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Heather Mac Donald
Courts v. Cops « Back to Story

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Edwin A. Bowman M.D. August 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM
Heather … Have you been asked to be interviewed by CNN, FOX News, or MSNBC concerning to shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri? You would be able to give the "other side" of these racial conflicts. It's unfortunate that the public doesn't get comments from knowledgable people like you when these incidents occur.
These kids start getting arrested for marijuana and then are put on drug programs and then have probation violations and the process starts that land them in prison. Make no mistake there are millions of white kids smoking marijuana who never get stopped and frisked so they never get arrested and they finish school and college and go on to be responsible adults. The police record ruins your life. This is the problem with stop and frisk. If every person was stopped and frisked we would find millions of adult driving on prescription meds. Potentially we could incarcerate 40% of the population but we'd have a problem collecting the money to pay our cops and prison guards and feeding the masses in jail.
"Shira Sheindlin and Judge Judy Sheindlin are NOT related. If they were the latter would likely disown the former."

Nonsense. Judge Judy got knocked up at age 4 and squeezed out Shira.
It's always a pleasure to read your thoroughly researched and eloquently delivered work.
Claude F.K. Brownlee,
I assume you're ignorant of the fact that South Asians commit less crimes per capita than white people in all 50 states and all territories, have a higher average level of education, a higher average income, lower rates of children out of wedlock, drug abuse, incarceration, receive less government assistance of any sort. Hopefully, you get the picture, you sad ignorant little bigot.
@Toady - black cops in black neighborhoods was done already & the black cops sued & won. They don't even want to work in those neighborhoods because of what we all know. Black people are more violent. Democratic neighborhood inspire violence & the poor me attitude. Welfare allows these scourges of society to wreak havoc 24 hours a days. The biggest failure in this country is anything for free. It doesn't work, ever!
This article is unfortunately spreading ignorance and justifying institutional abuse of human rights.

What is the cause of crime in the first place. It is first and foremost a broken society that fails to give young people a fair chance. All of the people in these high crime areas are victims - abused by systems that lock them into low wages sometimes not even living wages, for hard work, poor schools and then their kids given NO chance, no hope, no nothing. This is pure abuse of human beings.

The solutution is a fairer society - not MORE abuse by cops.
I'm with "frank r" on this " the citizens begin to exterminate the troublemakers."
i'm flummoxed as to why liberals are so convinced of their alleged compassion. TEN THOUSAND dead young men aren't dead because the goddam cops risk their lives to stop-and-frisk.

But hey, why argue with body counts when one is so sure one is on the highest of moral mountains?

With friends like the ACLU, black people don't need enemies.
"a boyfriend had struck her for refusing to try heroin"

Ms. Heather MacDonald, I believe the correct phrase is this: you've been had.
i would never, use the word "bourgeois". i think it is a word that doesn't have context in reality anymore. to use the word "bourgeois" , without a doubt is only a symbol of having studied european history. though an important word historically, its true meaning has been probably lost a long time ago. i understand what you are saying, and i believe it to be true, and i don't have another word for you(author) to use. but "bourgeois" is a very complicated word. it can conjugate of course to "bourgeoisie", which perhaps, if i can remember my european history well enough began to have a negative conotation after some time, then revolution and then recycled. fantastic article though. thank you.
We could use comstat and stop and frisk here in Chicago, that's for sure. Rhambo will never admit his system is failing. So more kids must DIE!
Ms Mac Donald,

You are becoming my favorite columnist. I judge you to be a bit too OCD perhaps, but I love your "Cops are always right!" approach to life.

Unfortunately, I am one of those looney Libertarians who believes that big government is an absolute threat to individual liberty, and further I believe that bureaucratic governmental organizations are staffed by small minded people who would think nothing of treading on civilians rights, and they would lie and plant evidence if they thought they coule get away with it.

I am 61 years old, a wealthy old man who survived and thrived while working within the system, but when people like me begin to question authority, all moral authority is lost.
Concupiscence is the attraction people have to evil. It is fun to be bad.

This goes or the young drug dealers as well as the ACLU lawyers who desire a return to chaos, as long as they don't have to live in it.

