BRONX, NY – There is a brew pub in the Bronx called Bronx Brewery, which had decided that they wanted to wade into the muddy waters of supporting the rule of law or encouraging borderline anarchy.
They appear to have chosen the latter.
They decided to put out a beer called “Defund the Police.” The brewery has since backed down after receiving significant pushback, but they have decided to justify this movement by posting questionable statistics.
We stand with protesters' calls to Defund The Police. In July, we will brew a beer with that name, with $1,000 pledged to support Communities United For Police Reform.
— The Bronx Brewery (@TheBronxBrewery) June 19, 2020
For example, they cite a study that says black men in the United States have a 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by a police officer in their lifetime, roughly 2.5 times the rate of a non-Hispanic white male.
However a 2016 Los Angeles Times article easily explains why black males have a greater chance of being killed by a police officer—they have more encounters with the police. According to the study they cited, it found that police were no more likely to fire their weapons at unarmed blacks than on unarmed whites. The study cited by the brewery did not delineate justified to non-justified police shootings.
The study said, “The excess per-capita death rate of blacks from U.S. police action rightly concerns police analysts, advocates and the press,” the authors said. However, where it concerns blacks or Latinos’ exposure to harsher treatment, they said, “the excess appears to reflect exposure” to police, not necessarily violent police tactics.
One of the authors of the research was surprised by what he found. Ted Miller, the lead author said:
“Certainly, the dialogue we’re hearing is that there are a lot more minorities being killed” in police encounters. “And I was expecting to see that likelihood of being killed was higher if you’re a minority. It turns out that once the police have stopped you, there is not a racial difference in the likelihood of your being seriously hurt.”
The brewery goes on to say that “Black men are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white men.” This is true. However, a quick examination of the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2016 shows that for example, offenses of murder and non-negligent manslaughter showed 4,192 whites being charged, while blacks were charged 5,936 times.
With blacks only representing 13% of the US population, while committing 58% of murders and non-negligent manslaughter, clearly blacks offend at a higher rate than whites, accounting for the disparity in incarceration rates.
Once again, they cite the fact that black men only comprise 6.5 percent of the U.S. population, however, comprise 40.2 percent of the prison population. See the last paragraph which easily explains that.
They then say that spending on prisons and jails has “increased at three times the rate of spending on Pre K-12th grade public [emphasis added] education in the last thirty years. They cite a NAACP [no political agenda there] fact sheet.
According to the US Department of Education, total expenditures for public elementary and secondary education in 2016 amounted to $706 billion dollars. In 1990, total expenditures were approximately $249 million. The increase has been 2.8 times in 30 years.
Statista.com shows a roughly even correlation between K-12 education spending increases and money invested in corrections. So basically, the claim that spending on jails and prisons was three times the increase of PK-12 education is…a lie.
The brewery continues to say, “These numbers point to a systemic form of oppression embedded in American law enforcement dating back to the slave patrols of centuries ago.”
Clearly, the owners of this brewery may have been doing a little bit more of consuming their beverages than selling them. Remember what they say about statistics? Basically, they can be manipulated, and in this case, statistics were cherry-picked without context. However, this is what we have come to expect from the anti-police crowd.
The Washington Post tracks police shootings throughout the country, and based on those statistics, it has been proven that police aren’t hunting down unarmed African Americans and killing them.
The fact of the matter is, in 2019, out of ten unarmed blacks who were killed by police, seven were found to be justified. Meanwhile, over twice that number of unarmed white males were killed by the police. When one considers that blacks offend at a much higher rate than whites, the three unarmed blacks killed, while tragic, hardly represent any type of targeting by police.
In fact a piece in the Wall Street Journal by Heather MacDonald, author and Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute totally debunks the narrative of the anti-police crowd.
Bronx Brewery cites the case of Camden, N.J., claiming that the department was “dismantled and rebuilt” while dismissing the fact that most of the previous officers were rehired.
In 2012, the department was effectively gutted, where all Camden police officers were laid off. That year, Camden had 67 homicides, a record. By 2013, the department was back up to 411 officers, and was the recipient of significant technology upgrades.
Yet despite all the accolades given to Camden, it is the most dangerous city in New Jersey, and is ranked as the 10th most dangerous city in America. The city has also seen a decline in public housing complexes, and less affordable housing. There is also suspicions that violent crimes are being misreported by the Camden PD as non-violent offenses.
The brew masters seek to reallocate money from the New York City police department to “programs that work toward building up communities and the people inside them,” as well as “areas and issues within our communities that are better left to experts in the fields of mental health, poverty and homelessness than to armed police.”
Fair enough. The police are better served actually enforcing the law instead of acting as social workers, however suggestions that social workers should be sent to domestic disturbances, one of the most dangerous calls that police responds to, instead of officers is ludicrous.
New York City has seen its murder rate double up until June 7, up to 42 according to the New York Post. As police officers have effectively had their hands tied by bureaucrats such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and with officers basically standing down due to lack of support from political leaders and the risk of criminal prosecution by overzealous prosecutors, crime is out of control. Yet, these brewery owners suggested further cutting the police budget. Makes a lot of sense.
Bronx Brewery issued a statement in which they said that since announcing their intention to create the “Defund the Police” beer last week, they had been subject to violent threats to their lives, as well as those of their family. We obviously condemn those threats. In today’s inflammatory and volatile environment, that is not helpful.
Over the past week, we've come to understand that the phrase 'Defund The Police' is one that, for many, doesn't start a conversation. It stops it.
Or worse. pic.twitter.com/qTiQtWqxDo
— The Bronx Brewery (@TheBronxBrewery) June 25, 2020
In light of those threats, along with the appearance that their initiative was not going to produce the desired result and wouldn’t “drive a greater understanding of the opportunity at hand,” they decided not to produce the beer.
They claimed that the call to defund the police did not mean getting rid of the police. They said they were trying to “start a conversation” about how policing is undertaken, what law enforcement is asked to do, and what types of resources are needed to do that.
“Police officers are called into so many situations that go far beyond traditional police work, from mental health emergencies to issues around homelessness. If we were to enable and properly resource experts to take on these issues, we wouldn’t need to ask our police to ‘solve’ such a wide variety of social problems,” the release said.
The brewery said they would still be making a $1,000 donation to Communities United For Police Reform but would try to work toward long-term partnerships with organizations that fight racism and encourage community development in the Bronx, which sound like noble ideas.
— Fermentum PR (@FermentumPR) June 26, 2020
When people or organizations enter calls to “defund the police,” people get rightfully concerned. At a time when crime is increasing at an exponential rate, calls to cut, reduce, defund, or eliminate police is cause for concern. Perhaps instead of calls to defund the police, businesses such as Bronx Brewery work together with the police for solutions to improve their neighborhood, their borough, and their city.
Using inflammatory rhetoric and misleading statistics distracted from their message. Their ideas are not all totally out of whack, as long as they are implemented in a thoughtful, measured, and unemotional way.
After all, at the end of the day, the police are there to help, not to hurt.
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