Over the decades, we’ve seen police protested by various communities across the country. Some are very reasonable protests and critiques over the development of policing, but more recent ones are wrapped in a seething desire for anarchy.
Well, according to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, communities that continue to disrespect and attack the police may soon find a day where officers stop showing up altogether.
The remarks have sent the social justice warriors up in arms… but is it a threat? Or is it an honest cause-and-effect analysis of a real world situation?
While giving a speech at the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing this week, the nation’s top cop addressed the anti-police sentiment growing in the U.S.
“I think today, American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers and they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ― and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need,” Barr said.
It seems like a pretty honest speculation, if a segment of the population is constantly harassing or threatening police and calling to frivolously protest them for simply enforcing the law, police may not want to respond to those areas.
Yet, the outrage mob saw the comments in a different light, likening Barr’s statement to some sort of “dog whistle” to rally a base against communities with a minimal Caucasian demographic.
Liberal super PAC American Bridge were the first to commence accusations against the attorney general, claiming he was referring to communities of color that have historically had a strained dynamic with law enforcement due to police brutality, mass incarceration and racial profiling.
Their spokesperson, Jeb Fain, had a conversation with the Huffington Post.
“The Attorney General isn’t being subtle and that shouldn’t surprise us considering this administration’s record. When it comes to communities of color, he sees justice and equal protection under the law as subject to conditions,” Fain said.
Seems like Jeb Fain went from zero-to-sixty pretty quick on that interpretation, but he didn’t stop there either.
“Barr’s words are as revealing as they are disturbing ― flagrantly dismissive of the rights of Americans of color, disrespectful to countless law enforcement officers who work hard to serve their communities, and full of a continuing disregard for the rule of law.”
Progressive cities and their officials have been at odds with Barr for some time now. While the AG has been working to reinstate a level of law and order that’s sensible, but also tough on serious crime, liberals have digested it as some unjust attack.
Barr has been very critical toward what progressive cities claim are humane modifications within criminal justice reform, mainly because they all seek to either lower penalties for serious crimes or decriminalize offenses in general.
In August, Barr told the Fraternal Order of Police that there should be “zero tolerance for resisting police.”
The attorney general didn’t pull any punches when he delivered a speech going after local prosecutors he accused of making police officers’ jobs more difficult because of their more progressive approaches to criminal cases.
During the August lecture, Barr stated,
“There is another development that is demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety. That is the emergence in some of our large cities of district attorneys that style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook and refusing to enforce the law.”
You can’t blame Barr for speaking plainly, as he’s always done just that, and his recent comments sound more like an honest observation rather than a threat. His shooting-from-the-hip delivery has been pretty consistent, as evidenced with his comments on getting the federal death penalty moving again.
The takeaway here is that Barr is simply pointing out what many law enforcement officers have been saying all along, they’re not likely going to show up where they don’t feel welcome.
Just take a look at New York City.
On Sunday, Dermot Shea took over as the 44th police commissioner in the history of the New York City Police Department.
Up until today, every month Shea would sit in with NYPD officials and the mayor to brief reporters on the latest crime statistics. In the briefing room, there is a big, blue sign saying:
“Safest Big City in America.”
Now, Shea has the ultimate responsibility for maintaining that status. However, Shea faces strong headwinds in keeping that going.
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Shea is replacing James O’Neill, who retired to become the head of global security for Visa, Inc. Both O’Neill and Shea have been raising concerns about new criminal justice reforms that take effect on January 1, which LET has reported about recently.
In addition, there is a plan to close the Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four new jails citywide.
“The deck is stacked against him,” said Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD sergeant who is now teaching at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Changes that will be taking place on Jan. 1 include the elimination of bail for non-violent felonies, issuance of appearance tickets instead of arrests for low-level offenses, and the requirement that law enforcement officials provide additional information to defendants earlier in the criminal justice process.
O’Neill is concerned that people involved in violent crimes will be released whenever they get picked up for lesser offenses. He said:
“It’s a lot to throw at us at one time.”
Criminal justice reform advocates say the changes will bring overdue fairness to a system that has long filled jails with people who are accused of low-level crimes and are unable to afford bail.
This comes amid a push in various corners to move away from mass incarceration. Some more radical proposals, such as that from Socialist New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, suggest eliminating jails and prisons completely.
People who are more committed to a “law and order” way of conducting business are afraid that these proposals will make the city less safe.
The proposal to close Rikers brings with it another set of issues. Officials are pushing to reduce the number of people locked up daily by more than half, to 3,300 inmates by 2026. The number stands at 7,000 today.
A significant drop in the crime rate, along with a shift in the NYPD approach to minor offenses have already cut the city’s jail population, which peaked at nearly 22,000 in 1991. Ironically, that is the year that Shea joined the department.
Under former mayors Rudy Giuliani and even Michael Bloomberg, New York had earned a reputation as being tough on crime.
The NYPD implemented the model prevalent in the 1990’s and championed by former president Bill Clinton. By implementing the so-called “broken windows theory” of policing, which treated low level offenses as a gateway to bigger crimes, the crime rate dropped rather significantly.
Shea and O’Neill worked together to unwind that program. Shea developed a more data-driven strategy for fighting and preventing crime, which resulted in officers being pushed out of their patrol cars and onto the streets in order to build bonds with residents.
Shea referred to the approach as neighborhood policing and said that it is vital to coping with the shifting criminal justice landscape.
Police officers were more increasingly focused on drivers of crime such as gangs and drugs, while looking for alternatives to arresting and incarcerating people in many other cases, he said.
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