Back to Bedlam

In response to the incessant accusations of racism and the heightened hostility in the streets that has followed the Michael Brown shooting, officers have pulled back from making investigatory stops and enforcing low-level offenses in many urban areas. As a result, violent crime in cities with large black populations has shot up—homicides in the largest 50 cities rose nearly 17 percent in 2015. And the Left is once again denouncing the police—this time for not doing enough policing.

Let’s examine the dilemma imposed on cops by activists like King. On March 25, two groups of youths were fighting on a street corner on Chicago’s West Side. If Chicago officers had dispersed them and questioned anyone who seemed to be harboring a gun, a Black Lives Matter sympathizer would have seen only racial harassment. The ACLU would have logged any documented stops into its stop database in preparation for its next racial profiling lawsuit; the Justice Department, which is now investigating the Chicago Police Department for racism, would have also tallied the stops as evidence of bias. But the police did not move in on March 25, and one of the teens started shooting at his rivals. The gunslinger hit 13-year-old Zarriel Trotter, an innocent bystander; the bullet entered Trotter’s back near his spine and punctured his intestines. As of early April, the police were still searching for the shooter. “It gets scarier out here every day,” a classmate of Zarriel’s told the Chicago Tribune. “Young people in Chicago can’t go outside without knowing whether they will be the next person fired at.”

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