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by Peter Moskos

April 20, 2016

"Will the anti-cop Left please figure out what it wants?"

Heather MacDonald in City Journal:
Will the anti-cop Left please figure out what it wants? For more than a decade, activists have demanded the end of proactive policing, claiming that it was racist.
Equally vilified was Broken Windows policing, which responds to low-level offenses such as graffiti, disorderly conduct, and turnstile jumping. Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King launched a petition after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder “meet with local black and brown youth across the country who are dealing with ‘Zero Tolerance’ and ‘Broken Windows’ policing.”

Well, the police got the message. In response to the incessant accusations of racism and the heightened hostility in the streets that has followed the Michael Brown shooting, officers have pulled back from making investigatory stops and enforcing low-level offenses in many urban areas. As a result, violent crime in cities with large black populations has shot up -- homicides in the largest 50 cities rose nearly 17 percent in 2015. And the Left is once again denouncing the police -- this time for not doing enough policing.
King scoffs at the suggestion that a new 70-question street-stop form imposed on the CPD by the ACLU is partly responsible for the drop-off in engagement. If American police “refuse to do their jobs [i.e., make stops] when more paperwork is required,” he retorts, “it’s symptomatic of an entirely broken system in need of an overhaul.” This is the same King who as recently as October fumed that “nothing happening in this country appears to be slowing [the police] down.”
The activists’ standard charge against cops in the post-Ferguson era is that they are peevishly refusing to do their jobs in childish protest against mere “public scrutiny.” This anodyne formulation whitewashes what has been going on in the streets as a result of the sometimes-violent agitation against them.
That officers would reduce their engagement under such a tsunami of hatred is both understandable and inevitable. Policing is political. If the press, the political elites, and media-amplified advocates are relentlessly sending the message that proactive policing is bigoted, the cops will eventually do less of it. This is not unprofessional conduct; it is how policing legitimacy is calibrated. The only puzzle is why the activists are so surprised and angered that officers are backing off; such a retreat is precisely what they have been demanding.


aNanyMouse said...

Were there any doubt that violent agitation against cops is rising, the Chicago teachers rally on 1 April should settle such doubts. When parts of the crowd shouted stuff vs. cops, the union boss at the mike took appropriate issue with that stuff. But after her, a non-union teacher (Page May) was GIVEN the mike, and chanted “F*ck the police, f*ck CPD,….”

Alas, the union has mostly ducked the requisite distancing from Ms. May’s outburst, despite demands for such condemnation from FoP.
See http://www.slate.com/blogs/schooled/2016/04/07/chicago_teachers_union_is_going_through_an_awkward_radicalization.html .

Moskos said...

That's quite a video.

aNanyMouse said...

A theory about how to account for this increased cop-bashing just hit me. What if, esp. since the dot-com meltdown, 9/11, and the '08 crisis, those stuck in benniless McJobs resent all the post-9/11 glorification of public sector employees with their GOLD-plated pensions, etc.?
What if many of these poor schmucks WOULD eat up bashing of teachers, if our President were so inclined (as Cruz might) to tacitly encourage such a mood, just as they DO now eat up bashing of cops, as long as our President (and his allies) don't bust their asses trying to discourage such a mood (which was sparked by Ferguson etc.)?

In a dying economy, bashing scapegoats figures to be a growth industry, as Hitler found to his glee. After 9/11, the underemployed were subconsciously waiting for "cause" to tee off vs. cops, and are subconsciously waiting for "cause" to tee off vs. teachers. As pension-laden (private sector) jobs are replaced by McJobs, the mood for scapegoats grows apace.

The pals of a President Cruz will be delighted to make sure that the whole country sees this Page May vid. (Trump may be a bit less inclined to do this; the Dems will have none of it.)
Ferguson was the first spark, but 9/11, '08, etc. were the tinder for this "war on cops". Will an idiotic strike by the Chicago Teachers' Union be the spark for a "war on teachers"?

Moskos said...

Republicans hate unions. So they won't rest till all the unions are busted. It's not like Scott Walker and other Republicans (and even Democratic Cuomo here in NY) haven't already taken on public-sector teachers' unions.

But as long as unions are stupid about their politics and optics, they're going to lose more general (non-Republican) support as well.

It's just a shame that after people lost their union jobs, they blamed unions rather than those that busted our outsourced them.

aNanyMouse said...

I gather that you mean "...those that busted OR outsourced them."

Yeah, the corporate brass who fund the GOP really hate unions, tho the GOP rank-and-file just go along. But the cops unions will be the last ones crushed, because Republicans like cops, and because cops unions accept no-strike clauses.
As I understand it, the CTU strike will be mostly about pay raises, despite the years during which those with McJobs have gone with jack-sh*t for raises. With this ammo, the Media will make teachers into sitting ducks.

That Fuzzy Bastard said...

What an easy question to answer!
The so-called "anti-cop left" wants the police to enforce the laws fairly and equitably. They want police to stop lying in their reports. They want police to deescalate potentially violent situations. They want police to conduct stops on the basis of reasonable suspicion rather than race-related guessing.
And when police don't do those things, they want them punished the same way anyone would be for consequential on-the-job fuckups.
This is not a hard question, unless you think it's impossible for police to prevent crime without being given a license for arbitrary violence.

Unknown said...

@ That Fuzzy Bastard

You just presented the Left's equivalent argument to the Right's: If you do what the police say you won't get hurt. Over simplifying complex human interactions is not a grown-up position to hold.

LiL Pluto said...

The problem is that the Unions are being abusive. Have you ever spoken to a foreman that knows that a specific job takes 2 hours but the union book states that it takes 4 hours and so the employee takes twice as long so it not only slows progress it increases prices. Union served their purpose in our country. The employers were very abusivenin the past which is why unions came to be however with all of the workers rights laws it seems now that unions are now serving the purpose of greed. Look at the great amount of companies that unions have closed. Unions are outdated