During my police days, street cops hated “shotgun supervision.” Shotgun supervision occurs when supervisors notice what may or not be a problem exhibited by one officer, and impose “solutions” that effect everyone. Instead of focusing on the single officer that may or may not have a problem, they blast everyone. This not only insults and angers the officers that aren’t doing anything wrong, since supervisors are not directly talking to the person they think is doing something wrong, that person probably won’t get the message.
Now we have a federal version of shotgun supervision. Attorney General Eric Holder, on his way out the door, has decided that every cop in New York is racist, and just in case any aren’t, they’re all guilty of “unconscious bias.” The NY Post has the story:
The NYPD can expect to undergo the same kind of ‘de-biasing’ training that Holder put departments in Seattle, New Orleans, St. Louis and several other cities through while investigating them for alleged civil-rights violations.
Federal trainers teach cops not only to think twice about stopping or questioning suspects of color, but also to ignore signs of criminal behavior and threat indicators they’ve gleaned from years of street experience. That puts their own lives in danger — and risks the safety of residents.
The Justice Department’s unprecedented shift from prosecuting intentional discrimination to investigating unconscious or ‘implicit’ bias began long before Ferguson, Mo. It’s part of a ‘racial justice’ movement launched by the Obama administration to ‘reform’ the criminal-justice system.
It’s a brilliant and inherently evil and corrupt technique. If bias is “unconscious,” the DOJ doesn’t have to engage in anything so trivial as actual proof that individuals or entire police agencies are biased. The presumption of innocence is turned on its head and everyone is guilty of racism. Federal oversight and mandates costing hundreds of millions of dollars can be forced on any law enforcement agency–and the cities that employ them–at the whim of corrupt, racist federal bureaucrats and politicians.
In the past five years, Holder has more than doubled the number of police department probes compared with the previous five years, opening more than 20 investigations and pressuring 15 consent orders to stop ‘biased policing’ and other alleged violations.
That many? Well the DOJ must have had a great deal of evidence to support such actions, right? Not so much.
What’s striking about these federally mandated orders is the lack of evidence investigators found to show cops stopped and arrested black people simply because of bias. They assumed, but couldn’t prove, they targeted blacks due to an automatic and unfair association between them and crime and not because they actually committed crimes.
Take the Seattle Police Department, which Justice alleged engaged in a ‘pattern and practice’ of discrimination toward blacks.
Wow! A “pattern and practice of discrimination toward blacks!” Well, let’s see the evidence:
The feds based their findings largely on ‘implicit bias,’ arguing cops ‘subconsciously’ discriminated by making ‘disproportionate stops of non-whites.’
‘Biased policing,’ Justice explained in its findings letter to the Seattle PD, ‘is not primarily about the ill-intentioned officer but rather the officer who engages in discriminatory practices subconsciously,’ adding that even a well-meaning cop can violate the civil rights of black suspects by operating ‘on implicit biases that impact that officer’s behavior or perceptions.
Oh, I see. A police officer doesn’t have to actually, you know, discriminate, in order to discriminate. And of course, the implicit or subconscious biases are the most insidious of all because the poor dumb cops aren’t actually aware of them or consciously acting on them. But surely, there must be more evidence of bias than that? Surely the DOJ actually did a competent investigation?
The department said ‘many in the community perceive that pedestrian stops are overused and target minorities.’ It admits it couldn’t verify the accuracy of the complaints and never bothered to get the cops’ side of the story.
In a 2012 consent decree, Holder ordered Seattle to soften its use-of-force rules and train brass and rank and file alike in ‘bias-free’ policing that recognizes and eliminates ‘implicit bias,’ while disciplining any conduct tied to it.
This kind of idiocy can have only one effect: to prevent police officers from doing their jobs, particularly in relation to the populations most like to commit the largest number of and most violent crimes. So it has been in Seattle:
Since Holder stepped in, crime is up 13% overall in Seattle. But it’s not just minor infractions. It’s the biggies — aggravated assaults up 14%, car theft up a whopping 44% and murders up 21%.
More than 120 Seattle police officers, detectives and sergeants have filed a lawsuit against Holder, claiming his de-biasing order has jeopardized their own safety.
The 80-page suit, filed in US District Court, contends the reforms have created ‘hesitation and paralysis’ among officers, robbing them of their ability to make reasonable, split-second judgments in the line of duty.
‘There is evidence of a dramatic decrease in proactive police work to investigate and stop crime,’ the suit says.
Officers have stopped wearing Tasers and responding to backup calls out of fear their actions will be second-guessed by federal bias monitors. Beat cops have even retreated from suspects ‘who threatened [them] with death or serious injury.
