[guest post by Dana]
WSJ’s Jason Riley took the president to task over his recent comments about Ferguson:
Riley was happy that Obama brought up black crime, “but then he attributed that black criminality — he suggested it stems from poverty or a racist criminal justice system, which is nonsense.”
“The black crime rate in 1960 was lower than it is today,” he said. “Was there less racism or less poverty than in 1960? This is about black behavior. It needs to be addressed head-on. It’s about attitudes toward the criminal justice system in these neighborhoods, where young black men have no sense of what it means to be a male or what it means to be black.”
“And he needs to talk about that head-on,” Riley repeated, “not dismiss it as a product of poverty or racism, which is a dodge.”
Riley also rebuked “hustlers” like Michael Eric Dyson and Sharpton who are pushing what Riley refers to as the false narrative that “black men live in fear of being shot by cops in those neighborhoods.” He disagrees:
I know something about growing up black and male in the inner city,” Riley explained, “and it’s not that hard to avoid getting shot by a cop. They pull you over, you answer their questions. you’re on your way.”
“The real difficulty is not getting shot by other black people, if you are a young black man in these neighborhoods!” Riley continued. “And again, that is something we need to talk about more! Cops are not the problem.”
“Cops are not producing these black bodies in the morgues every weekend in Chicago, in New York and Detroit and so forth,” he concluded. “That’s not cops. Those are black people shooting black people.”
Sharing his unique perspective, which dovetails with Riley’s comments, a 17-year veteran with the LAPD wrote today:
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
[If] you believe (or know) that the cop stopping you is violating your rights or is acting like a bully, I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment. Worse, initiating a physical confrontation is a sure recipe for getting hurt. Police are legally permitted to use deadly force when they assess a serious threat to their or someone else’s life. Save your anger for later, and channel it appropriately. Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don’t challenge a cop during a stop.