The shooting of a black youth in Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer brought out the usual racial agitators, like Al Sharpton, who are keen to capitalize on other people’s tragedies.  For Sharpton, the destruction of businesses and neighborhoods by looters is merely a good week.  But for other, less visible

Absent from the vast, mostly fictional literature being produced online about the Ferguson case is any understanding of the various political pressures rained down on cops by their superiors in City Hall, especially by chiefs of police.

Chiefs of police are often purely political animals, especially in big cities where they are appointed by the sorts of people who become big-city mayors and city councilmen, ie. people who ideologically side with anti-law enforcement activists, not with law-abiding citizens, and certainly not with the police who work under them.

Many of these Chiefs of Police belong to PERF, the Police Executive Research Forum, where academics work hand-in-hand with Police Chiefs (“Police Executive” means Chief or other high administrators).  PERF takes a lot of money from the Department of Justice, and so it reflects the priorities of the DOJ (other taxpayer funding comes to PERF indirectly, through dues paid by member officers).

And while it is not completely fair to characterize PERF as the sort of police research organization that Eric Holder would create if it didn’t exist already, this characterization isn’t entirely unfair, either.  PERF spends a lot of time addressing allegations of race discrimination by police officers while simultaneously covering up politically incorrect facts about race and crime.

For example, a recent PERF report discussed the flash mob phenomenon at great length without once mentioning race as an element in any such mob violence.  Yet when activists declare some action by the police to be racist, PERF often parachutes in to reinforce the official line coming from the DOJ, which is always to placate activists, regardless of short or long-term costs to crime-ridden communities or to the police.

Doubtlessly, if flash mobs of white people were randomly attacking black pedestrians, PERF wouldn’t busy itself papering over the race of the offenders and the victims.

PERF is also one of many well-funded public-private mouthpieces promoting the status quo in the enforcement of hate crime laws.  They’ve played this role since Eric Holder and Bill Clinton partnered with PERF on hate crime law enforcement in the 1990’s.   So if you think hate crime laws are not being enforced equally, you can thank PERF for helping create that selective enforcement.

This week, PERF had a meeting in Chicago (where else?), apparently to think up ways to systematically give in to the rioters and malcontents in Ferguson demanding police officers’ blood.  According to the Reuters report of the meeting, which may or may not be accurate (if it isn’t, one would expect a correction from PERF, though I doubt one is forthcoming), the chiefs who met in Chicago are in perfect agreement with the rioters, never mind that the case has not yet gone to the courts:

The chiefs said that they had to lead a cultural shift in policing – emphasizing the importance of de-escalating potentially violent situations – that is often resisted by the rank and file who fear appearing soft on crime.

This statement alone is a top-down and very cynical betrayal of the men and women serving under these police chiefs.  Is “appearing soft on crime” really what the “rank and file” fear when they step out of their patrol cars in dangerous situations?  Is fear of bad statistics really what stands in the way of beat cops understanding the “importance of de-escalating potentially violent situations”?

No, this is claptrap being invented by officials who have decided to ride a cultural anti-cop wave by throwing their own employees to the wolves.  Fears about “appearing soft on crime” afflict the number-crunchers in city hall and the political appointees with lots of gold braid on their uniforms, not the cops who go out to patrol the streets.  Patrol officers have more practical and immediate reasons for wishing to “de-escalate potentially violent situations.”  For example, they want to go home after their shifts; they want to have a job tomorrow, and they will have to come back to the same street corner some time soon, so they have a vested interest in keeping it as violence-free as possible.

The Reuters report on PERF continues in the cop-bashing vein:

The chiefs said that even though a police shooting might be ruled justifiable under law, they had to hold officers to higher moral and ethical standards to satisfy the community.

“All it takes is one that doesn’t do the right thing, and we need to step up and separate that officer from employment and pursue criminal charges. We had a frank discussion about the leadership it takes to do that,” said [Dallas Police Chief David] Brown.

So in order to “satisfy the community,” Chief Brown would subject the cops under him to the “moral and ethical standards” of the protestors marching in the streets — in other words, to the moral and ethical standards of Al Sharpton.  Police in Dallas who serve under Chief Brown should take note: no longer will you be judged based on the law itself: you will be judged based on what “the community” demands, or more precisely what Al Sharpton demands.

Note that the chiefs of PERF did not decide that they themselves needed to do anything differently.  Instead, they sloughed off all responsibility for crises like the one in Ferguson on men and women low in the ranks.  This sort of behavior from putative leaders is a disgrace and a complete inversion of what leadership is supposed to entail, but it also should not be a surprise.  In cities like Chicago, where PERF was meeting, the Chief of Police is a corrupt ally of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel; in Dallas, Chief Brown has a similarly problematic reputation.



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