De-Policing: What is That?
The other day I spoke about how the number of homicides in Baltimore this year is soaring, in fact it has reaching 100 before the end of April for the first time in nearly two decades.
I also informed you that the mayor of Baltimore is asking the FBI for more help. At her weekly news briefing the Mayor Catherine Pugh stated "Murder is out of control. There are too many guns on the streets. We're looking for all the help we can get."
That brings us to the question why are murder rates soaring in Baltimore and other cities around the country. It appears to come down to what many are calling the “Ferguson effect”.
The “Ferguson effect” comes from the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Michael Brown attacked a police office after the officer stopped him to question him why he was walking down the middle of the road. Mr. Brown attacked the officer and the officer shoot and killed him.
Many are attempting to state that the “Ferguson effect” was a myth. Well new evidence has surfaced via the FBI and that evidence seems to prove that there actually is a “Ferguson effect”.
In fact, the report stated that the movement created by the Ferguson shooting “made it socially acceptable to challenge and discredit the actions of law enforcement.”
- 28% of the police killings were motivated by hatred of police and a desire to “kill law enforcement,” in some cases those feelings were fueled by social and political movements.
- Some obviously wanted to avoid custody
- Almost half of the assailants who killed officers in 2016, 48% were white
- 36% were black,
- 14% were Hispanic
- 2% were Native Alaskan
- 8% had criminal histories
- 60% had used drugs
- 32% were under the influence at the time of the attack
- 26% were under active warrants
- 24% had known gang affiliations
- All of the shooters of the cases they studied were men
We go back to the question of why is there a large increase of police shootings at this time. Well the FBI report did study that question and they found:
Departments — and individual officers — have increasingly made the decision to stop engaging in proactive policing. Nearly every police official interviewed agreed that for the first time, law enforcement not only felt that their national political leaders [publicly] stood against them, but also that the politicians’ words and actions signified that disrespect to law enforcement was acceptable in the aftermath of the Brown shooting
The report also found that the assailants animus toward police was based on their own experiences as well as “what they heard and read in the media about other incidents involving law enforcement shootings.”
Sounds like the “Ferguson effect” to me.
Do you remember the ambush attack against the Dallas police in which 5 Dallas police officers were murdered? According to the FBI report those charged in the July 2016 shootings of police in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, stated that:
They were influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement, and their belief that law enforcement was targeting black males
The FBI report also found another very interesting connection and that was a trend toward our drug decriminalization and reduced sentencing movement that they believe has emboldened perpetrators. The report stated that this decriminalizing of our drug laws made these criminals feel that:
Consequences no longer exist for criminal acts, especially drug offenses. Across the country, law enforcement link the decriminalization of drugs to the increase in violent attacks on law enforcement.
What has this brought upon the American people, especially those who need the police the most, our big cities: “De-Policing”. Again many police officers feel that they no longer have the backing of their political leaders and the communities they work in. Thus they do not want to put themselves in a situation where they, their families and departments will come under attack if they really do not need to.
As evidence of this “Ferguson Effect” the FBI report cited an example in which a police officer was slammed to the ground and beaten but refused to shoot the assailant because:
for fear of community backlash
In fact the FBI report stated:
The officer informed the superintendent that the officer chose not to shoot because the officer didn’t want his/her ‘family or department to have to go through the scrutiny the next day on the national news.
The obvious question is what are we as a community going to do about this?
The obvious answer is our political leaders, the communities in which they police and all of us must support our local, state and federal police and their departments. There is really no other answer.
Sure we must still be very vigilant how our police interact with the community and investigate very thoroughly when a police officer shoots a suspect.
But we cannot throw the baby out with the bath water.