April 26, 2021

Fallout From the War on Cops

The Left’s efforts to demonize cops and the vital work they do will soon affect us all.

At the end of a high-profile trial, everyone’s an armchair quarterback. And it’s in that spirit that we’d like to know why former officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted on all counts, didn’t take the stand in his defense.

What on earth did he have to lose? Surely the prosecution couldn’t have done any more damage to Chauvin than the now-infamous video of him with his knee on a handcuffed George Floyd’s neck long after Floyd had passed out.

At least one inquiring mind wants to know: What was this veteran cop thinking as he looked directly at young Darnella Frazier, who was filming the whole thing? It seems reasonable that he must’ve thought his actions weren’t improper. Again, what was he thinking?

None of this matters, of course. Chauvin’s conviction was a fait accompli if ever there was one. The all-powerful state saw to it. But what does matter is where we’re headed as a nation, who’s leading the way, and how this disastrous War on Cops will eventually affect us all.

As to where we’re headed, what does it say about our criminal justice system that The Mob can wield such influence? What does it say when businesses in cities across the country start boarding up their windows in anticipation of a verdict that’s unsatisfactory to The Mob? What does it say when a U.S. congresswoman incites The Mob to “get more confrontational” if the jury doesn’t come back with a guilty verdict? And what does it say when a sitting U.S. president weighs in with The Mob by calling the victim’s family during the trial?

All of these things are shameful.

It’s no surprise to hear one alternate juror explain her own fears: “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.”

And, as Joy Pullmann at The Federalist points out, “The entire bloody year of 2020, in which unprecedented and murderous riots swept the nation, was premised on the incident that led to this trial. At least 30 people died amid waves of riots that widely used Floyd’s death as the pretext. The Floyd riots have caused the most high-dollar damage in U.S. history, an estimated $2 billion. The rioters’ violence against police, and elected officials’ willful endorsement of the rioters and failure to back law and order in response, helped cause a historic surge in homicides. As measured across 34 sampled cities, homicides surged 30 percent in 2020, causing an additional 1,200 dead. That’s just in 34 cities.”

The cities. That’s where this anti-cop virus has already begun to affect law and order, especially in the high-crime neighborhoods that most need policing. Our war on cops is, naturally, a disincentive for them to act, and a disincentive for them to become the next poster boy for police brutality or racist policing. In fact, it’s a disincentive for cops to remain on as cops at all. So beleaguered cops leave the cities, and the cities go to hell. And their residents flee to the suburbs. But they bring their leftist politics with them, and the anti-cop squeeze continues.

Heather Mac Donald, our nation’s foremost chronicler of crime and policing, notes that the latest insanity from the anti-cop Left is to get police out of the business of traffic stops and retail theft responses. “Instead,” she writes, “the thinking goes, unarmed civilian traffic agents and speeding cameras should enforce the rules of the road. Berkeley, Calif., has already banned officers from making stops for many traffic offenses, and jurisdictions like Lansing, Mich., and the District of Columbia are following suit.”

Mac Donald then goes on to show what a bad idea this is by citing the crime statistics of city after city: Oakland, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, and on. “This process of decriminalization has been going on for several years and is rapidly accelerating,” she continues. “Left-wing district attorneys decline to prosecute arrests that are said to have a disparate impact on blacks for crimes including subway fare evasion, trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, public intoxication and even some gun-possession offenses.”

So, a police pull-back in the cities. What could go wrong? Sandra Wortham, the sister of a slain Chicago police officer, sees the writing on the wall. “I cringe when I hear people say black communities are over-policed,” she says. “My neighborhood is not over-policed. My lived experience has shown me that policing that tackles the small things prevents the big things.”

She’s right, of course. The questions are: How far left will the anti-cop pendulum swing? How badly will this movement disincentivize good people from going into law enforcement as a career? And how much long-term damage will this do to our cities and communities?

These are questions whose answers will affect us all. Because in the war on cops, all of us are casualties.

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