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Stop Trying to Fix the Police—They’re Not the Problem

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Andrew Goldstein/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP

Remember the signature event in Ferguson, Missouri, that started the recent war on cops? You know, where the lie of 'hands up don't shoot' was spawned? Remember when the Congressional Black Caucus embarrassingly stood on the House floor with their hands raised? I remember when they smeared the character, reputation, and sacrifice of the fine men and women who put on a uniform and risk greatly to protect and serve. They weren't alone. Even President Obama had added fuel to the fire claiming that our police officers have a problem with people who don't look like them. At that time, it seemed every liberal was out there mendaciously raising his or her hands in the air.

It was in vogue back then to attack the police to score cheap political points and secure votes. It was pure political pandering. But even years later, this false narrative is still a political platform for politicians in the Democratic Party, the NAACP, and carnival barkers like Al Sharpton.  Commentators on CNN and MSNBC continue to interview black racialists who violate every rule of statistics, manipulating data as proof that white cops are inherently biased. Empirical research or data proved none of this junk. It is all based on emotion, lies, and propaganda.

We've been told over and over that white cops kill black criminals at rates that prove bias. However, the telling and the research are polar opposites. 

Harvard University in 2017 hoped to find inherent bias among white cops in fatal use of force but could find none. In part, the researcher concluded that "on the most extreme use of force--officer-involved shootings—we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account." Other studies of police uses of force also found no proof of inherent bias. But that hasn’t stopped the false narrative from spreading. 

Now we have even more proof. Recently, researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Maryland—hardly right-wing schools—conducted the latest comprehensive study on police use of fatal force. They found that the police, specifically white police officers, "are not more likely to shoot minorities citizens than non-white officers." The study goes on to show, "there are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it's white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support for the idea.” 

Oh good heavens, please direct me to the fainting couch. 

Joseph Cesario, a co-author of the study and professor of psychology at MSU, determined the "race of the officer doesn't matter when it comes to predicting whether black or white citizens are shot. If anything, black officers are more likely to shoot black citizens, but this is because black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So, the more black citizens in a community, the more black police officers there are." 

Cesario goes on to tell how "crime rates are the driving force behind fatal shootings," and the data shows that "the rate of crime by each racial group predicts the likelihood of citizens from that racial group being shot."  And, as if you need more proof, the study found "the vast majority—between 90% and 95% - of the civilians shot by officers were actively attacking police or other citizens when they were shot." Ninety percent were also armed with a weapon when the police shot them.

Is that a mic drop moment or what? 

This study proves that underclass culture leads to more contact with the police, thus increasing the potential for conflict between black criminals and police of any race. Another interesting facet from the study found that "internal policy changes, such as diversifying police forces, may not reduce shootings of minority citizens." In essence, social engineering experiments like affirmative action hiring won't change a thing. It is feel-good social science.

I have been saying in national interviews and writing incessantly since that interaction where Mike Brown, after committing a strong-armed robbery of a convenience store then went on to attempt to disarm Officer Darren Wilson that a lie was being perpetrated about the character, service and reputation of the police. That lie ultimately led to riots that triggered the national war on cops by opportunists from cop haters like Black Lives Matter. It led me to push back by saying that we should stop trying to fix the police and instead fix the ghetto. Cesario in his study recommends the same thing.

To reduce police intervention, focus on reducing crime, poverty, school failure, ineffective parenting, fatherless homes, drug use, drug dealing, and gang involvement. These are urban underclass pathologies that need our attention. Failed liberal urban policy created these conditions not the police. Therefore, we need to stop the nonsense of inherent bias training for criminal justice professionals. Stop the inane programs like alternatives to incarceration that leave career criminals on the street to re-offend. Stop the focus on criminal justice reform that excuses accountability for criminal behavior and stop thinking that more gun control is the answer. 

The lie that our community protectors—the police— are bloodthirsty racists has been harmful to law-abiding blacks living in the ghetto. This lie has led to de-policing, allowing criminals to control entire neighborhoods in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, while professors in ivory towers from schools of social welfare influence urban policy and planning. How many more innocent, law-abiding people must die before we open our eyes? Let’s admit the big liberal lie about police and give it a proper burial. Let’s focus on effective remedies instead of wishful thinking to clean up the ghettos.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is former Sheriff of Milwaukee Co, Wisconsin, President of AmericasSheriff LLC, advisory Board member for We Build the Wall Inc, author of the book Cop Under Fire: Beyond Hashtags of Race Crime and Politics for a Better America. To learn more visit

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