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Institutional Injustice Is a Lie

Institutional Injustice Is a Lie

Do you get tired of hearing the same talking points time after time? Speaking bluntly, individual incidents do not equate to institutional injustice no matter how bad anti-police activists wish it to be true.

The police-haters rely upon a sympathetic, left-leaning media to carry their baggage. As a result, their arsenal consists of spin, innuendo and fragments of truth.

The New Mount Rushmore

In listening to the spinmeisters you’d think Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Keith Lamont Scott, Alton Sterling, et al. should transplant the presidents carved images on Mount Rushmore. Moreover, Terrance Cruthcher should replace the Lincoln Memorial.

Deceptive people distort truth to fit their false narrative. I.e. “Hands up, don’t shoot” was a con. Even the philosophically liberal-led Justice Department at the time reached this conclusion. Yet it doesn’t matter since they boldly claim it supports a “greater purpose”—correcting institutional injustice.

As a result, in post-Ferguson politics the end justifies the means, even if it requires lying. Consequently, the belief that institutional injustice prevails in 2017 is a lie. There are individual injustices that occur—white to black and black to white—but those racially charged circumstances do not correlate to the justice system as a whole discriminating against people of color.

Activists Twist Reality

Good people have their lives ruined when activists twist reality to fit their agenda. It happened to Officer Darren Wilson, and they tried to do the same thing to Officer Brentley Vinson of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department last year.

Vinson was the officer involved in the shooting with Keith Lamont Scott. If you remember, they tried desperately hard to push the narrative that Scott was merely carrying a “book,” when it was really a .380 caliber handgun—one that he refused to drop despite many demands to do so.

The case was stacked against Vinson from the beginning, including implicit media bias. CNN aired an edited version of the video that omitted officers shouting for the suspect to drop the gun. Police are heard ordering Scott to drop the weapon no fewer than nine or ten times in the unedited version.

Law Enforcement Today reported the deceptive edit in a feature that included both versions of the video. 

Selective Talking Points

When this incident occurred, absent from the national debate was an acknowledgment that five white men were also shot and killed by law enforcement officers in other areas of the country the same day as Scott was confronted and killed.

Activists fall short of understanding the difference between justified homicide and murder; or simply refuse to accept reality since their cause trumps truth.

Black Men With a Proud Heritage

Both Vinson, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney are black men. I am sure they are proud of their heritage. Yet activists had to minimize their involvement as nothing short of brainwashing.

The NAACP perpetuated the false narrative following the shooting with this absurd statement:

“Many black people who become police officers become blue, not black,” the organization, said at the time. “In order for you to survive in a police department, you take on the police department’s ideology, ways of life, and culture.”

In other words, the value found in being a peacekeeper cannot be combined with your background if you are black. Thank goodness men and women of color have chosen to make a difference, despite prejudicial—anti-law enforcement—statements disseminated by the NAACP.

Law enforcement desperately needs qualified people from all walks of life to be the gatekeepers of their respective communities.

Facts Confronting the Myth of Institutional Injustices

Jeffrey Higgins authored a phenomenal piece for Law Enforcement Today titled, “End the Myth.” The following excerpt was taken from his article:

The Washington Post’s police shootings database has more comprehensive statistics than the numbers reported by the FBI. According to the 2016 database, police used deadly force to kill 963 people. Of those killed, 465 were white, 233 were black, 160 were Hispanic, 42 were other races, and the race of 63 victims was unknown. Over 95 percent of those killed were men.

Out of the 233 blacks killed by police, 175 possessed a weapon, 13 had a toy weapon, and 15 were in vehicles, which can be used as weapons. Only 17 of the black men killed by police were confirmed to be unarmed, according to the database. Being unarmed does not make a shooting unjustified, but these are usually the most controversial shootings.

The 2016 statistics on police shootings were not radically different from the previous year, though the 2015 numbers were higher. In 2015, police shot and killed 991 people and there was an attack in progress in at least 730 of those cases. Blacks comprised 258 out of the people killed and 38 of them were confirmed to be unarmed.

Now, put these numbers into context. According to the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 750,340 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States, as of 2012. The 17 unarmed black men killed by police in 2016 give us a ratio of 44,137 officers for every one unarmed black person shot by police.

In 2015, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, there were an estimated 10,797,088 arrests made by police in the United States. Assuming the 2016 numbers are similar, that’s one shooting of an unarmed black person out of every 635,122 arrests.

 In 2011, according to a survey by the FBI’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 22.8% of the population had one or more face-to-face contacts with police. As of July 2016, there were approximately 323,148,587 people in the United States, of which approximately 13.3 percent, or 42,978,762, were black. If the rate of black interactions with the police is at least equal to the population average, approximately 9,799,157 blacks had contact with police. That’s one unarmed black killed by police out of every 576,421 contacts between police and blacks.

The 2015 and 2016 statistics on police shootings show a very small number of unarmed blacks shot and killed by police compared to the size of the population, the number of police, the number of arrests, and the amount of contacts between the public and the police. Despite what is portrayed in the media and repeated by politicians, there is no epidemic.

After concluding a persuasive argument, Higgins ends the report with this:

However, while all deaths are serious, the statistics clearly show that police are not murdering unarmed blacks in large numbers. Furthermore, racism is not a proven motivation for disproportionate outcomes.

