Sunday Commentary II: Moving Past Blaming the Protesters

photo tweeted by @Lnonblonde
photo tweeted by @Lnonblonde

Protesters on Saturday gathered at the New York Police Department’s 75th Precinct office in protest of the November shooting death of Akai Gurley, another unarmed black man who was shot and killed by a rookie officer in a dark public housing stairwell. The protesters turned their backs on police officers who stood behind a metal barricade, emulating the police officers’ actions of turning their backs on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos.

New York Times columnist Anna North earlier this week highlighted those who have linked the shootings of two NYPD officers last weekend to protests against police violence.

For instance, she noted that, while former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani said that “it goes too far to blame the mayor for the murder,” he also said “the mayor did not properly police the protests.” He added: “The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence — a lot of them lead to violence — all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist.”

Even New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “It is quite apparent, quite obvious, that the targeting of these two police officers was a direct spinoff of this issue of these demonstrations.”

On the other hand, Jamelle Bouie at Slate said, “Despite what these police organizations and their allies allege, there isn’t an anti-police movement in this country, or at least, none of any significance. The people demonstrating for Eric Garner and Michael Brown aren’t against police, they are for better policing. They want departments to treat their communities with respect, and they want accountability for officers who kill their neighbors without justification.”

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a research analyst for the Sentencing Project and the author of a report on Americans’ ideas about race and crime, told the New York Times, even if Ismaaiyl Brinsley was motivated by political conviction and not by mental illness, “he acted on his own. The hundreds of thousands of people that have been out on the streets have been very explicit that they are nonviolent people, that they are trying to achieve reforms through nonviolent means. So there could be an underlying shared concern, but people are following very different paths.”

And, she argues, “Failing to listen to protesters may make it harder, not easier, for police to do their jobs.” She continued, “We know from accounts from police officers themselves and from prosecutors,”  that “they are not able to do the work that they need to do effectively when they don’t have trust and cooperation from the communities that they’re serving.”

As we have noted previously, “Lack of trust in police may make it harder to convict criminals,” she said, “because police are not seen as credible witnesses. And when police have a bad relationship with the communities in which they work.” she continued, “the happiness and the satisfaction that they have in their own work and the comfort that they have in doing it” can suffer — and she cited claims that the police department’s stop-and-frisk tactics actually harmed officer morale.

An unwillingness to hear criticism from the community, she said, “doesn’t serve public interest, and it doesn’t serve the interests of the front-line officers and correctional workers that are having to do this work, that are finding it harder to do the work that they need to get done.”

A point that stood out to me was an excerpt from the book, Policing Citizenship: America’s Antidemocratic Institutions and the New Civic Underclass, by Vesla Weaver, with Amy Lerman.

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The author notes, “The heavy police presence in those neighborhoods causes residents to see the police as the embodiment of the government and creates a fear of and hostility toward the whole idea of government in ways that undermines any aspiration they might otherwise feel to participate as citizens. It creates a common desire among young black men in such neighborhoods to keep their heads down, not be noticed and stay off the grid in the belief that getting noticed leads to getting at least hassled if not arrested.”

A poster has commented, “Weaver’s interviews with residents of some of those neighborhoods suggest the policy is backfiring, that residents – especially in neighborhoods where police engage in a high-level of stops and searches of young men and especially in neighborhoods where a high portion of those searches do not find any contraband and do not result in arrests – create a mistrust of the police and an unwillingness to engage with the government.”

“The stability of democracy depends on the losers, or least powerful, to still believe they can enter the contest, to still abide by the same system rather than seek to subvert it,” Ms. Weaver said. But the poster says, “Her interviews convinced her that the opposite is occurring.”

This is a point we have been making – the police are seen to many residents as the enforcement arm of the government, which is why police shootings are seen differently from standard murder.

Now our poster sees that high crime “neighborhoods are also neighborhoods with a higher concentration of under-class. People with greater personal problems: substance abuse, mental and emotional health challenges, low education levels, general ignorance, low morality, etc.”

I think that it becomes dangerous to speculate that far. Moreover, the solution seems unnecessarily binary: “We can either send in the police to keep the order, or get them out of there.   I vote to get them out of there.  I value the lives of the cops and it is clear from the ramped up anger over their attempts to provide order, they are not welcome and their lives are in greater danger.”

While I think the poster actually does a good job of getting to the heart of the matter with respect to the distrust that a heavy police presence brings, the solution they offer is unnecessarily simplistic.

The answer isn’t to pull out, ignore the problems, allow the communities to fix it themselves. Instead, the answer is to acknowledge that the current way of doing things is not working and find an alternative.

