Posted on May 2, 2018

Who Should Apologize for Baltimore?

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, May 2, 2018

Self-abasement is an odd strategy for law enforcement, yet that is what the Baltimore police have chosen. Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, a black man, apologized to the audience at a recent hip-hop concert for the bad behavior of the police department. Audio from the Baltimore Fishbowl shows he was mostly booed, but there was some scattered applause as he condemned the institution he was appointed to lead.

Commissioner De Sousa was not alone on stage. He was joined by a minister from the Nation of Islam, another example of the odd pairings that blacks take for granted.

Darryl De Sousa

It’s not surprising the Nation was there, considering the Commissioner’s remarks. He said he wanted to take “about 20 seconds to apologize for all the things that the police have done, dating back 200 years.”

He continued:

Two hundred years ago, all the way to civil rights. All the way to the ’80s where crack was prevalent in the cities and it affected disproportionately African-American men. All the way to the ’90s. All the way to the 2000s when we had zero tolerance. I want to take the time to apologize for what police had did [sic]. And I promise you we’re gonna make a change in the future.

What kind of apology is this? Who has wronged whom, and for what? It’s unclear whether the commissioner was apologizing for the police not being tough enough on crack during the 1980s or for the alleged sentencing discrepancy for crack compared to powder cocaine. If it is the latter, which seems likely, black politicians mostly supported the war on drugs in the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, it was Charlie Rangel of the newly formed Black Congressional Caucus who urged then-president Richard Nixon to fight drugs as “if this were a national crisis.” President Nixon duly declared war on drugs in June 1971.

Congressman Rangel was on stage when President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 into law, the very act blamed for the crack-cocaine sentencing disparity. Charlie Rangel also blasted advocates of drug legalization in 1988, saying they were “willing to abandon a war we have not even begun to fight.” Nor was Congressman Rangel alone; well-known black activist Ossie Davis rallied black communities against drugs, and Walter Fauntroy called drugs “the source of threat to all civilized society.” Black publications such as Jet and Ebony published cover stories urging strong action against drugs in 1972 and 1989 respectively. As shown in Professor Michael Fortner’s Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment, there was strong black support for a crackdown on the drugs blacks blamed for destroying entire communities. Professor Fortner also finds there was relatively strong black support for Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill. For example, then-CBC head Kweisi Mfume worried it might lead to the mass incarceration of black men, but still voted for it along with other black leaders because he thought crack was destroying black neighborhoods.

“Zero tolerance” policing, for which Commissioner De Sousa also apologized, is now under attack as racist, especially after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet “zero tolerance”—aggressive control of minor crimes under the “broken windows theory”—clearly helped cities such as New York reduce crime. As Heather MacDonald noted in 2014 in Time, aggressive policing can interrupt a pattern of criminal behavior before it escalates. Indeed, she argues that aggressive control of minor crimes in New York City, which resulted in a massive increase in misdemeanor arrests between 1990 and 2009, led to a decline in felony arrests and fewer black men in prison.

The Obama administration notoriously called for an end to “zero tolerance” in school discipline. Just as the resulting cut back on discipline for non-white students made schools more chaotic, leniency for minor criminals in black areas harms blacks. Indeed, blacks seem to recognize this once they are in charge. The former black mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, ordered a curfew for children under 16. Prominent black spokesmen such as Jesse Jackson and Roland Martin have called for federal law enforcement in Chicago. Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, New Jersey, son of the fiercely anti-white poet Amiri Baraka, is still enforcing the city’s longtime curfew on unaccompanied minors.

What blacks oppose is not “zero tolerance” itself, but white cops enforcing the law against blacks. As NPR’s Martin Kaste wrote in a story about tensions in St. Louis in 2014, “The police officers’ mandate to push down crime statistics in black neighborhoods can also alienate them from those neighborhoods.” The sight of mostly white police officers stopping hooded “youths” often leads to violence, but once the racial angle is gone, black police officers and leaders often implement the same policies. Even non-white community leaders who condemn aggressive policing find it indispensable once they are in charge. London mayor Sadiq Khan condemned “stop and search” or “stop and frisk” policies when he was a candidate, implying it was racist. However, now that he is running a city gripped by a massive crime wave, he calls it “a vital tool for police to keep our communities safe.”

Former president Barack Obama’s Department of Justice specifically condemned Baltimore police for “broken windows” and “zero tolerance” policing in a 2016 report. Baltimore now operates under a “consent decree” imposed by a judge over the objections of then incoming Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The decree imposes strict guidelines for the use of force and calls on the department to confront its own “racial bias.” Adding to the confusion, the officials in charge of enforcing the decree resigned when current Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh, who is black, fired Kevin Davis, who is white, to bring in Darryl De Dousa, who is black.

While Commissioner De Sousa is apologizing for Baltimore’s white past, his words hardly apply to the present. The police force is only 47 percent white, and four of its top six commanders are non-white. Last year, the city had a record number of murders per capita, a disturbing milestone that one minister blamed on a lower police presence. Some residents are telling reporters they want martial law.

However, while some residents demand more police protections, others endlessly excuse crime. The recent documentary “Baltimore Rising” shows a street culture that celebrates murderers as victims and curses police as criminals. Thus, Baltimore police are in an impossible position. Residents want a crackdown, but that could spark another media-stoked firestorm, which could lead to another riot or federal investigation.

Earlier this month, local publications celebrated a decline in the rate of violence compared to last year. The celebration was premature. An April 23 report in the Baltimore Sun stated there have been 29 killings within the last three weeks, which pushed the year-to-date total over the figure for last year. This violence is rising as Maryland is divided over new legislation that would extend mandatory minimum sentences for certain offences. Some black legislators are fighting the legislation, but Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh wants it.

In his 2015 article on the Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray, Jared Taylor noted that black residents blamed white people for their situation even though they were governed by an almost entirely black political establishment. Unfortunately for Baltimore, the black political establishment seems to operate the same way. There is no consensus about how to combat crime even among blacks, and there never has been. In black-run Baltimore, residents can’t decide whether the problem is too much policing or too little. Commissioner De Sousa’s statement shows the only thing blacks can agree on is that the problem is someone else’s fault.

Whites have nothing for which to apologize. If anything, it is blacks who owe whites an apology for turning one of America’s greatest cities into a Third World embarrassment.