Thursday, December 11, 2014

There Is Zero Evidence of Police Racism in the Michael Brown (Ferguson, Mo.) and Eric Garner (NYC) Cases

We the People are just that --- a society of like minded Americans who share a common set of values and individual rights. And one of those fundamental rights is that we are each free to pursue our own path to happiness and way of life.

But as members of a free society, we're only free to do what we choose to do to the extent that we don't interfere with the individual rights of others. At the point of undue interference, our U.S. systems of justice take over, and that includes our fellow citizens who are involved in policing, grand juries and the courts.

As individual and flawed human beings, some of us are racist, of course, but the vast majority of us aren't. A person's skin pigmentation is just that --- skin color. It in no way represents or signals the individual's personal values, principles, work ethic, educational level or usual pattern of behavior.

The Police Aren't the Problem editorial articulates some common sense grounded observations about the absence of police racism in the Brown and Garner situations. Facts are stubborn things::

"The high-profile deaths this year of two black men—Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner of New York City—at the hands of white police officers has already led to nationwide street protests, some of which turned violent. . . .

Brown was just 18 years old, and Garner left behind a wife and six children. These deaths are human tragedies, but that doesn’t make these men emblems of systemic police overreach or abuse, as protesters and a sympathetic media are alleging. In both cases, grand juries declined to bring charges against the officers after considering all of the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony. And the empirical data show that young black men in America are much more likely to be shot by one another than by a cop.

There were about 6,300 black homicides in the U.S. last year, according to the FBI, and 85% involved black civilian perpetrators. Police officers, by contrast, were responsible for 3% of deaths, which in most cases resulted from the victim assaulting the officer (Brown) or resisting arrest (Garner). Nor do the data suggest that trigger-happy officers are gunning down black men for minor offenses. “There were 228,000 misdemeanor arrests in New York City in 2013,” reports Bob McManus of the New York Post, “and every one of them had at least the potential to turn into an Eric Garner-like case. None did. So much for the out-of-control cop trope.”

Mr. Obama concedes that “there have been commissions before, there have been task forces, there have been conversations, and nothing happens.” The president is right, and his lament suggests that this new task force has more to do with placating the liberal mob than with addressing the true cause of police tension with these communities, which is the high black crime rate. Blacks are arrested for violent offenses and property offenses at two to three times their numbers in the population. So long as that continues, relations with law enforcement will be tense. As New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has noted, his officers are in these communities because that’s where the 911 calls originate.

Pretending that the police are attracting violent behavior to these communities, instead of the other way around, might score the president some political points on the left, but it has no basis in reality. Nor does it help the law-abiding residents and businessowners in low-income neighborhoods who depend on aggressive policing to keep them safe. Michael Brown robbed a store in his own community. And local residents and shop owners repeatedly called the police on Eric Garner, who had a rap sheet that dated to the 1980s and included more than 30 arrests.

Instead of feeding the left’s anti-cop narrative with yet another task force that ignores the underlying problem, Mr. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder would do better to lead a national conversation about why so many young black men in the U.S. become involved with the criminal justice system to begin with. Mr. Holder famously called us a nation of cowards for failing to have an honest discussion about race. Here’s his chance to start one."

Summing Up

People are just that --- people.

And as individual human beings of various races, religions, societies and geographies, we should treat each other as equals.

We all deserve that and nothing more than that.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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