There are plenty of community engagement and community policing models to draw from here that will enable the communities themselves to be empowered and to become partners in their efforts to help their own streets and neighborhoods.

We have the opportunity now to find a new and better model of policing that helps the residents take back their own neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, the shooting by Mr. Brinsley only secures my belief that nothing good comes from violence. We have an opportunity for change that is about to be passed up because it is easy to score political points and take pot shots at each other.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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57 Comments

  1. gunrock

    The protesters should be made entirely responsible for their actions both criminally and personally. When protesters block a street without a permit, they should be held responsible for any time lost by commuters, and business lost and add penalties on top of it. What makes it worse is that this noisy froth of the indignant base their protests on wildly misleading articles and baseless observations. The reference cited in this article is a good example of this kind of misleading social commentary. One paragraph alone is a veritable clusterbomb of misleading statements:

    the heavy police presence in those neighborhoods causes residents to see the police as the embodiment of the government and creates a fear of and hostility toward the whole idea of government in ways that undermines any aspiration they might otherwise feel to participate as citizens. It creates a common desire among young black men in such neighborhoods to keep their heads down, not be noticed and stay off the grid in the belief that getting noticed leads to getting at least hassled if not arrested.”

    1. “the heavy police presence in those neighborhoods…”  the overwhelming demand from heavily black neighborhoods is for more police presence to combat high crime rates.

    2.  “causes residents to see the police as the embodiment of the government and creates a fear of and hostility toward the whole idea of government”  also leaving them free to be victimized by the entirely black criminal element living in those neighborhoods.  Not much press about the black on black crime here…

    3.  “that undermines any aspiration they might otherwise feel to participate as citizens” That seems completely baseless, so many community activists are actually motivated by their desire to change their circumstances because of some perceived injustice, I suspect that the author is trying to justify a general indifference to politics here.

    4.  “It creates a common desire among young black men in such neighborhoods to keep their heads down, not be noticed and stay off the grid” It is widely accepted that the primary reason for young black men to “keep their head down” is to avoid condemnation and contempt of their peers for trying to better themselves. 

    5.  “in the belief that getting noticed leads to getting at least hassled if not arrested” complete nonsense unless the author is talking about someone being a conspcuous “thug” or drug dealer in which case- good!  

    The police are the black communities best friend- whether they like it or not. They are all that stands between young black men and their worst enemy- other young black men.  Most urban police departments are trying to increase the number of black police officers for community policing, but the stereotyping by the black community that being a cop makes you a “snitch” and thus not worthy of rap gangsta status makes this slow progress. Of course there needs to be improvements to the process, but recognizing that the real crime is black on black violence would make the process go more smoothly.

     

  2. South of Davis

    David Quoted a woman that said:

    >The people demonstrating for Eric Garner and Michael Brown

    > aren’t against police, they are for better policing. 

    I’m not a cop but I was in NY and I heard “hundreds of protesters in Manhattan repeatedly shouted “What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want it? Now!” I might just think that the people were against the police.

    P.S. The “protesters” (many who are working extra hard to get their point across by looting) in Berkeley and Oakland are also big fans of the “dead cops” chant…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj4ARsxrZh8

    1. zaqzaq

      I think a more interesting question is would the black on black violence go down in Chicago if that police department used the stop and frisk tactics utilized by the NYPD over the last two decades?  Chicago is ripe for the”better policing”  called for int his article to see what works.  Is better policing stop and frisk or something else?  Which is more effective at reducing violent crime?  Will violent crime increase with the modifications (reduced stop and frisk) in New York?

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      When protesters throw pipes, rocks, and bricks at the police, I blame them. Notice here how the media tries to protect the protesters by calling it a “splinter group”.

      “She said several businesses were looted and damaged when a splinter group broke off from the peaceful demonstration Saturday night, and officers attempting to get the crowd to disperse used smoke and tear gas. Protesters threw rocks, bricks, bottles, pipes and other objects at officers, and some squad cars were damaged.”

      http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/12/07/protest-over-eric-garner-chokehold-death-turns-violent-in-california/

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        Notice here how the media tries to protect the protesters by calling it a “splinter group”.”

        So if I am at a protest and behaving in a completely peaceful manner, am I to be blamed for the actions of others at the protest who may be vandalizing ?  Using this rationale is no different from blaming all police officers for the use of excessive force by a few. “Notice how those who place police above the law try to protect the police by saying that excessive force does not exist, or if it does, involves only a few ?”

        Don’t see the similarity between these attitudes ?

  3. Frankly

    We are dangerously conflating two topics: one – the over-representation of underclass in the black community; two – policing of black neighborhoods.  These two topics are separate, but related.