Lesbian. Straight up.

I grew up in the Bronx. My fondest ambition as a child was to see NYC in the rear-view mirror. I left after HS and never had any regrets. When I read commentary such as the above, I am confirmed in the belief that New Yorkers, especially their lawyers, deserve each other.

While I support the legalization of recreational drugs (since Prohibition didn’t work before), I am under no illusion that the aforementioned dealers will suddenly have gainful employment. Professional businessmen will take over the sale and distribution and hire other literate professionals like themselves, not grammar-challenged hood-rats. Since these unemployable youths will doubtlessly need other ways to make an income, the crime problem will still exist in some form or other.
Perhaps it is best for Black officers to police Black neighborhoods and avoid all the racist nonsense.

If there aren't enough such officers, let the residents stew in the criminality they've blessed themselves with until they wise up and do a better job of raising their young men.
Shira Sheindlin and Judge Judy Sheindlin are NOT related. If they were the latter would likely disown the former.
I only wish law abiding people in these areas could sue these same attorneys and judges for conspiring to deprive honest citizens of their right to free enjoyment of their homes and neighborhoods. And God bless you, Ms Mac Donald,for having the courage to call these scoundrels out.
You could always call for an end to the destroyer of inner city families - Drug Prohibition.

You could always call for an end to the progenitor of inner city violence - Drug Prohibition.
imarightwingextremist January 26, 2013 at 4:25 PM
There are many layers of assumptions in Heather’s well-written piece “Courts v. Cops” that lead her down the same tires old pathways to nowhere.

The criminal milieu that she rightly sees as the problem in hi-crime minority areas is a byproduct of the catastrophic so called “war on drugs”. The war on drugs in turn requires as a necessary precondition (at least at the Federal level) a willful misreading of the Constitution that considers any form of human activity to fall under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause – a misreading that has set the stage for most of the dystopic mischief of our authoritarian centralizers.

That liberals and other reluctant authoritarians consider it an irony that their desire to control personal liberties such as carrying a weapon or using drugs (medicinal or recreational) results in shrinking rights for all of us will only surprise those who have never thought deeply about liberty.

The police who want to “stop and frisk” to prevent the victimless “crime” or self-defense or self-medication are not the problem and are not the solution.

What an adult puts in his own body should not be within the purview of any government bureaucrat or enforcer.

Also, the right of self defense is as much a fundamental right as the right to decide what to put in your own body. The root issue here is not the Constitution, but the right of self defense which is a priori a fundamental human right, as is the right to medicate yourself as you see fit.

There is no dilemma here – no hard choice between two desirable outcomes. What we have here is simply the muddled thinking that one can graft authoritarianism onto the tree of liberty and not kill the tree.
The legal war on the war on crime:
A socio-political concept that involves taking resources from white people as payment for a crime they did not commit and giving these resources to black people who where not the victims of the crime. Slavery reparations involves a number of unique philosophical concepts that have no legal precedent. First, the premise that guilt is not only inherited by skin color but is collectively distributed - that is, all members of the white race should pay for what a very small proportion actively engaged in (the slave trade). Second, it employs the novel concept that the right to compensation is also inherited by skin color and collectively distributed - that is, all black people will get money, whether or not their ancestors were slaves. Third, it violates a concept within most legal systems called the Grandfather clause, which basically states that one cannot be made into a criminal simply by changing the law and redefining legal behavior as criminal behavior.
Jay in UK:

This is stunning.

If you were aware of the gun crime statistics you'd be even more stunned. The profile of criminals most likely to use guns to commit crimes is known to law enforcement and even our Justice Department. Needless to say, these groups do not include lawful gun owners.

When the president signs a gun violence bill surrounded by young African-American males and Latino gang members, I'll believe he's serious about gun violence.
Gun opponents are very quick to dismiss any defense of gun rights and even more quick to say gun owners have to sacrifice some of those rights for the greater good.

Somehow the irony of opposing the stop-and-frisk policy in one of the most violent gun-riddled neighborhoods in NYC because it violates one's rights is lost on them.

