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June 9, 2020

Policing Ends, Minorities Hardest Hit

Grandstanding Democrats introduce a plan to “fundamentally transform” the police.

Yesterday in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, a group of House and Senate Democrats took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds “in remembrance of George Floyd,” the troubled black man whose wrongful death at the knee of a Minneapolis cop sparked nationwide protests and riots. Then, with that bit of craven and kowtowing theater behind them, House Democrats dutifully unveiled their plan for overhauling our nation’s system of policing.

And to this we say: Beware of Democrats bearing gifts.

First, let’s remember that kneeling will never be enough for the mob. Beyond that, let’s remember that Nancy Pelosi and Company were for the police before they were against them. Just three weeks ago, in fact, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion big-city bailout package called the HEROES Act. As Gary Bauer points out, “It was intended to prevent police officers, fire fighters, and nurses from losing their jobs due to urban budget cuts.” But since then, Democrats have been beguiled by Black Lives Matter, whose nationwide call to “defund the police” is both dangerous and destructive. “Cops,” as Bauer points out, “went from being heroes to zeroes in three weeks.”

Neither presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden nor House Democrats have taken the bait and called for the fiscal elimination of our police forces, but even an incremental encroachment on policing budgets and policies will have harmful effects. And those effects will be felt most acutely in the inner-city communities whose citizens are most in need of police protection.

Take New York, for example. As truth-telling researcher Heather Mac Donald points out, “The people who live in high-crime neighborhoods understand more about policing than the anti-cop agitators. Since the early 1990s, when the homicide toll in New York City topped 2,000 per year, tens of thousands of lives have been saved, thanks to the NYPD’s highly responsive, data-driven policing. That policing model, known as Compstat, holds precinct commanders ruthlessly accountable for crime in their jurisdiction; it has driven homicide down 86 percent from 1990, to only 319 in 2019. Most of the lives saved by suppressing crime since then have been black and Hispanic.”

Or take Chicago, which just experienced its deadliest day in 60 years. Is it merely a coincidence that this bloodshed occurred at a time when police officers nationwide are so thoroughly under siege?

Or take this, from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial: “Crime in Minneapolis has been climbing since Mayor Frey entered office in 2018 and started pushing more relaxed law enforcement. As police have eased up, violent crime has increased nearly twice as much in the minority third precinct in Minneapolis as city-wide since 2018.”

To be clear, certain reforms might make sense, and the Trump administration is looking into them, having created the first Commission on Policing since the 1960s. As Attorney General Bill Barr noted Sunday, “I think the reform is a difficult task, but I think it is working and progress has been made.” Barr rejects the notion that policing is “systemically racist” but also acknowledges the “distrust” that many blacks have “given the history in this country.” He also pointed to the U.S. military as an institution worth emulating in terms of “bringing the races together and providing equal opportunity.”

In a separate interview yesterday, Barr noted, “It’s important to understand that there are approximately 900,000 police officers in the country, and that it would be a mistake to view all police forces as a monolith.” He also reflected on his two stints as attorney general, and the very real progress we’ve made in policing during that time.

Compare Barr’s perspective, which is balanced and thoughtful, with the current defunding approach being pushed by at least a dozen cities around the country. One is sensible. The other is lunacy.

And where would this progressive urge to defund and demonize stop? Would we merely deplete our nation’s protective ranks by discouraging talented and principled young people from pursuing careers in law enforcement? Or would it spiral out of control as it has in Mexico?

These are questions well worth pondering.

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