    With respect to the challenge with policing I do believe that bias exists.  But it is not 1960’s racial bias.  It is something completely different.  For example, it can be prevalent in a cop that has black family members and friends, and voted for Barack Obama.  It can be prevalent in black cops.  Those attributing today with the time of Dr. King in Selma Georgia are terribly off base.

    Blacks have as a group have a social and media branding problem resulting from the misbehavior of a minority within their group.  In terms of police risk assessment, their more aggressive responses are both justified and sufficiently explained (due to the facts, like with the Michael Brown shooting) and in some cases not justified (like in the Eric Gardner choking) depending on the situation.  But all responses are influenced by both the actual risk assessment, and the background noise of the social and media narrative of a severely damaged black brand.

    And this severely damaged black brand brings us back to topic #1: the over-representation of underclass in the back community.

    Until and unless we address this problem and figure out ways to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, this over-representation of black underclass, we will accomplish nothing of any material value by demanding a change to policing.  This is where the dialog needs to be.  How do we repair the negative branding of the black community?  How do we get to a point where blacks are just another American with a different racial/ethnic heritage, and not a group that demands continued cycles of protests over crappy outcome statistics?

    The policing incidents have caused indignation, pain, anger, frustration (and unfortunately more hate and more of the lawlessness that contributes to the broken brand).  But these responses should have existed before the policing incidents.  We should have been seeing protests over the terrible statistics of black underclass representation. I believe the policing incidents were only the spark to set off a brewing powder keg.

    Focusing on policing is the absolute wrong thing to do.  It is nonsensical.  It is a pursuit of the people that only want to feel better and others that profit in relevancy, power and cash from the continued racial disparity and hopelessness of the black community.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      You lost me on this one, negative branding? Work to reunite the black family, bring back the black father, lower the importance of gangs, rap music, and sports, have more successes, and the images will change.

      There is a large black upper class and huge black middle class, but the “black underclass” seems to have intractable problems. Liberal policies have been no help here, as they have actually helped to destroy the black family, which survived slavery and Jim Crow.

      1. Frankly

        The crime in black neighborhoods.  Hip hop culture.  Gangs and drugs.  Guns.   These things are all part of the negative branding, and it affects not only cops, but the population in general.  And it impacts those blacks that are law-abiding and non-violent.

        It is like the Tea Party to some degree.  The majority are just against high taxation and large government.  But there are a minority of hateful social conservatives that have tarnished the brand.

        I agree with everything you write.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          OK, so it sounds like we have a similar take. But let’s not kid ourselves. I have a friend who is a police officer, and black, who says matter of factly, “I know that I am 8x more likely to be shot by a young black male than any other citizen. So am I worried when I pull over a little old lady? No.” Where we have proven cases of racism, let’s stomp it out.

          Let’s also not buy into the hype. I was schooled when I was younger on how to interact with the police. I’m not black, but I have been pulled over on the side of the highway for one solid hour at 1AM while a cop beefed me for a minor violation. (Tags 2 weeks expired.) I was pulled over 8 or 9 times in a wealthy white area when I had an intermittent fuse problem, which caused my tail light to go out.

          I once had a young female coworker tell me how her boyfriend was pulled over by the “racist police” because he wasn’t white. I then started to peel away the onion. Is he black? No, he’s asian. Is he Chinese, Japanese? Actually, he’s half asian, half white. He was pulled over with you b/c you’re white, but it was 9 PM at night? OK. And the officer spotted you across a poorly lit major intersection at 9PM… but the fact that you broke a traffic law had no impact on this encounter? It made absolutely no sense.

          Eric Holder claimed to have been racially profiled while he had positions of power within our government. I believe he is required by law to report these transgressions, but his claims now reek of opportunism, just like Michelle Obama laughing about a cute encounter with a little old lady in the grocery store, but recently she labeled that as racist. I believe that is called a self-inflicted wound.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “We are dangerously conflating two topics: one – the over-representation of underclass in the black community; two – policing of black neighborhoods.  These two topics are separate, but related.”

      one of the things i was reading last night was analysis that suggested that crime figures may not be that different in black neighborhoods versus other neighborhoods.  however, police tend to focus on crime in black neighborhoods and concentrate their efforts on black on black crime.  that would again make these issues less separate than you represent.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Do you have a source for that theory?

        Big cities are tough. I have known multiple people who have not reported crimes in San Francisco because they know that a) the criminal will never be caught, and b) even if they are caught, they won’t be punished. San Francisco is very soft on crime, so the primary concern is often just doing what is needed to get insurance to cover the loss.