None of this is surprising. Street cops are highly attuned to their “superiors” and political undercurrents. Their jobs, careers and lives depend upon being able to rely upon the experience, good will, and rational responses of their superiors. They have to know, from day to day, that their bosses will deal with them reasonably, and that any complaints against them will be professionally investigated. If not, they become absolutely risk-averse, doing only the minimum possible. Why risk injury, death, firing, even criminal charges when one’s superiors can’t be trusted to behave fairly and rationally? The interference of the Holder DOJ has provoked absolutely predictable results.
In Las Vegas, police have banned patrol officers from touching African-American suspects during foot chases. Only partners uninvolved in the chase can step in and use force to arrest the fleeing perp.
In Fayetteville, NC, where Justice started retraining cops in October, searches of black suspects are no longer allowed — even when the suspect gives consent. ‘Hot-spot’ policing in high-crime neighborhoods is also considered biased against blacks.
What’s that you say? That’s outrageous? Ah, but what you fail to appreciate is it’s all science-based! Progressives are the party of science, after all.
Social psychologist Lorie Fridell is credited with pioneering the ‘unconscious bias’ theory in policing. She developed her ‘Fair and Impartial Policing’ program with generous grants from Holder’s department and has trained officers in more than 250 precincts and agencies across the country, including Seattle’s.
Like Holder, Fridell wants to ban all criminal profiling that takes a suspect’s race into account. She believes legal definitions of unlawful discrimination are ‘outdated’ and should be broadened to include even unquantifiable prejudice against people of color that occurs ‘outside our conscious awareness.’
While she admits the link between blacks and crime is statistically strong — African-Americans commit 53% of all murders and are 10 times more likely to commit violent crimes than whites — she trains cops to resist that ‘stereotype.
Well of course! What are indisputable facts when compared with social justice suppositions?
According to her PowerPoint presentations, she recommends routinely testing cops for implicit bias and ‘unlearning’ their experience associating blacks with crime through positive role-playing exercises.
Such exercises involve creating scenarios where black people help cops, while white people act as the bad guys. They also associate images of blacks with the word ‘safe.’
By retraining cops’ minds to perceive blacks as less of a threat, Fridell hopes they’ll be less likely to use lethal force against black suspects.
Problem is, she’s never produced any empirical results to prove her theories actually work to reduce discriminatory policing. She admits it’s impossible to look at the actions of an individual cop and know for certain they were influenced by prejudice.
Police officers know well the well-intentioned ministrations of people like Fridell, though I don’t, for a moment, think her well-intentioned. I can just imagine some of the role-playing exercises:
DOJ Racial Facilitator: Now Officer Smith, I want you to imagine you are a white, elderly nun about to hold up a liquor store, and you, Officer Jones, will be a 19 year-old, stoned, black gang banger about to perform neurosurgery for free on a handicapped orphan…
For an example of that kind of thing, review my true story about a well-intentioned plan to combat not prejudice, but fetal alcohol syndrome. Fortunately, not every black police officer is drinking the Kool-Aid:
Every complaint I’ve ever gotten that suggests that an officer is out there making stops and making law-enforcement decisions based solely on race has turned [out] not to be true,’ said Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a Democrat.
It’s not clear if the NYPD will, like other cities, undertake such federal training for all its officers and cadets. But Mayor de Blasio recently met with President Obama and Holder on the subject.
And the judge who last year put the brakes on NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice in high-crime minority areas recommended ‘unconscious racial bias’ training in her ruling.
In a recent article, in fact, Fridell praised US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who in a widely criticized decision wrote, ‘Unconscious bias could help explain the otherwise puzzling fact that NYPD officers check ‘furtive movements’ in 48% of the stops of blacks . . . but only 40% of whites.’
In prescribing ‘remedies’ for the NYPD, Scheindlin suggested ‘it may . . . be appropriate to conduct training for officers on the effect of unconscious racial bias.
Not only will this sort of madness inhibit proactive policing, it will inhibit police recruiting, or at the very least, ensure that only people particularly unsuited to active and effective law enforcement and crime suppression will apply and be hired.
That translates to a far safer and more productive work environment for criminals and far less safety and security for the law-abiding. Not only that, it establishes a precedent for federal involvement in pursuing thought crimes, even thoughts of which people are unaware. The Obama DOJ is beginning with police officers. How long before they begin pursuing citizens for inappropriate, unconscious thoughts, beliefs or attitudes? Brought to you by President Obama and Attorney General Holder–and surely whoever replaces him. Hope and change indeed.