Thursday, February 20, 2014
Ernast Evans Discusses Policing in KCMO
In some of my memos on KCMO crime I have referred to the "de-policing" that took place in NYC in 1987-1993. The initial cause of this "de-policing" was the Tawana Brawley case of 1987-1989--this "de-policing" was reinforced by the election of David Dinkins as Mayor in 1989-1993; fairly or unfairly, Dinkins and his police commissioner Lee Brown were considered hostile to the NYPD. Initially, the NYC "de-policing" only impacted the black neighborhoods of the city: In the aftermath of the Tawana Brawley case, out of sheer self-survival, the NYPD abandoned their duties in the black neighborhoods of NYC out of fear of being accused of racism--violence in these neighborhoods exploded in 1987-1989. By 1989, however, even before the election of Dinkins as mayor, the impact of "de-policing" began to spread to the rest of the city: As reflected in the Central Park jogger incident in April 1989 and later the Crown Heights riots of August 1991, the city began to see a surge of crime in areas of the city previously unaffected by the "de-policing" set in motion by the Brawley incident and reinforced by the Dinkins term as mayor. This brings us to the Plaza crisis in KCMO. While the situation is still developing, the current crisis over violence in the Plaza area of KCMO may signal the danger of the "de-policing" that has plagued the black neighborhoods of KCMO since the spring of 2008--leading to a major violence surge in these neighborhoods--is starting to spread elsewhere in the city. Now, with apologies to V I Lenin, the question is: "What is to be Done?" What stopped the explosion of crime in NYC was the election of Rudy Guiliani as Mayor of NYC in 1993. Contrary to myth, Guiliani did not bring down the crime stats by adopting a "Dirty Harry" approach to crime. He knew that such an approach was neither necessary nor morally justifiable. What Guiliani did was what the political class in KCMO needs to do: He told the cops on the beat that he would make sure that if accused of racist misconduct they would get due process. This simple promise ended the nightmare that all races in NYC had been living for years.