        That is why murder and murder statistics are different because there is a body, it gets reported, resources are marshaled, and it is significantly harder to doctor or fake a murder than it is to plant $20 in dope on a suspect.

      2. Barack Palin

        one of the things i was reading last night was analysis that suggested that crime figures may not be that different in black neighborhoods versus other neighborhoods.

        Yes, this is so true because we can point to all the white bodies stacking up of whites killing whites in white neighborhoods.

        1. Davis Progressive

          but since you bring it up: “According to the US Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5% of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with whites 45.3% and “Other” 2.2%. The offending rate for blacks was almost 8 times higher than whites (per 100,000), and the victim rate 6 times higher (per 100,000). Most murders were intraracial, with 84% of white homicide victims murdered by whites, and 93% of black victims murdered by blacks”

          so while it is true that the murder rate is higher among blacks, whites still commit about 45% of the murders.

        2. Barack Palin

          Blacks are only 13% of the population but they commit 53% of all murders and as you stated “The offending rate for blacks was almost 8 times higher than whites (per 100,000)”.  So using your found statistics you’ve proven my point.

          1. Matt Williams

            BP, what are the percentages for the victims of murder? What do those statistics about the demographic of the victims tell us?

        3. Davis Progressive

          there are pieces of data that are missing from this equation – for instance, how much police presence is in black neighborhoods versus the rest, crime rates for non-murder offenses, whether crime is randomly scattered or concentrated within the neighborhoods black and non-black, etc.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          DP, per your claim that whites commit 45% of murders, is there a link for that? I think there is an issue there whereby the government counts Latinos as white on one side of the ledger, and Latino on the other side.

          I took a quick look at the statistics for murder in San Jose via the San Jose Mercury News, and it has gone up and down over the past few decades. There has been a recent spike to up around 40-44 per year, and one year half of those murders were gang related. In the low years it was in the 20s. My guess is that a big chunk of those gang murders were Latino gangs.

          The recent spike is partly attributed to a reduction in the size of their police force from around 1,400 to 1,000, and therefore the SJPD inability to gather the resources needed, as well as an inability to focus and stop smaller crimes like New York.

    3. Davis Progressive

      “vFocusing on policing is the absolute wrong thing to do.  It is nonsensical.  It is a pursuit of the people that only want to feel better and others that profit in relevancy, power and cash from the continued racial disparity and hopelessness of the black community.”

      you’re completely wrong frankly.  focusing on policing is the right thing to do because it gets to the trust issue.  finding ways for the community to better work with the police will increase trust and allow the neighborhood to work with police rather than against police.

  4. Tia Will

    emulating the police officers’ actions of turning their backs on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos.”

    I feel that a much better strategy than turning one’s back on anyone would be to attempt an understanding of the position of the other rather than finger pointing and rhetorical claims of either “having blood on one’s hands” in the case of the police reference to Mayor de Blasio or the protestors odious chant. Neither expresses any attempt at understanding of the position of the other or willingness to work together to solve what must be now obvious to all are real problems, regardless of where one feels the bulk of the blame to lie.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I feel that a much better strategy than turning one’s

      > back on anyone would be to attempt an understanding

      > of the position of the other 

      Tia has posted in the past that as a supporter of free speech she is OK with even the hate speech of the Westborough Baptist church.

      I also support all free speech but think that trying to “understand” crazy people chanting God’s view on gays or wanting dead cops is a waste of time…

       

  5. Tia Will

    Frankly

    Focusing on policing is the absolute wrong thing to do. “

    I agree with much of your post, and adamantly disagree on this point. Policing, the underlying assumptions regarding its purpose, the policies governing the training and behavior of officers, the degree of force that they are authorized to use and the circumstances under which force is allowed as well as the  types of equipment sanctioned for use under differing circumstances are all valid issues on which to focus. This is entirely separate from the issue of race.

    What brought me to the Vanguard as a participant rather than reader was the inappropriate use of force by the UCD police against peacefully seated protesters. Yes, it was true that there had been brief episodes of chanting and name calling by some protestors, promptly quelled by the protest leaders and over with well before the pepper spraying of the non threatening, seated in defensive posture protestors blocking one path from the open sided quad.  These protestors would by visual inspection have all been categorized as either white ,Asian, or Latino…..not a black in sight, and yet they were targeted for what was later determined judicially to be an unjustified use of force.

    We have seen instances of the use of excessive or inappropriate force in the choke hold related death of Mr. Garner over a few cigarettes and a bit of back talk. We have seen the shooting death of Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn stair well. Perhaps accidental, perhaps due to overly aggressive “self defense policy” of patrolling with a drawn weapon. We have seen the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice a twelve year old armed with his toy gun in Cleveland by an officer determined ( according to news reports) by a previous police force to be unsuited temperamentally to street policing.

