Police departments’ decisions to fight the rising homicide rates in their cities could lead to more tensions between police and their communities, according to a Monday Washington Post article.
The WaPo article titled “With rising homicides in big cities, Republican governors intensify police patrols,” expressed concern that police officers trying to fight murders would lead to rising “tensions” in their communities.
“Greitens dispatched the Missouri Highway Patrol last month amid a surge in shootings and assaults in St. Louis, part of a nationwide trend of rising violence in some large cities. The killings have rattled neighborhoods and embarrassed city officials, who tend to be Democrats. But now governors — who tend to be Republicans — are sending in their troops to fight urban crime, reopening historical tension,” reporters Tim Craig and Emma Ockerman wrote.
The article mainly focused on Missouri’s Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ attempts to deal with a rising homicide rate in St. Louis that is making the city increasingly more dangerous for its residents. In keeping with the article’s framing of rising tensions, the reporters also heavily implied that there is a racial dynamic behind the desire to make cities safer for their residents.
“He was heard saying . . . ‘Let’s go get them,’ ”said state Rep. Michael Butler, a St. Louis Democrat who was referring to an offhand, salutatory remark Greitens made while rallying Missouri troopers. “A lot of folks wonder who ‘them’ is, and what exactly did he mean,” the write-up noted.
The reporters also suggested that the strong language Republican governors have been using to signal their intentions to fight crime in their states was “warlike.” The reporters cited Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s promise to end the “gang problem” in Houston and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s calls to stop the “looming cloud of violence” after a nightclub shooting last month.
“In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster even used warlike language when announcing his plan for more state resources in Myrtle Beach, where homicides in June threatened the city’s reputation as a family-friendly beach destination.’There will be a lot more boots on the ground,’ McMaster said in deploying state troopers,” the reporters wrote.
But the reporters seemed to undercut their own worries and fears about halfway through the story. Despite spending nearly twenty paragraphs worrying about tensions, racial profiling and warlike language from Republican governors, the two reporters pointed out that Greitens’ plan to combat violence is “fairly limited.” His proposal includes using Missouri state troopers to patrol the highways in order to allow local police more time to crack down on homicides, the reporters noted.
As for concerns of racial profiling of black people, the example the reporters provided featured a police officer stopping a white woman on the highway.
“While looking for expired license plates, unregistered vehicles or speed violators, Sevier stopped a white woman who was arrested for an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a previous traffic citation,” the reporters wrote.
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