It was predictable. With calls for changes in policing and demands for cop accountability, you could foresee the response of out-of-control police departments and their apologists saying nothing can be done to rein in cops because of rising crime problems.
But what does rising crime during a pandemic have to do with Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minnesota, the vicious beating of Ronald Greene by Louisiana state troopers who lied and said he died in a car accident, or officers choking Eric Garner to death in New York?
Many are harping on likely New York mayor Eric Adams’ recent post-election remarks about the need for mayors and the Democratic Party to solve the problem of crime or face the wrath of voters in the midterm congressional elections in 2022 and 2024 presidential elections.
“Democrats would be wise to listen. Abandoning their idiotic ‘Defund the Police’ cries and relentless attempts to paint police as evil and, instead, bolstering cops and getting tough with violent criminals won’t just save lives; it can help them with voters, who polls show place public safety at the top of their concerns,” brayed the New Post in a June 28 editorial.
“What I’m going to promise my officers is I’m going to allow you to do your job, and I will protect you when you do your job, but if you are abusive in my city, you are going to be out of the department within 90 days,” Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn Borough president, said on MSNBC in March, according to the Post. “We are going to lift up the standard and expectation of our officers, and we are going to make sure they have the tools to keep our city safe.”
Institutions like the Post, most White voters and police unions, however, never wanted real police accountability. So the problem isn’t slogans, the problem is billion-dollar police budgets that don’t solve the crime problem. And who especially don’t solve serious crimes in Black neighborhoods, like in Chicago where the police rate for solving Black murders was just 22 percent, according to a 2019 report by public radio station WBEZ-FM.
Last December, the Chicago Tribune cited a drop in police murder clearance rates from “50.3% solved in 2019 to 44.5% this year.” But there are questions about how the Chicago Police Dept. even counts cases. “Not all cases are cleared with an arrest and charges, however. Of the 329 cases (solved), 134 were cleared by a category the department calls ‘exceptional,’ which means police have identified a suspect, but either the suspect is dead or prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to approve charges,” the Tribune reported.
And as a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University told the Tribune, “it is ‘without question’ that the stronger the relationship between police and the community, the higher a department’s clearance rate will be. With more trust and communication, he said, residents feel more comfortable working with police.”
So Black folk stuck between neighborhood criminals and criminals in blue uniforms don’t want and can’t accept a trade-off over who they are to be victimized by. The underlying problem is the insistence that police must be allowed to do whatever they feel or they can’t protect and serve.
That’s a lie. Whites are not targeted, abused, and killed like Black people are by police officers. It’s only in our communities that it’s either accept abuse or accept no protection. That’s a gangster mentality that holds us hostage and reflects cities held hostage by police sickouts and police unit resignations, while keeping their jobs, when the so-called Bad Apples are called to account.
Something must change. The country is in a crisis and more and more Black people are fed up with gangs in blue ruining their lives and taking their lives. Anarchy is on the way if true reform doesn’t come, not to mention an armed and angry White populace that is willing and able to confront law enforcement. We saw those “good Americans” on full display on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and that sentiment remains among millions of people in this country.
So the crime problem remains a problem of people living through a lockdown that is unprecedented in their lifetimes, loss of jobs, school dysfunction, abuses and conflicts in the home, a general breakdown in respect for order in society and an uncontrollable urge for violence that erupts without real provocation. Road rage, mask rage, and race rage are all hallmarks of a great nation that is quickly unraveling.
Allowing police to run roughshod over the rights of Black folk isn’t going to resolve any of these problems and the gun industry continues to hold federal lawmakers in its grip due to heavy lobbying, while gunmakers know great numbers of their weapons will be sold illegally.
And, more guns are being legally purchased: “Americans have bought nearly 17m guns so far in 2020, more than in any other single year, according to estimates from a firearms analytics company. Gun sales across the United States first jumped in the spring, driven by fears about the coronavirus pandemic, and spiked even higher in the summer, during massive racial justice protests across the country, prompted by police killings of black Americans,” reported the Daily Telegraph, a newspaper based in the U.K. Abusive police officers don’t make the country safer. America knows that. But her desire is to keep the children of her once slaves under control and she will use any excuse to do so.