    And yet you state that “focusing on policing is exactly the wrong thing to do.”  I would agree only if you are going to maintain that as a nation we are only capable of focusing on one problem ignoring others that are obviously equally in need of solutions.

    1. Frankly

      But here again Tia, you are conflating the two issues. 

      There is certainly room to discuss policing procedure. 

      I think almost everything in life gravitates to sub-optimization unless it is routinely challenged and improved with a goal of optimization.  I use the term optimization because there are tradeoffs for every decision to change something.  One of the problems I have with this “wait until the media firestorm from an army of reactionaries”, is that we over steer.   We over-steered in the mid 1990s when the US Department of Justice concluded a study that “proved” that more rigorous policing in high crime neighborhoods was beneficial for the whole that was mostly made up of law-abiding residents.  US lawmakers agreed to tie strings to the now $150 billion the federal government contributes to local law enforcement.  Those strings included the mandate for local law enforcement to go where the crime was.  Prior to that the common sense approach from local law enforcement was to equally cover territory so as not to appear biased.  But back then there were claims of racism from the same people saying the same over the higher police presence in these neighborhoods.  You and others taking up this mantle of “police militarization”, etc.  Are going way overboard and risk pushing public police beyond what thinking and reasoning people should be doing.  You and others are allowing emotions to rule instead of calm and reasoned intellect.

      The pepper spray incident seems very much a poor decision by one cop and he has been penalized for it.

      The Michael Brown incident is not just a study in police protocol… it should be a wakeup call that we are ignoring the primary root causes.

      The Eric Garner incident, I think, is mostly a topic about police protocol but also about the consequences of over-taxing products and then having a government that demands such Orwellian tactics to ensure they capture every penny they think they are entitled to.  The black female sergeant giving the orders to take down Mr. Garner was taking her orders from her commanding officers who ultimately take their orders from politicians.   If all Mr. Garner was doing was selling cigarettes, don’t we need to hold those politicians responsible for creating an attractive nuance and then demanding extreme law enforcement against it?

      Liberals tend to want to excuse theft from many people, but then apparently support strong arm tactics against people avoiding taxes.  And in that respect liberals share responsibility for what happened to Eric Garner.

      But back to the point, there are two questions:

      1. What problems do we need to solve and in what order.

      2. How do we solve them.

      You and I apparently disagree on the first one.  I think law enforcement is not the big problem.  I think law enforcement is actually near excellent… especially compared to the history of law enforcement and compared to most of the rest of the world.  That is not to say that there isn’t room for improvement… there always is room for improvement.

      But all the energy and attention being directed at this apparent attempt for some perfect utopia of law enforcement is out of order.  We should be spending our energy on other things… many that contribute to the difficulty of law enforcement.   That should be the first priority because it will result in improving the lives of more people.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        The pepper spray incident seems very much a poor decision by one cop and he has been penalized for it.”

        I disagree. The pepper spray incident was the culmination of a number of very poor decisions, some on the part of the administration, some on the part of the police as witnessed by the approach of the UCD police in riot gear, obviously unnecessary by the simultaneous footage of now Assistant Chief Pytel of the Davis Police moving through the crowd easily in his regular uniform, smiling and talking with the protesters. There was error in initial risk assessment. Error in the choice of equipment to take and use. Error in the timing of the action. Error in the type of action actually needed. You are making a common mistake in attributing the results to the poor decision of one cop and thereby hoping to avoid the much more difficult process of evaluating the systems issues that contributed to the poor outcome. How much easier to scapegoat one individual and then congratulate ourselves for punishing him while avoiding the broader issues and thereby eliminating the possibility of avoiding such an event in the future.

        The Michael Brown incident is not just a study in police protocol… it should be a wakeup call that we are ignoring the primary root causes.”

        We are in agreement on this one as long as we include both police policies and protocol as well as root causes within the community.

        The Eric Garner incident, I think, is mostly a topic about police protocol but also about the consequences of over-taxing products”

        On this we totally disagree. If we are going to blame “over taxation by liberals” for causing Mr. Garner to sell cigarettes, then why would we not blame rich people wearing jewelry for causing poor people to steal it from them to sell. If we are going to claim individual responsibility for all acts, then we cannot be cherry picking others to hold responsible for their crimes because we do not like their philosophy.

        What problems do we need to solve and in what order.”

        I do not believe that there has to be an “order”. I believe that problems can and should be worked on concordantly. We will get the best results in my opinion when we acknowledge each others others concerns and agree to work on them concordantly.

