws, you pull them over and issue them a citation regardless of their race or employment status. How's that for a radical new idea?

Anonymous said...

What cops DO matters less right now than what people think it looks like they do.

A cop could do exactly that- pull people over and hand out citations no matter what (there are some state troopers in southern states who might have this philosophy) but if they happen to issue citations disproportionately to a certain group due to a confounding variable people will assume they are just going after (X Race) people. And all the problems will flow from that. As long as that is the knee-jerk reaction (to declare racism based on end results rather than any particular evidence) it's probably safer to just avoid enforcement actions when possible.