Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fueling cop-hate: How politicians fan the flames

March 13, 2015
Fueling cop-hate: How politicians fan the flames
Investigators survey the scene outside the Ferguson police station where two police officers were shot.Photo: EPA
Government-fueled cop hatred has claimed more victims. Two St. Louis-area police officers were shot Wednesday night during a protest outside the Ferguson, Mo., police department, one in the face, the other in the shoulder.
Both are expected to survive, unlike the two New York City police officers assassinated in December.
Such violence is the sadly predictable outcome of the lies about the police that government officials and the media have stoked for the last year.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has done all he can to keep tensions at a boiling point in Ferguson.
This, though his own Justice Department demolished the hoax that a pacific Michael Brown was killed in cold blood by Police Officer Darren Wilson in August.
The Justice report on the Brown shooting, released last week, demolished every myth around the shooting.
It confirmed virtually everything Office Wilson had testified to, including that Brown had attacked Wilson, tried to grab his gun, then charged at Wilson after the officer exited his car.
The iconic “Hands up, don’t shoot” slogan? Most certainly a fiction.
The report explained why Brown lay for four hours in the street before being taken away: “Kill the cops”-screaming protesters kept barging in on the crime-scene investigation, while gunfire rang around the perimeter. The detectives had to constantly put their work on hold while waiting for more backup.
The Brown report should have forced a massive reconsideration of the virulent anti-law-enforcement campaign that sprang up in the wake of the shooting.
Instead, Holder paved the way for the report’s marginalization by calling, a few days before its release, for a lower standard of proof for civil-rights cases.
Implication: Only an artificially high standard of proof prevented Justice from prosecuting Wilson.
This implication was utterly false. Wilson couldn’t be convicted under any standard of proof, since there is no credible evidence against him.
Yet the media ran with this “burden of proof” angle and buried the report almost as soon as it was released.
Meanwhile, in a stunning bait-and-switch, Holder presented a new report to justify last year’s riots and the ongoing anti-police campaign.
That report claimed that the Ferguson Police Department engages in a “pattern or practice” of violating blacks’ civil rights.
Where the Brown report was measured and thorough, this second report was disingenuous and agenda-driven.
Its most disturbing allegations consisted of anecdotes of apparently unconstitutional stops and arrests by officers acting boorishly toward suspects.
If those anecdotes are true and represent standard procedure in the Ferguson PD, then Ferguson’s force is abysmally trained, with little understanding of the Constitution and a great need for a refresher in courtesy and respect.
But after the evisceration of the Brown hoax, it‘s folly to take stories against the police at face value. Yet there’s no indication that the Justice lawyers double-checked any victim accounts.
Moreover, though the report calls such apparently bad stops “frequent,” it makes no attempt to quantify them in relation to the overall number of stops and arrests, and so establish a “pattern or practice” of civil-rights violations.
The rest of the report goes downhill from there. Its alleged statistical proof of race-based stops and arrests wouldn’t earn its authors a D in Statistics 101, since it lacks a valid benchmark for its stop and arrest data.
That benchmark would include, at a bare minimum, crime rates. But the report assumes, contrary to incontrovertible fact, that black and white crime rates are identical, and that therefore any racial disparity in police stops and arrests must be the result of racism.
As for the claim that the Ferguson PD uses traffic enforcement to generate city revenue, that doesn’t distinguish Ferguson from the vast majority of US towns and cities.
More important, Justice provides no argument that such a motive results from racism, rather than cupidity.
Justice’s only alleged evidence for systemic racism is a half-dozen racist jokes e-mailed by a court clerk and two police supervisers.
While deplorable, such e-mails don’t come close to proving that racial animus drives Ferguson’s traffic-fee system.
President Obama echoed the Holder spin two days after the reports’ release. “We may never know exactly what happened” to Michael Brown, he told students at South Carolina’s Benedict College.
Actually, we do know what happened. Numerous credible witnesses and the forensic evidence confirmed Wilson’s account.
But Obama presented the case as a subtle standard-of-proof problem: “The finding that was made was that it was not unreasonable to determine that there was not sufficient evidence to charge Officer Wilson.”
He then blasted the Ferguson PD: The overwhelmingly white force was “systematically” biased, he said, placing minorities under its care into an “oppressive and abusive situation.”
Such rhetoric guaranteed that the purges of Ferguson officials in the wake of the second Justice report would fail to satisfy the protesters.
Wednesday, before the shootings, Ferguson’s police chief announced his resignation, following in the steps of the city manager and municipal judge. The protesters wanted more, though what exactly is uncertain.
At least one in their midst, however, wanted what protesters in New York had chanted before the assassination of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu: “What do we want? Dead cops.”
By now, the media and politicians are on ample notice that their crusade against law enforcement carries deadly risks. There’s no more excuse for inflaming hatred against the police, especially when the allegations used to inflame that hatred are proven untruths.
Officers put their lives on the line every day to protect law-abiding members of poor communities. Increasingly, those officers are at risk not just from thugs but from the rhetoric emanating from the highest reaches of government.
Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal and the author of “Are Cops Racist?”

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