         

  6. Tia Will

    Gunrock

    1.”the overwhelming demand from heavily black neighborhoods is for more police presence to combat high crime”

    The overwhelming demand from heavily black neighborhoods is for more police protection, not for more shootings of unarmed individuals.

    2. “creates a fear of and hostility toward the whole idea of government

    If your experience is that the police are as likely to target you for detention, search an arrest because of your appearance in your own neighborhood as they are to be protecting you from someone who is actually breaking the law, it is likely as likely to create fear and hostility as it is to engender trust and appreciation.

    3. “that undermines any aspiration they might otherwise feel to participate as citizens”

    I think that you are underestimating the power of feelings of powerlessness to undermine participation. In a recent conversation with my own son, he, in expressing his disenchantment with government in general stated to me that while he had voted and would continue to vote, he honestly did not see how it made any difference. It was only when I pointed out to him a number of races that turned on only a handful of votes did he seem to appreciate the power of participation. And this is from a very well educated, very privileged, very thoughtful young man who has had all the opportunities that an upper middle class childhood in Davis could supply. Do you really believe that the feeling of helplessness does not influence participation in any negative way ?

    4. “It is widely accepted that the primary reason for young black men to “keep their head down” is to avoid condemnation and contempt of their peers for trying to better themselves. “

    Widely accepted by whom ? A source would be useful in this regard. I suspect that the issue may be more complicated and that there may be a number of reasons that a young man might want to maintain a low profile and that some may feel trapped between the “protection” of the police and the “contempt” of their peers.

    5. “in the belief that getting noticed leads to getting at least hassled if not arrested” – complete nonsense

    This did not seem to be nonsense for Luis Gutierrez for whom being “noticed” resulted in him being shot by deputies in Yolo County. It was not nonsense for Oscar Grant fatally shot by Bart Police.

  7. LadyNewkBahm

    How many of these articles are going to be written? From what I can tell, most of these articles are very similar in tone/content. Everyone has weighed in, and I have seen little if any evidence minds are going to change or even budge. If we are supposed to be “moving on” then the best way for that to take place is if the author moves on. No article, no response.

    1. Matt Williams

      Reading your comment I wondered whether you misspelled your user name. Are you sure it isn’t LazyNewkBahm? Exercising the mind is good for it. That is why we have debates. Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      In the words of the immortal Molly Ivins, “The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. […] Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for.”

    2. Davis Progressive

      i find these articles and the ensuing discussion invaluable regardless of whether people’s minds are changed.  the readership and comments show that there is interest.

      1. Matt Williams

        But DP, you are missing her point. LazyNewkBahm does not want these issues talked about. She prefers ignorance to information. Preserving ignorance is a “low maintenance” effort. Dealing with informed citizens is “high maintenance” by comparison.

  8. LadyNewkBahm

    I’m sorry, we’ve been over this ground numerous times before.  I shouldn’t have assumed you were up to speed. In regard to this Molly Ivans, who is she and why am I supposed to give a monkey-terd about her opinion?

    1. Matt Williams

      If you Google the term “Molly Ivins” you will be able to answer your own question. You can also try talking to fellow women you know. I expect that virtually all of them will be able to tell you who Molly is.

  9. gunrock

    Tia- “The overwhelming demand from heavily black neighborhoods is for more police protection, not for more shootings of unarmed individuals” oh nonsense… it is currently fashionable to chant about police violence by a noisy few, but the problem remains that the overwhelmingly major cause of death among young black men is young black men…  The disagreeable job of dealing with them falls to the police.  Its a sad truth that sometimes in tense, armed situations people get killed. The demand by the victimized people in black neighborhoods is overwhelming and well documented.  Blacks have the desire for the same degree of safety that we take for granted in Davis.  Its not open season on young black men for a bunch of racist cops- these are dedicated professionals trying hard to protect these neighborhoods from armed thugs who happen to be black…

  10. Tia Will

    Gunrock

    the overwhelmingly major cause of death among young black men is young black men”

    And no one has disputed the numbers. What you are refusing to see is that these deaths are not being caused by those who are charged to protect the community, nor  are they being payed for ( in terms of salary and benefits ) by the community. Nor are the majority of “liberals” backing either the criminals or the minority of protesters that are chanting or looting or vandalizing.

    Both the issue of black on black crime and the issue of excessive use of force  by the police need to be addressed. Blacks need to be, as individuals responsible for their own actions, Police need to be responsible, as individuals and as governmental agencies for their actions. No group, nor individual gets a “free pass” by saying “sometimes in tense, armed situations people get killed” and then just leave it at that. There should be extensive efforts to stop the Garner, Akai, and Rice situations in which the only ones armed were the police. The only “tension “provided was by the police unless you consider a man selling cigarettes, a man walking down a staircase with his girlfriend or a twelve year old with a toy gun “tense situations”.

