When Freddie Gray died while in police custody so soon after the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, MO, you knew it was going to be bad in Baltimore. Sure enough, they had their protests which bore a striking resemblance to riots, and groups like Black Lives Matter pushed for police to disappear.
Well, they kind of did in Baltimore. The results?
Baltimore had 343 homicides in 2017, a number which set a new record for the most murders per capita in the city’s history. Today NPR published an interesting interview with a Baltimore pastor named Rev. Kinji Scott who says the problem is that police in the city have pulled back in the wake of the Freddie Gray case. Interviewer Lauren Prayer asks Rev. Scott, “After the death of Freddie Gray, yourself, families of victims, didn’t you want police to back off?” Scott replied:
No. That represented our progressives, our activists, our liberal journalists, our politicians, but it did not represent the overall community. Because we know for a fact that around the time Freddie Gray was killed, we start to see homicides increase. We had five homicides in that neighborhood while we were protesting.
What I wanted to see happen was that people would be able to trust the relationship with our police department so that they would feel more comfortable. We’d have conversations with the police about crime in their neighborhood because they would feel safer. So we wanted the police there. We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.
It’s interesting that Scott blames progressives and liberal journalists for demanding police back off but says that’s not what most people in the community really wanted. You sometimes hear that argument from conservatives but it never seems to carry much weight when they say it. Now that Scott is saying it will anyone listen?
My guess is that they won’t. After all, in their minds, racist police departments are automatically the problem. If a black man is killed by police, it’s racism. It doesn’t matter what the ethnicity of the police officers involved is, much less what was actually in their hearts when it happened. Anything from accident to evil can result in tragic circumstances, but the activists go right to racism from the getgo.
As a result, it makes it harder to find the legitimate cases of bad cops. After all, police are like anyone else as a group. There are great ones and bad ones, but the bad ones get hidden in and amongst the sea of bovine excrement that gets thrown out every time something happens. After a time, the majority of officers take a step back and figure it’s just not worth it.
As Hot Air’s John Sexton notes:
But anyone wondering why police have pulled back in places like St. Louis and Baltimore need only look at what happened in Ferguson. Why would police risk their lives and their careers for neighborhoods willing to believe the absolute worst about them the moment something goes wrong? And that risk is real. Just last month, Baltimore Detective Sean Suiter was murdered while trying to get leads on a triple homicide.
There’s no advantage for these officers, and so what happens? Some will step in to fill that void, and let’s be honest here. The people who will see a situation like this as an opportunity aren’t the kind of people anyone really wants filling that void. They’re generally people who want to profit from it and will use terror to keep control.
Congratulations, Black Lives Matter and company, you’re empowering warlords in our inner city. Good job.