Furthermore, consider that 57,180 police officers were physically assaulted in 2016 while doing their job. What does this say about the “progressive” American culture? It doesn’t sound like “progress” to me.

Threats to Black Men

Law Enforcement Today also compiled a piece titled, “Threats to Black Men Do Not Come From Police Officers.”

These details are documented in the article:

  • Black homicide victims jumped by nearly 900 per year since the Black Lives Matter movement took root in 2014.
  • The number of blacks killed by police dipped from 259 in 2015 to 233 in 2016, with 2017 so far coming in below both years with 175 deaths as of Oct. 12.

“The majority of victims of that homicide surge have been black,” said researcher Heather Mac Donald. “They were killed overwhelmingly by black criminals, not by the police and not by whites.”

Reporter Goes to the Police Academy

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department invited FOX 46 Charlotte and other media members to see—and feel—how difficult it is to take down someone who is resisting arrest.

There are a lot of questions you have to ask yourself, David Sentendry reported. “Does this person have a weapon? What are their intentions? It’s a case-by-case basis. One reporter was asked to take down several police recruits without punching, kicking or hitting them in any way. This is a controlled environment where they knew everything would be OK. – the real thing would surely get your heart racing,” he wrote.

In the video below Sentendry is put through some basic arrest and control training. Like so many reporters have learned before his experience, he was surprised how difficult it was.

Even when reporters experience these fundamental training exercises, law enforcement still has a difficult time getting reasonable treatment during high profile events.

Oklahoma City

With activists leading the way, people tend to place the blame on law enforcement for violent acts precipitated by unlawful conduct. i.e. Oklahoma City Police Officer Betty Shelby’s confrontation with Terence Crutcher.

Shelby said she shot Crutcher out of fear because he didn’t obey commands to lie on the ground and appeared to reach inside his SUV for what she thought was a gun. His behavior was also consistent with someone under the influence of a controlled substance, a fact that was proven true.

Shelby was acquitted of murder, although Crutcher’s family believes differently. However, her actions were not due to institutional injustice. Regardless of your perception of her use of lethal force, Shelby’s actions were the result of her perception of perilous danger. She was confronted with a set of circumstances that were unfavorable by a person who was uncooperative. She did not awake the morning of the shooting with the thought, I think I’ll kill a black man today.

Institutional Injustice Is Absurd

In 2017 institutional injustice is not only a lie; it’s absurd. It predisposes that police officers, prosecutors, and jurists from New York to Los Angeles have conspired against a certain group of people—Black America, or other minority groups. It just isn’t so! Quite frankly, it should be insulting to the hundreds of thousands of minorities working within the justice system—as cops, prosecutors, judges, probation and parole officers, etc.

When asked, most activists cannot articulate their “end game.” All they can do is continue to spew the same talking points and list the names of deceased “icons” who lost their life at the hands of law enforcement officers. Almost all of the decedents have two things in common. First, they violated the law in one-way or another. Second, they failed to comply with lawful orders to submit to authority.

So, what they’re really saying is they do not want to abide by the social construct to peacefully assimilate. With rights come responsibility. And abiding by laws crafted by the will of the people is part of the agreement.

Getting Personal – Racism Is a Two-Way Street

Nothing in this article defends racism. I abhor it as much as anyone, and get angry when I see it. Sadly, the stain of discrimination and slavery on American history remains in the heart of some people today.

But it is a two-way street.

As a white man, I do not know what it is like to walk in the shoes of a minority. But I do know what it is like to be white in a gang-infested-minority neighborhood. And it is not pretty!

While working undercover I have experienced potentially lethal encounters on no fewer than three occasions. First, I had a shotgun pulled on me by a minority who wanted me out of his “hood” in Downey. Second, I had a person try to carjack my undercover vehicle until I pulled my handgun to defend myself in Santa Ana. Third, I had to pull my weapon on a person who challenged my presence by threatening great bodily injury since I was on “his turf”—which was the public housing projects in Los Angeles.

Had I not been armed, it was my assessment that I would have been victimized in each instance for being viewed as “majority” in a “minority” neighborhood.

So no, I do not know what it is like to be a minority, but I know there is a lot of “hate” being thrown around by people of all colors.

Social Experiment

To further illustrate the point, watch Joey Salads social experiment in this YouTube video:

Know Facts and Speak Truth

Law Enforcement Today is not blind to police officers who’ve compromised their oath. As a matter of fact, we frequently report these high profile affairs. But they do not equate to institutional injustice. They are individuals that have corrupted their soul and “gone south.” As such, we rely upon the blind scales of justice to remedy the violations, just as we do with ALL people involved in criminal conduct.

While I have no illusions this article will halt the onslaught directed at cops across America, I simply hope that police officers and their families will know the facts and speak the truth.

Be Safe!

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

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Author
Jim McNeff

Jim McNeff worked in military and civilian law enforcement for 31 years. He retired as a police lieutenant with the Fountain Valley Police Department in Orange County, California. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief with Law Enforcement Today. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Southwest University and graduated from the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) course, Leadership in Police Organizations. He authored "The Spirit behind Badge 145" and "Justice Revealed." He is married and has three adult children and three grandchildren. You can contact him at [email protected] or view his website www.badge145.com.

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