by Christopher Paslay
Spreading propaganda about law enforcement is no way to improve relations between communities and cops.
Recently, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors introduced new language for criminals, changing “convicted felon” to “justice-involved person,” and juvenile “delinquent” to a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”
“We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done,” Supervisor Matt Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”
Haney’s reasoning makes some sense. From both a psychological and sociological standpoint, using words with positive connotations — or, by contrast, refraining from using words with negative connotations — does affect perception, and can have an impact on behavior.
When it comes to social justice, the influence of perception on individual behavior is taken very seriously. This may explain why unfavorable facts and data about minority groups — such as father absenteeism and out-of-wedlock births — are regularly ignored by liberals and the mainstream media. Putting forward mainly positive images of African Americans, the thinking goes, will limit negative stereotypes, thus creating a strictly positive social perception of the black community which in turn will influence behavior and help bring about equality and justice.
Curiously, this same approach isn’t used when dealing with the challenges facing America’s police departments. When it comes to cops, liberals and their media allies prefer using words with negative connotations, and surprisingly, do much to portray police in a negative light. Apparently, trying to stay positive in order to prevent negative stereotypes and inflammatory misconceptions now takes a back seat to highlighting negligence and transgressions. But the campaign to disparage America’s cops goes beyond simply pointing out their mistakes: liberals go the extra mile, using propaganda and flat out falsehoods to systematically smear our country’s law enforcement officers.
On August 9th, the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris tweeted, “Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement.” Elizabeth Warren did the same thing, tweeting: “5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times.”
The fact that two high profile women such as Harris and Warren would so irresponsibly misrepresent the facts of Brown’s death is cause for concern. Brown wasn’t murdered by a police officer. After a thorough investigation by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department, it was determined that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown in self-defense; the DOJ didn’t prosecute and Wilson wasn’t indicted. As cited in the DOJ’s official report, when Wilson tried to stop the six-foot-four, 290-pound Michael Brown (who was walking down the middle of the street after stealing a box of cigarillos and assaulting a store owner), Brown shoved Officer Wilson back into his patrol car, punched him in the face, and tried to take his gun. The gun went off, hitting Brown in the hand, and Brown ran. When Officer Wilson got out of his car and ordered Brown to stop, the 290-pound man turned around, charged at Wilson, and was ultimately shot and killed.
Incredibly, the website PolitiFact, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for fact checking, refused to issue a ruling on whether Harris and Brown made a false claim when they used the word murdered. “Because the significance of Harris’ and Warrens’ use of the word is open to some dispute, we won’t be rating their tweets on the Truth-O-Meter,” the fact check website wrote.
On August 16, the Los Angeles Times published an article with much of the same divisive anti-police undertones. Headlined, “Getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America,” the article proceeded to cherry pick data and misrepresent information to portray cops in the worst light possible. As PJ Media writer Jack Dunphy pointed out:
Most readers of course will not delve beyond the headline, but even those who do will not encounter anything resembling journalism as it was once practiced. Rather, they’ll find more than 1,400 words devoted to the racial-grievance agenda that drives so much of what appears in the Los Angeles Times. And worse, not only is journalism itself perverted with the story, but so is science, for the story is presented as such on the page and was written by Amina Khan, who is billed on the paper’s website as a “science writer.”
But there is little that is scientific about Khan’s article. Although she provides a plethora of information to suggest that police are disproportionally violent toward minorities — and that such violence is a public health problem that has toxic effects on the physical and mental health of minority communities — Khan conveniently fails to fully explore the root causes of such violence, relying on the logical fallacy correlation implies causation, which is a favorite of liberals when trying to slander law enforcement and conjure up resentment against cops.
But correlation doesn’t imply causation, and when taking all available information into consideration, the truth becomes clear: police aren’t racist. In fact, a police officer is 18 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer. Amina Khan, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren would be wise to watch the PragerU video “Are the Police Racist?”, which, unlike the half-truths put out by dishonest liberals, gives the full picture of the issues facing cops and minority communities. Amazingly, this video is currently on YouTube’s “restricted” list, which means it will be filtered from being watched in schools and libraries. When Dennis Prager filed a formal complaint and demanded to know why, YouTube stated that this video wasn’t “appropriate for the younger audiences.” Prager’s lawyers have in turn sued YouTube and Google. (Click here to watch this 5 minute video.)
Here are some factual excerpts from the video not mentioned by the mainstream media:
A recent “deadly force” study by Washington State University researcher Lois James found that police officers were less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white or Hispanic ones in simulated threat scenarios. Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer analyzed more than 1,000 officer-involved shootings across the country. He concluded that there is zero evidence of racial bias in police shootings. In Houston, he found that blacks were 24 percent less likely than whites to be shot by officers even though the suspects were armed or violent.
Or this eye-popping statistic:
An analysis of the Washington Post’s Police Shooting Database and of Federal Crime Statistics reveals that fully 12 percent of all whites and Hispanics who die of homicide are killed by cops. By contrast, only four percent of black homicide victims are killed by cops.
Or these statistics, which explain why minorities are disproportionally targeted by cops:
According to the most recent study by the Department of Justice, although blacks were only about 15 percent of the population in the 75 largest counties in the US, they were charged with 62 percent of all robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults. In New York City, blacks commit over three-quarters of all shootings, though they are only 23 percent of the city’s population. Whites, by contrast, commit under two percent of all shootings in the city, though they are 34 percent of the population. New York’s crime disparities are repeated in virtually every racially diverse city in America. The real problem facing inner-city black communities today is not the police but criminals.
Of course, Los Angeles Times “science” writer Amina Khan didn’t mention these statistics. Social justice warriors like Khan never do. Why? Because just like in San Francisco, labeling someone a “felon” is like “a scarlet letter that they can never get away from,” and may lead to negative stereotypes. Better to silence those who bring up the other side of the argument. Just ask Kathy Zhu, who was stripped of her 2019 Miss Michigan crown because she had the nerve to tweet this about black murder rates: “Did you know that the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community first before blaming others.”
The real tragedy here is not that America’s police are being unfairly labeled racist, or that the divide between cops and communities may be widening as a result (or that people like Dennis Prager and Kathy Zhu are being silenced for speaking the truth), but that good, law abiding folks living in many minority communities are being harmed by the irresponsible rhetoric of the Los Angeles Times, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren. As stated in the PragerU video about supposed racist cops:
Police officers are backing off of proactive policing in black neighborhoods thanks to the false narrative that police officers are infected with homicidal bias. As a result, violent crime is going up, in cities with large black populations, homicides in 2015 rose anywhere from 54 percent in Washington DC to 90 percent in Cleveland. Overall, in the nation’s 56 largest cities, homicides in 2015 rose 17 percent, a nearly unprecedented one-year spike.
If we truly want to save lives and improve relations between communities and police, it’s time to end the double standard and start holding both sides accountable in a fair, proactive manner.