    If both sides in this issue would stop denying their own culpability and set about trying to find solutions based on their own contribution to the problem we could go much further than denial will ever get us. I fail to see how this is such a controversial statement.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “the overwhelmingly major cause of death among young black men is young black men”

      the problem with that comment – even if accurate – is assessing why and how to deal with the issue and i don’t sense that there is any sort of consensus there.

      1. Barack Palin

        “the overwhelmingly major cause of death among young black men is young black men”
        the problem with that comment – even if accurate

        Obviously part of the problem is liberals refuse to give in to the facts.

        1. Davis Progressive

          with the number of factual errors in the past few weeks you guys have cited, i’m not willing to accept stats without citations unless i can verify them myself.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          DP, do you have facts (and citations) to support the death of young black men by other means?

          You asked the “why and how to deal with the issue” is the more interesting issue. I’d also again suggest methods that are proven by facts.

          1. The liberal polices of the past 50 years have not made things better for African Americans; in fact, Big Government and “good intentions” have destroyed the black family, a family which survived slavery, Jim Crow, and the deep South.

          Prior to Big Government, the black family was as intact, and even more intact, than white families. (Source: Dr. Thomas Sowell, Dr. Walter Williams.)

          2. Family is key. My Mom always harped: One toaster is cheaper than two; one rent or mortgage payment is more affordable than two; married men make more money than single men. Numerous new immigrant groups have followed this formula to success.

          3. The success of Ethiopian-Americans, Nigerian-Americans, and others prove that pigment isn’t the issue. If you want to witness large Ethiopian communities, take a vacation to Washington D.C to see their success, or locally to Berkeley or Oakland.

        3. Davis Progressive

          you apparently didn’t understand my comment which was not that i was disputing your stat, but rather than i wasn’t going to accept it as fact without looking into it further.

        4. Davis Progressive

          “Prior to Big Government, the black family was as intact, and even more intact, than white families.”

          prior to big government, blacks were slaves and then subjugated under jim crow.  it was a fallacy that black families were intact under those conditions and we have anecdotal evidence that undermines that belief.

        5. Davis Progressive

          another point, you bring up big government but fail to note that crime rates are their lowest in 40 years.  so how does that fit into the sowell narrative?

        6. TrueBlueDevil

          DP, many African Americans moved to the West Coast before and during WWII to persue a better life, many working in the shipyards, buying homes, and escaping the deep South.

        7. Davis Progressive

          “DP, many African Americans moved to the West Coast before and during WWII to persue a better life, many working in the shipyards, buying homes, and escaping the deep South.”

          and how well did that work out?  housing discrimination remained in the west.  in fact, it got bad enough there were riots in 1943 in los angeles where groups of groups of white sailors, soldiers, police officers, and civilian men from all over the West Coast responded to a press-instigated outcry against the zoot-suits.  they targeted not just hispanics, but blacks.

  11. zaqzaq

    Tia

    “No group, nor individual gets a “free pass” by saying “sometimes in tense, armed situations people get killed” and then just leave it at that.”

     

    Doctors consistently get a “free pass” when they are negligent causing death or serious physical injury.  They may be working in tense or stressful environments.  Their errors in California are reviewed in boards that are not open to the public and the results are not released to the public.  They are never prosecuted.  Individuals can sue them in civil court and just leave it at that.  Amputating the wrong leg would be a battery with serious bodily injury which is a general intent crime.

    1. Tia Will

      zaqzaq

      I am not sure where you have obtained your information, but actions against a physicians license are available to all via the State Medical Board of California. You can easily Google this information. Administrative disciplinary actions including probation and limitation of practice can be found on line at the California Department of Consumer Affairs – Medical Board listed by physician name. Doctors are sued and sanctioned on a regular basis. Doctors lose their license to practice for proven cases of negligence of malpractice. Doctors lose their board certifications for the same issues effectively ending their ability to practice in hospitals or certain large medical groups.

      However, even if what you claim were true, would that justify the same lack of transparency on the part of the police ?

      1. South of Davis

        The good ol boys network that looks at MDs who kill is even less likely to recommend a trial than the cop good ol boys.

        MDs  kill FAR more people than cops and (unlike with cop killings) we never hear about most of them.

  12. Miwok

    Very good comments and statistics, where ever they come from.

    I only want to know: What do these protests want to accomplish? Less enforcement of Black people violating laws? It almost sounds like the “quotas” of speeding tickets.

