As he signals the end of his tenure as New York City police commissioner, William J. Bratton is attempting perhaps his most difficult task: tackling mistrust between officers and minority communities.
Good luck with that. There’s no way that different groups with different norms are going to have the same relationship with the police.
The upcoming NYC top cop, the effective William Bratton, is being welcomed with hosannas by the New York Times as a supposed civil rights superhero. In the article and op-ed there is no mention of that interview, but plenty of misleading allusions to how Bratton cleaned up the LAPD’s white racist Rampart Scandal.
Published: December 6, 2013
… When he was appointed here in 2002, Mr. Bratton took the reins of a department that was mired in scandal and was seen as openly hostile to black and Latino residents. Just a decade before, deadly riots broke out after the acquittal of police officers who beat Rodney G. King, a black driver who had been pulled over for speeding. A few years later, pervasive misconduct and corruption were uncovered in the Rampart Division, with dozens of officers implicated in allegations involving framing suspects and the use of false evidence, as well as stealing and dealing drugs.
By CONNIE RICE
Published: December 10, 2013 Comment
LOS ANGELES — WHEN I first met Bill Bratton, at a Christmas party in Los Angeles in 2002, I told him that it was nothing personal but I would soon be suing him, just as I had sued several Los Angeles police chiefs before him. That was my job as a civil rights lawyer, and at that time, we had a rogue police force that refused civilian control, rejected court orders, abused people of color and acted with terrifying impunity.
It was three months since William J. Bratton had been hired to fix the disgraced Los Angeles Police Department after a disastrous decade that had started with the beating of Rodney G. King, setting off the deadliest race riot in recent American history, and ended with revelations about a gangster-cop ring that had planted evidence, stolen drugs and attempted murder. The L.A.P.D. looked to many more like the Mafia than the police, more stop-and-shoot than stop-and-frisk.
In reality, the central rogue cops in the late 1990s Ramparts scandal were all diversity hires like Rafael Perez (the basis for Oscar winner Denzel Washington’s character in Training Day) and Kevin Gaines (the basis for the black cop with $300,000 in his trunk who is shot by the white cop in Oscar winner Crash).
It’s a little weird that Hollywood screenwriters have a more careful regard for the truth in this case than the newspapers. It’s like a modern Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
So, what’s going on? Well, the New York Times basically wants Bratton to kick ass on the streets. They don’t want street crime and they don’t want the new Democratic mayor to get in trouble over street crime. So, everybody pretends that Bratton is the man who cleaned out all those white racists in the Ramparts Scandal.
When lawyers I know in LA talk about LAPD senseless brutality, they immediately suspect “brain-dead latinos” hired through affirmative action.
When white people I know talk about the futility using recycling bins, they immediately blame low-IQ Mexicans.
Steve Sailer: January 27, 2006
William Bratton, the LAPD chief and Rudy Giuliani’s first NYPD chief, informs Linda Frum (David’s sister?) of Maclean’s magazine that Canadians are kidding themselves:
So you know a little bit about our city? You know about our problems? A 27-per-cent increase in the number of homicides from 1995 to today. A Boxing Day slaying where a 15-year-old innocent bystander was gunned down during a gang shootout on a major shopping street. Can I tell you — it would be nice if you were our police chief.
Well, thank you. Tell me, the gang violence that you are experiencing, what is the racial or ethnic background of the gangs?
That’s a refreshingly blunt question. Some say it may be as high as 80 per cent Jamaican. But no one knows for sure, because people here don’t like to talk about that.
You need to talk about it. It’s all part of the issue. If it’s Jamaican gangs that are committing the crimes, well then, go after the Jamaican gangs. And don’t be afraid to go after them because they’re black. That’s the last thing you need to be concerned with.
Oh boy, I can see the complaints coming in already. You have to understand the climate here. The major local daily in Toronto, the Toronto Star, says it doesn’t believe in “gratuitously” labelling people by ethnic origin.
Well, that really helps identify who they are, doesn’t it? The next step will be to refuse to allow the police to identify people by their race or ethnic origin. That type of societal consciousness really goes to extremes.
I’m sure you heard that Toronto’s mayor and our prime minister blame the Boxing Day shooting on you Americans. . .
Mm-hmm, yes. They talked about the problem of guns coming in from the United States. But whose hands are the guns in? You have to look at all sources of the problem. It is a combination of lax gun laws, which certainly contributes to our problem here in the United States, but ultimately the responsibility is on the individual who pulls the trigger…
The Broken Windows approach to policing is assertive and increases the frequency of interaction with citizens on a daily basis. Is it a method of policing that is possible only with the right political will behind it?
Political will is absolutely critical. In other words, if your government, your society, is saying, “We don’t want you focusing on the little things because we’re concerned it might be seen as racially incorrect,” or, “We’re concerned that it’s not appreciative of the ethnic backgrounds of people” — well, that’s the lame excuse that got American policing into so much trouble in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The attitude was, “We’re not going to police some of these minor crimes in the minority neighbourhoods. After all, what’s the harm? There are really no victims to prostitution, or gangs hanging on the corner and drinking.” But what we didn’t understand was that the victim was the neighbourhood. It was like a cancer eating away at that neighbourhood. And all the people who lived there were ultimately the victims as their neighbourhoods deteriorated. It’s guaranteed that if you don’t control those minor types of violations, you are going to create a climate in which the people perpetrating them are emboldened to try and get away with more…
Rather than focus on social and economic causes, you’ve said in the past that one of the most important ways to reduce crime is to go after narcotics. . .
Well, what are the Jamaican gangs up there fighting over — who controls the drug trade?
Yes.Exactly. So to do it, they are going to do the same thing they do down in Jamaica, which is resort to violence as the first way of dealing with it. Whether it’s your Asian gangs that are trying to control the gambling or your gangs coming in from Eastern Europe trying to control the credit card fraud, they all have their specialties. It comes back to core principles. The criminal justice system, if properly co-ordinated, and properly supported politically and publicly, can in fact control crime. And the way you control crime is through controlling behaviour.
So the situation in Canada is far from hopeless. . .
The good news is we know what to do about crime. You need to have political leaders, police chiefs, and the community working together, under the community policing partnership principle. You need to develop priorities and develop focus. And also go from the underlying understanding that crime is caused by individual behaviour.