“SINCE the year began, police officers have killed 804 people, roughly three a day. In recent weeks, police officers fatally shot Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Alfred Olango in a San Diego suburb. Both men were black and unarmed.When the police beat or kill an unarmed black man, what impact does it have on a city and on its black community in particular? Until recently, we have been unable to answer this question with solid data, even as the national debate about this issue has grown more contentious.”
“In the six months after Mr. Jude’s story was published, homicides in Milwaukee jumped 32 percent. Our research suggests that this happened not because the police “got fetal” but because many members of the black community stopped calling 911, their trust in the justice system in tatters. Research shows that urban neighborhoods with higher levels of legal cynicism also have higher rates of violent crime: When citizens lose faith in the police, they are more apt to take the law into their own hands.
Our findings confirm what the people of Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other cities have been saying all along: that police violence rips apart the social contract between the criminal justice system and the citizenry, suppressing one of the most basic forms of civic engagement, calling 911 for help. The promotion of public safety requires both effective policing and an engaged community. We cannot have one without the other.
No act of police violence is an isolated incident and it should not be treated as such. Each new tragedy contributes to and reawakens the collective trauma of black communities, which have been subjected to state-sanctioned assaults — from slave whippings and lynching campaigns to Jim Crow enforcement and mass incarceration — for generations. If acts of excessive police force result in community-level consequences, then cities should implement community-level interventions in the aftermath of such acts.”
Many good comments, such as:
“I’m white, come from what’s called an economically upper-middle class background, educated at good schools, and have a law degree. A few years ago while sitting outside of my apartment, a neighbor I was feuding with called the NYPD and told them I was a peeping tom: When the police showed up I went to greet them, not knowing what she’d told them. About 6 or 7 NYPD thugs slammed me to the ground and cuffed me – inside of my own apartment building. No questions, didn’t ask for ID, didn’t tell me what was going on. When they found out I lived there, they called the rubber room ambulance and intended to cover their mistake by having me carted away to crazy land. I was saved only by EMTs who closely and carefully questioned me, and let me tell you, when they found out what the cops had pulled with regards to the EMTs, they were very, very agitated. (Turns out, EMTs don’t like being pulled away from real emergencies to cover for the errors of a rampaging NYPD).
In those moments I realized (finally, many would say) that the NYPD are thugs and bullies and are not on my side. As a white person I would call them only as a last resort. The photos I have of the abuse I received while getting slammed to the floor and forcibly cuffed are yet some of thousands of examples — cops are out of control.”