Walsh: Biden’s criminal justice plan reads like Black Lives Matter wish list (op-ed)

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In an article posted Tuesday at city-journal.org, the inimitable Heather Mac Donald warns us with facts and Joe Biden’s own words about the Biden threat to law enforcement. 

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. 

In her article, Mac Donald writes:

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were unambiguous throughout their campaign: they believe that racism pervades policing and all other aspects of the criminal justice system.

“Biden’s plan for ‘strengthening America’s commitment to justice’ reads like a Black Lives Matter wish list; there is no reason to think that a Biden-Harris justice department will not implement it.”

Many of us remember the overreach and knee jerk placating of the Obama DOJ after the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland.

Justice Department attorneys under the direction of Eric Holder regularly opened so-called “Pattern or Practice” investigations designed (however skewed) to identify department practices deemed “systemically racist” or in direct violation of citizen’s civil rights.

Mac Donald pointed out that these investigations nearly always resulted in settlements (consent decrees) that “placed police departments under the control of a non-elected federal monitor and a federal judge; monitors who collected millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded fees while they held departments to draconian deadlines and mindless paper-pushing mandates for years on end.”

In many cities this heavy-handed federal meddling, even the mere specter of anti-law and order DC pencil pushers descending on the department to implement all manner of feel good measures, was arguably one of the first effective broadsides in this current war on cops.

In November 2018, the Trump Administration’s DOJ amended these practices, severely (and sensibly) limiting the federal government’s role in policing the police.

Mac Donald said measures could only be used as a last resort when it was determined that an “agency’s alleged constitutional violations were truly systematic and unlikely corrected absent a de facto federal takeover of the department.”

In short, common sense was injected into a non-sensical, anti-law and order practice.

Mac Donald continued:

“This sensible set of guidelines will now be torn up if Biden’s narrow victory holds. Biden’s criminal-justice plan promises to ‘reverse’ the Trump ‘limitations’ and to ‘prioritize’ the use of consent decrees.

“Police departments are now on notice: they may expect a knock on the door at any time from a Washington attorney, demanding truckloads of documents as the prelude to years of federal interference and budget-busting compliance rules and fees.”

Mac Donald explained that the justice blueprint goes even further than President Obama’s policy by conducting “pattern-or-practice investigations” of prosecutors’ offices, indicating that they also engage in “systemic misconduct.”

Mac Donald said that the Biden administration plans to create a federal task force to root out discriminatory practices in arrest and prosecutorial decisions.

Mac Donald points out that Biden’s plan would strip officers and prosecutors of discretion in arrests and prosecutions yet return to the old system allowing federal judges “unchecked discretion in sentencing.”

Further, Mac Donald claimed:

“A Biden administration would push for legislation eliminating all mandatory-minimum federal sentences for violent street crime and drug trafficking; it will provide states with incentives to eliminate states’ own mandatory sentencing rules.”

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The Biden justice department would push states to report racial and ethnic data on encounters and arrest, allowing for increases in racial profiling lawsuits.

Mac Donald also said department grants could depend on racial and ethnic factors.

“It will condition certain federal grants on the race of new officer recruits. It will end cash bail and eliminate even the threat of jail for recurrent failure to pay law-enforcement fines.”

For years Mac Donald, Charles Murray, Colin Flaherty and others have courageously screamed truth and common sense into the oncoming storm. For their bravery and efforts, they have been labeled racists and white supremacists. They have put their careers, reputations, and even their lives at risk.

Mac Donald has no friends in the flame throwing, race baiting industry but as a wise statesman said only a few short weeks ago: “You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.”

And, like it or not, here are the facts according to Mac Donald:

“In Los Angeles, though blacks are only nine percent of the population, they committed 44 percent of all violent crime in 2019. Whites are 28 percent of the city’s population but committed eight percent of violent crime in 2019 (mostly domestic incidents as opposed to street crime).”

She added that in New York City in 2018, blacks committed 72 percent of all shootings despite being only 23 percent of the city’s population. Whites are 34 percent of the population and were responsible for only three percent of the shooting during that time.

Blacks committed almost one hundred percent of all homicides in the city of St. Louis in 2018, according to Mac Donald, despite being less than half the population. She continued:

“Such disparities are replicated in virtually every American city. Their implications for policing are huge. They mean that the police cannot respond to criminal behavior without having a disparate impact on blacks, since blacks commit the lion’s share of violent street crime.

“The Biden plan aims to ‘eliminate racial disparities’ in the criminal justice system; the only way to do so is to eliminate the criminal law itself.”

Police administrations have intentionally withheld the actual statistic because they do not want to be labeled as racist if they point out the truth.

She summed up the point:

“Better to keep Americans in the dark and let cops on the beat take the brunt of anti-police agitation, the thinking seems to go. But the coming wave of ideologically driven federal intrusion makes such reticence reckless.”

Police departments large and small; urban, suburban, and rural need to get out in front of this impending catastrophe. It’s time for the rank and file, all Americans who back the blue, to demand elected and appointed heads of law enforcement to tell the truth; confronting the facts and getting their heads out of their politically correct butts.

There are literally thousands of lives at stake; many of them blue; on-the-street men and women in uniform just trying to serve, protect, and get home to their families. The overwhelming majority of endangered lives, however, are the innocent black and brown urban residents, many of them children, caught in the circular firing squad of violence and dangerously ineffective, politically correct, mob-pandering nonsense. These are the lives that are supposed to matter.

If we, as a nation, don’t get behind a return to pro-active policing, the violent events which have played out since May in urban areas across America will not only continue, they will metastasize into something far uglier and much harder to destroy.

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