Someone asked me this week to describe what I do on TV and radio. Simple, I replied, Remember how your mom told you to never discuss politics, religion and race in polite company? On a daily basis I like to cover all three, typically all at once.
Earlier this month in a case of mistaken identity a fifth grader in Newark was chased by police with guns drawn. The cops had been chasing an armed robber who eluded them leading them to chase and confront the young man. It sparked an emotional social media post with a crying kid and mom. Initially it sounds like a terrible incident begging the question how could the cops be so aggressive and wrong to mistake a ten year old as the robbery suspect? When you look a little deeper into the issue you uncover that the kid is large for his age and after the police lost sight of the suspect they encountered the ten year old who was running away from them. According to the boy and his family, he was playing basketball when his ball went into the street and when he saw the officers running he assumed it was for him for playing in the street and he ran.
Thankfully this didn’t end badly. Remember when Tamir Rice was killed by police in Cleveland? The police were not charged because they had been called to the scene with a man waving a gun and in the split second that the officer had to make a decision, he fired at a kid holding a toy gun. Of course the gun looked real and the officer followed procedure. But you can’t undo what happened and a young life is gone.
The reaction from Black Lives Matter and their proponents has been an all out attack on cops going beyond specific incidents. Using select facts hiding the true picture of law enforcement and the reality of what cops face and do every day. What’s ironic is the sad truth of who is really hurt by the movement. Here’s a recap of the real facts involving police and the public from one of my previous posts.
My take is two fold regarding the incident in Newark.
First, this is a great indicator of how the aggressive policing is working in Newark under the leadership of Mayor Ras Baraka and his director of public safety Anthony Ambrose . They call it “Quality of LIfe” policing and it’s helping get the crime problem under control. Yes, they did catch the original suspect.
The second thing is how negative the culture has turned on police officers. When you’ve got families telling kids to be scared of police because of a few tragic incidents (all of which have a reasonable explanation) the vicious cycle of increased racial tension and rising crime continues. According to the FBI, 80% of crimes are gang related. That means the cities are exactly where you need aggressive policing like Quality of Life, Broken Windows, Stop & Frisk. Young boys in the impacted neighborhoods need to build a trust and respect with the officers charged with making those neighborhoods safe. Shame on black leaders who are cultivating an irrational fear of police among black youths. The entire movement started on the lie from Ferguson “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and has been perpetuated by isolating certain statistics to paint a picture of cops preying on unarmed blacks. Young black kids and me need to help the police track down the criminals. They need to be running toward the police…not away.