Color Them Blind by Heather Mac Donald – City Journal
That statement is deceptive in a number of ways. Goldstein underplays the fact that McCormack was talking about a specific robbery pattern with specific suspect descriptions from victims and witnesses; it is absurd to suggest that race be omitted from crime information given to officers about actual perpetrators. If whites had been committing the crimes, being white would have been in the suspect description that McCormack used at roll call. Further, when victims report the skin color of suspects, that’s just one factor in the determination of whom to stop for a reported crime pattern; suspicious behavior, location, and time of day are equally important, as McCormack made patently clear. Goldstein has no basis for alleging that McCormack is making it the “deciding factor.” He leans on the fact that McCormack did not spell out the behaviors that suggest that a suspect may be casing a robbery victim during his exchange with Serrano, but the inspector had already made it clear that stops were not to be indiscriminate. This was a hypothetical example, in any case, raised during the broader discussion of whether Serrano was putting enough effort into his job. The Times’s position comes down to this: If blacks are committing particular crimes, the police cannot even mention race in their suspect descriptions.
That argument means that if police target their enforcement activity at high-crime areas, they will necessarily be accused by the Times of racial profiling. The 40th Precinct is 26 percent black, but in 2011, blacks committed over 52 percent of all violent crime there, according to victims and witnesses of those crimes. Neither the Times nor the advocates have ever said what they think police stop ratios should look like in light of such crime figures. In fact, blacks made up 53 percent of all stops, 43 percent of which were made on suspicion of weapons possession. The Times’s front-page article went beyond even what the plaintiffs’ attorneys in Floyd asserted. Though attorney Jonathan Moore questioned Serrano on the stand about his heated exchange with McCormack, the focus of his questioning was to establish the existence of quotas; the race issue was at best a secondary concern.
I’ve been told that similar claims of racism are what doomed Over-the-Rhine to being abandoned by the police. As terrible an AG as I think Holder is, I don’t think his legacy is going to be half as destructive as Janet Reno’s.