Quote:Just before a wave of violence turned Baltimore into the nation’s deadliest big city, a curious thing happened to its police force: officers suddenly seemed to stop noticing crime.
Quote:officers in nearly every part of the city appeared to turn a blind eye to everyday violations. They still answered calls for help. But the number of potential violations they reported seeing themselves dropped by nearly half. It has largely stayed that way ever since.
Quote:"If you want crime to go up, let the ACLU run the police department," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a gathering of police officials in May.
That's pretty much the only thing I have ever known him to say that I agree with.
Quote:Millions of police records show officers in Baltimore respond to calls as quickly as ever. But they now begin far fewer encounters themselves. From 2014 to 2017, dispatch records show the number of suspected narcotics offenses police reported themselves dropped 30 percent; the number of people they reported seeing with outstanding warrants dropped by half. The number of field interviews – instances in which the police approach someone for questioning – dropped 70 percent.
Quote:“Officers no longer put themselves on the firing line,” says Victor Gearhart, a retired lieutenant who supervised the overnight shift in Baltimore’s southern district before he was pushed out of the department for referring to Black Lives Matter activists as “thugs” in an email.
“These guys aren’t stupid. They realize that if they do something wrong, they’re going to get their head bit off. There’s no feeling that anybody’s behind them anymore, and they’re not going to do it,” he says. “Nobody wants to put their head in the pizza oven when the pizza oven is on.”
Quote:Anthony Barksdale, a retired Baltimore police commander, says the message to officers was unmistakable.
“These guys have family members who tell them 'Don’t go to work and chase people for a city that doesn’t care about you,'” he says. “If I’m riding down the street and I see an incident, I see it, but you know what? It’s not worth it. That’s what these cops are thinking.”
I said this was coming and here it is. This will only get worse.
I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children… - Wendell Berry, 1971