There is a growing crime problem in America. And it is directly related to the leftist media and political campaign to accuse the police of misconduct in case after case, before the facts are even known. After the cases are investigated and the facts demonstrate that the police acted properly and according to their training, the media and politicians often still blame the police in spite of the exculpatory facts and evidence. All too often these calumnies have created a false and negative impression in the collective public opinion, and this sometimes leads to rioting by disaffected youth. And families of criminals who were shot or otherwise injured justifiably when they attacked police officers, emboldened and encouraged by the media fiction wind up suing police departments. Sometimes cities settle with the families even though the police were not at fault, just to get the case out of the news.
Mayors pressure their police chiefs to issue policies forcing police officers to ignore minor criminal activity rather than risk bad media coverage. Sometimes mayors even speak out against police officers involved in shootings or controversial cases before they even have the facts. This kills morale among police officers and encourages cops to avoid pursuing criminals for minor offenses.
A police officer in Long Beach California describes the atmosphere and the factors in his State which have led to an increase in crime. The voters, influenced by leftist propaganda, voted to reduce certain felonies to misdemeanors, restrict DNA collection, and prohibit prior offenses from affecting sentencing of offenders. Offenders get lighter sentencing as a result. Police officers are being told to overlook “small crimes” rather than risk an escalation of force, presumably because departments fear more riots over legitimate uses of force. “Avoiding confrontation” as a goal now trumps enforcing the law in many cases. There are two big reasons for this: 1- the US DOJ is pushing avoidance of confrontation, and 2- local governments are seeking to avoid the violent civil unrest which so often occurs when reporters sensationalize the news with false reports of police misconduct. Leftist news media conduct is more unethical today than ever before. They not only jump to the conclusion that police officers acted improperly, they also persist in airing these stories after investigations prove they acted according to their training, within the law, and up to the current standard of conduct.
“No other single factor is playing a bigger role in the attack on the police than media deception. They have led the public into believing a very dangerous pop culture depiction of police work, which includes a false belief that police can only shoot at suspects who are actively shooting a gun. They pander to the Monday morning quarterbacks and use language specifically designed to imply you are the problem. They are salivating at the chance to get body camera footage because it will allow them to second-guess your split-second life-or-death decisions for all eternity. The truth is sacrificed in the pursuit of their financial gain that is masked under the facade of encouraging public debate. They will encourage a controversy or a riot simply to help themselves. You are an expendable resource needed to promote their product. The public wants to instantaneously judge you, and trial by media is becoming the expected norm.” Officer Jim Foster, Long Beach, CA Police Department
The American Thinker describes some of these issues in an article titled Police Practicing Defensive Medicine :
“Human beings, particularly criminals, don’t behave in a rational or predictable manner. Incomplete information adds to the mix. Is that real or toy gun? Is the suspect waving a knife for show or is it directed at my throat? Just as in medicine, decisions must be made quickly and with incomplete or conflicting information. While serious injury or death can result from a wrong decision, in medicine, unlike in law enforcement, the physician won’t be shot dead if they make the wrong decision.
Six Baltimore police officers were indicted in connection with the death of Freddie Gray who died while in police custody after arrest. Did the police officers commit “police malpractice”? Did they deviate from the “standard of care” during the arrest and detention process? Who knows? Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, before any investigation of the facts and circumstances, saw that they were indicted. A trial awaits the policemen, but meanwhile their lives are ruined, professionally and financially.
Move west to Ferguson, Missouri where police officer Darren Wilson had his life turned upside down after shooting the “gentle giant” Michael Brown. The “hands up don’t shoot” meme, perpetuated by the media, politicians, and athletes turned out to be a lie. Although accused of police malpractice, Officer Wilson actually did adhere to the “standard of care” of policing.
President Obama has also joined the knee-jerk chorus of blaming the police before knowing any facts. In 2009 he claimed Cambridge, Massachusetts police “acted stupidly” in arresting a Harvard professor. Yet the president acknowledged, “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played.”
What’s a cop to do? While he can’t order extra tests, he can avoid the “high risk” patients as physicians do. If he observes criminal activity, he can look the other way or take his time responding until the crime is over. The result is defensive law enforcement. And like defensive medicine, it is on the rise.
Predictably, arrests are down. In Baltimore, “Police are booking fewer than half the number of people they pulled off the streets last year.” Crime is up and the police are nowhere to be seen. “May 2015 is already the deadliest month in 15 years” in Baltimore as police are playing defense. As one Baltimore resident described, “Before it was over-policing. Now there’s no police.”
Ditto in New York City, where arrests and tickets are also on the decline. Remember Eric Garner who died during his arrest in Staten Island? And the reaction of Mayor de Blasio, throwing the cops under the bus based on the “dangers” they pose? Yet despite all the accusations, the cops were cleared of any wrongdoing. The police, knowing they don’t have the support of their boss when they do their job and try to enforce the law, will stop enforcing the law. Hence the drop in arrests.
Medicine and law enforcement are inexact sciences. The vast majority of physicians and police officers are dedicated to their professions and strive to do their best, often under challenging circumstances. Incomplete or conflicting information means they make judgment calls. Usually correct but sometimes not. And when the wrong call is made, physicians face a malpractice lawsuit and police face indictment and prison.
The natural response is to avoid the high-risk situations. Stop accepting new patients, particularly sick patients with a greater chance of complications. Order extra tests to avoid missing a diagnosis, however unlikely. For police, just look the other way. Take your time responding to a distress call. Don’t make the arrest. And watch the crime rate climb.