The report may be read here. It was clear last summer that Officer Wilson acted appropriately and could not reasonably be charged with any crime. But news media hyperbole and non-stop coverage kept the pot boiling. Under pretext of possible civil-rights violations, the race hustlers at the Federal Dept. of Justice (DoJ) started an investigation of Officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department. The motivation was political gain and perhaps ideological blinders. No surprise then that the findings regarding the Ferguson PD are scandalously flawed.
The findings of “racial bias” are bogus and the methods used to show them are so crude and wrong-headed they would not pass muster in an undergraduate term paper. A further problem is that the media will not mention these criticisms. Apparently anyone who disputes the findings is unenlightened at best and racist at worst. All we heard was that the report was characterized by adjectives like “scathing.” There was no effort to report the other side, because when it comes to race, there is no other side. Did you hear that the report is “controversial?” Neither did we. (We slipped this term into our title just to catch your attention.) ‘Controversial’ is only used for reports and points of view the left does not like. Ours, for example.
The biggest flaw in the DoJ report is the use of the legal doctrine of ‘disparate impact,’ which, as has been pointed out time and again, for example here and notably by Heather Macdonald here, is logically and statistically invalid and inconclusive.
Let’s explain this error simply. Ferguson’s black population is 67% of the total, while black arrests and traffic stops are over 90% of the total. To the naïve this will sound bad – where there is smoke, there must be fire, right? The DoJ alleges that the ‘disproportion’ clearly uncovers a problem with racially biassed policing. The logical and statistical flaw here is that the black and white demographics in Ferguson are very different with respect to the factors associated with crime. Young men from single or no parent homes are the demographic with the highest incidence of violent crime; black men more than white men. Gang membership and drugs are also important factors. Since the white population of Ferguson is much older than the black one, there are just not nearly enough 16-25 year old white boys and men to remove the disparity, even if 100% of those there are were hardened criminals. Is the answer to arrest more white boys? Consider too that Federal statistics reveal that black motorists commit more traffic offenses than white motorists. In other words, it is not only possible but true that an identifiable group commits more crime than another. It is not possible to think that ‘disparate impact’ has any logical or real meaning outside of government fantasy.
Do you think the timing of the DOJ report to precede by a few days the anniversary of the Selma bridge incident is coincidental? Neither do we. All of this political theatre is designed to prevent the black clients of the Democrat party from straying from the reservation. (By the way, the people opposing the Selma civil-rights march 50 years ago were… Democrats.)
President Obama is now threatening the city of Ferguson:
Mr. Obama, in his most extensive comments on the report since its release this week, said Friday that the city of Ferguson now faces a choice: dispute the findings and risk being sued by the government or enter an agreement with the Justice Department to fix the system.
This is the same threat that has been used for decades to force businesses and local governments to sign civil-rights consent decrees or else face expensive lawsuits by dozens or more well paid Washington lawyers.
General Holder has come up with his own threat here:
If he feels the need to, Holder says he will seek to dismantle the Ferguson Police Department. “We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have, to ensure that the situation changes there,” Holder told reporters on Friday according to the White House pool report. “That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure.”
This is thuggish blackmail. Thanks to bad legislation and court decisions, the DoJ does have the ability to dismantle a local police department. (Is there any limit to Federal government power?) Against this kind of raw power, even if you have a winnable case, the cost would be almost impossibly high and the prudent choice is to sign the consent decree and move on. Local politicians dependent on a united bloc of black voters are also jumping on to change policing procedures, see here. The result will be that the citizens of Ferguson and other targeted municipalities will be less safe, but local elections more secure than before.
Let’s consider the ‘racist’ emails found by the DoJ with a thought experiment. Consider the case of a Muslim job applicant who believes Christians and Jews are inferior infidels and going straight to hell on death. Should he be prohibited from being a Ferguson police officer? Wouldn’t that be discrimination? Should he be evaluated solely on his ability to do his job professionally? So why cannot a police officer who makes a joke about the unemployed black men he sees every day on the street gaming the system be held to the same standard? Why must he be dismissed? But now let’s consider further that our hypothetical Muslim police officer is a Black Muslim, who sent an email expressing the view that Caucasians are white devils and Jews are swine. Should he be sacked too?
Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learnt from this sordid affair is to realize that we do not have to abandon our critical faculties and recoil in Pavlovian horror whenever our betters or authorized victims cry ‘racism.’ We might even once in a while dare to buck the intimidation and inject a modicum of common sense and make a debate out of the racial party line. We fear we are inching ever closer to the tipping point at which the greatest crimes are thought crimes, such as with the Red Guards in communist China in the 1960s. Let’s stick to actual crimes in which people are objectively harmed.