    I have always needed to be educated about other races through my life, and thankfully other people I have worked with were nice enough to help me understand. Many want to be accepted for their work ethic, want to build a house and family, and raise their children. They all wanted to be left alone.

    When I lived in the ‘hood, I met people who did not aspire to accomplish anything in their life. Usually dropouts, they had role models that had no ambition. Addiction and drugs usually screwed up any efforts to advance. Watching parents prey on children was quite an education for me.

    So what do Blacks want in their life? Is it so different than other races? Will justice be served? Will Blacks attack anyone not black who support them?

  13. Tia Will

    Miwok

    You raise some interesting questions. I do not have experience living in primarily black neighborhoods. However, I have lived on a reservation and in a number of mixed race, low economic neighborhoods, and my practice has always included women of all races. From my experience, I would like to offer my perspective on your questions.

    1. What do these protests want to accomplish ?

    There are probably a number of different goals held by different protesters. A very few are probably using the protests as an excuse to vandalize, steal and shout epithets. The majority are probably hoping to call attention to the disparity that they see ( and that we do not by virtue of being white ….if you are) between how laws are enforced in the white community and how they are enforced in the black community. Some probably want to draw attention to the police use of excessive force. Others may want to draw attention to disparities in sentencing.

    2. “Less enforcement of Black people violating the law”?

    I am perplexed by this question. What, other than the unsubstantiated claims of people defending the police regardless of circumstances would lead you to even think this? What I see is not the desire for less enforcement of law breaking, but rather for proportionate action. For instance, no death by choke hold ( illegal police force) for the crime of selling cigarettes and arguing. I also see the desire for equal enforcement of the laws and equal sentencing for the same crime.

    3. Although not really a question, I want to respond to your comments about life in the ‘hood”.

    These behaviors are not unique to our black population by any means. I have directly witnessed the “giving up ” behavior directly not only in blacks, but in whites in both the rural and urban setting, in Hispanics when living in Southern California, in the Native American population both on and off reservation. I do not see these behaviors as race based as many seem to but rather as an individual mirroring and becoming trapped in the only behaviors that have been modeled for them. I also believe that it is the dilemma of the individual trying to escape the pattern and circumstances into which they were born that if they look and act too differently they can be targeted for harassment by their peers and if they look too similar, they may be targeted by the police for no reason other than trying to “pass” in their own neighborhood. Yes, some people do manage to break out of the pattern into which they are born. I know. I am one. But the mistake that many make is that the existence of the exception means that “anyone can succeed” which is rather apparently not true in our society.

    4. “So what do Blacks want in their life? Is it so different than other races?  

    I do not believe that most blacks want anything different than most of us, the ability to live our lives in peace without fear that we will be singled out  or treated differently because of the color of our skin when in our front yard, or walking down the street, or in a store. As whites, we have this. Would we want it to be taken away ? If not, can we not empathize with those that do not have it, not because of anything that they have done personally, but because of the color of their skin.

    5. “Will Blacks attack anyone not black who support them?”

    Again, I was perplexed by this question. What have you seen or heard that would cause you to begin to think that because someone shares a skin color “black” in this case, that they would “attack anyone who supports them” but is not of the same skin color ? This is unfathomable to me and I am truly wondering how you came upon such an idea.

    True, there are blacks who believe that only blacks can solve black problems. They are in the minority just as white supremacists exist who believe that blacks and whites should not mix under any circumstances. Do you believe that the latter are representative of the entire “white” population ? If not, then why would you consider that “Blacks” as a group would act in such a racist fashion ?

    6. “Will justice be served?”

    In my opinion only when we stop judging groups by the individual actions of their members. Only when each individual is truly judged on the basis of his own character as manifested through his own actions and not on the basis of his/her race, gender, sexual preference, religion, profession, age or any other characteristic used to group and stereotype. Only when similar acts are as likely to engender detentions, arrests, formal and similar charges, and to go to adequately defended plea bargain or trial regardless of the race of the accused. So in my view, can justice be served ?  Yes, and we have a long, long way to go.

    1. Don Shor

      In a Dec. 21, 2014 article about the shooting, the Los Angeles Times referred to the New York City protests as “anti-police marches,” which is grossly inaccurate and illustrates the problem of perception the protestors are battling. The marches are meant to raise awareness of double standards, lack of adequate police candidate screening, and insufficient training that have resulted in unnecessary killings. Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is. Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. Bad apples, bad training, and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy. And any institution worth saving should want to eliminate them, too.

      Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
      http://time.com/3643462/kareem-abdul-jabbar-nypd-shootings-police/

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