Opinion

WaPo Worried About Policing, GOP Governors, As Crime Rates Skyrocket

The Washington Post published an article Monday treating increased policing and Republican control as an area of concern in minority neighborhoods rather than the uptick in criminal behavior itself, and what might be causing it.

“On orders from [Missouri] Republican Gov. Eric Greitens” write Tim Craig and Emma Ockerman of the Post, “about two dozen troopers have laid claim to St. Louis highways that slice through some of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods, a move that has sparked concern among residents wary of heavy policing. It’s the first time in decades that state troopers have patrolled the city, Greitens said.”

With St. Louis facing the highest per capita homicide rates since the crack wars of the 1990s, the governor “for the first time in decades” has proposed that “Missouri state troopers will patrol four major highways in St. Louis, freeing up city police to focus on violent crime that has driven up the homicide rate” according to the Post.

In the first half of 2017, Baltimore is on pace to have the highest number of per capita homicides in the city’s history. Murder rates in the 30 largest U.S. cities rose 13.2 percent in 2015, and rose an estimated 14 percent in 2016, according to the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.

Concerned residents in Baltimore, desperate for some reprieve from the violence, launched a “nobody kill anybody” campaign for the first weekend of August, hoping to go 72 hours without a homicide. Forty hours into the weekend a man was shot and killed. Hours later, another man suffered the same fate.

In 2016, Detroit, Baltimore, and St. Louis recorded the highest per capita homicide rates of all major American cities.

“[I]n an era of increasingly polarized views on policing, Missouri’s intervention is unsettling some local residents who question the governor’s strategies and tone” write Craig and Ockerman. “The governors are all Republicans, and their actions come as Trump has used tough-on-crime rhetoric in response to law enforcement concerns.”

The Post’s report acknowledges the increase in violent crimes in big cities, including Baltimore, Nashville, Tulsa, and Little Rock, now “governors are reviving a role many had embraced from the 1960s through the early 1990s” the Post reports, paying little attention to a likely cause for the increased role and instead focusing on the potential maladies of a Republican response.

Some of the research studying the surge in crime rates, almost exclusively in black neighborhoods, has become known as the “Ferguson effect,” named after the Missouri city where a black man, Michael Brown, was gunned down in 2014 by a white cop, Darren Wilson.

“[The Ferguson effect is there where the Black Lives Matter narrative about racist, homicidal cops has produced virulent hostility in the streets and where officers are reluctant to engage in the proactive enforcement that politicians and the media relentlessly denounce as racist” writes Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute.

The media was quick to indict Wilson on charges of racism before any of the facts materialized. “The most significant challenge encountered in this  investigation has been the 24 hour news cycle, and its insatiable appetite for something for anything to talk about” said St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough.

The media narrative of the shooting was incredibly flawed, overwrought with misinformation incorrectly framing the shooting as an execution, not as self-defense. When the facts finally surfaced, not only was Wilson not indicted, but he was also cleared by the Obama Department of Justice of any civil rights abuses in the incident.

The Post reported Monday a “tension” with law enforcement that “is particularly pronounced” in St. Louis where the residents are still “navigating the aftermath” of the police shooting of Brown. “Some on the left fear a shift away from Obama-era initiatives such as community policing.”

The Post fails, however, to mention that the officer in the Brown shooting was cleared of all charges, at both the state and federal level.

Moreover, none of the reporting is dedicated to the “Ferguson effect,” whether “community policing” is effective, or how the increase in violent crime in black communities, under Democrat control, harm the very people many in the media and intelligentsia claim they want to help the most.

Instead, the Post highlights the concerns of the Missouri governor’s critics that “accuse Greitens of using St. Louis as a punching bag by vilifying a city that is about 50 percent African American and has a 25 percent poverty rate.”

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