Heather, this is a fine piece. However the real way to provoke change is to shine more light on the pompous hypocrites (U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, Shearman & Sterling, and the rest) who work themselves into a self-righteous frenzy that is removed from all known reality on the streets. The media needs to expose their hypocrisy in a manner that the simplest of minds can absorb: publish their photos, photos of their homes and neighborhoods, show what crime looks like there, and ask whether they care about crime against the poor. Liberals need to eat their own cooking.
I'll take criminals over the police any day of the week, so long as I have the right to carry a gun, to use that gun under reasonable circumstance, and then to be tried by a reasonable jury. Not necessarily an all-white jury. But I definitely want solid middle-class citizens on that jury.

The big problem in America is lack of personal responsibility. We don't need the police to keep loiterers out of private apartment dwellings. The super can ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, the super can convene a committee of residents of the building. Let the residents decide what to do, and then let the residents do what has to be done (like kill a few troublemakers), and finally let the residents who did the dirty work ostracize and otherwise punish those who refused to help out. This is what community is all about. Yes, the criminals may retaliate. But that is the price of freedom. If the residents are too feckless to defend themselves, then too bad for them. Let those residents who are willing to defend themselves, but who are voted down, move to another building. And let the police confine themselves to documenting what is going on so that society at large can monitor the situation. In fact, let's disarm the police at the same time we rearm the citizenry.

And I fail to see why saving the lives of 10000 minority males is something to cheer about. Weren't these mostly borderline criminals anyway? In transitioning from a police state to a citizen state, we should expect to see a massive rise in violence initially, as the citizens begin to exterminate the troublemakers. Later, the violence will return to the very low levels of the early 20th century.
Claude F.K. Brownlee January 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM
As long as the "stop and frisk" is limited to Blacks, Hispanics and south Asians then it's a laudable program and should be extended to discovering immigration status and resulting in arrests and deportations of illegal aliens.

The problem is that we live in a Leftist tyranny ruled by politically-correct criminals who will eventually insist that the police follow a quota system for "stop and frisk" that includes a huge number of Whites. Whites of course commit very little street crime, but the affirmative-action parasites who staff the government's permanent bureaucracy are hostile to Whites and that's all they care about.

"Stop and frisk" will only work if we admit the obvious truth that nonWhite commit the vast majority of the violent street-level crimes.
Keith Charles Edwards January 21, 2013 at 7:20 PM
Good girl, McBride. You are a solid citizen.
The debate about gun control has brought out the old trope about Americans' distrust of government. It's implicit in the pundits' criticism of this attitude that it's the benighted, knuckle-dragging Right that is the chief sufferer of the syndrome.
Mac Donald demonstrates very clearly that the Left - including the NYT and the Democratic party - is equally distrustful when parts of its agenda collide with some aspects of government such as law enforcement.
I long speculated that NYC allowed the NYPD to suppress crime in the 1990s out of fear that only the states passing "Shall-Issue" concealed handgun permit laws would see drops in street crime. I guess the Left could only hold it in so long.

What they don't realize is that judicial rulings will affect what police are allowed to do in rich neighborhoods as well. Rich people have more worth stealing.
If Obama stood up and said, "The New York City Police Department has done an enormous service for people living in poor black neighbourhoods. These law suits are not in their interest", the suits would disappear over night.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin is TV's Judge Judy's daughter.
Addendum: on the Rare Occasions when the media (ahem) allow law-abiding minority citizens to speak their piece, they almost invariably say hell yes! we not only want the police, we want MORE police! Those who wring their hands over the police's methods should actually visit these neighborhoods. The gangbangers know very well why the cops stop them; they luv luv luv the lefty fools who go to bat for them.
"We" should be "ashamed as a nation?" I don't Think so, honey. "The Nation" didn't commit the crimes, the Criminals did. But they love it when people like you let them off the hook.

Here, maybe you'll listen to Richard Pryor making all kinds of sense on the subject: (remember, he swears a lot. . . .).
Barbara C. Johnson January 11, 2013 at 5:07 PM
Excellent article.

Newark, NJ, where I live, has around 90 murders annually. I think policing does help lower the murder rate, but we should still be ashamed as a nation. We have a much bigger problem in this country than this article deals with. A problem that we persistently fail to even acknowledge, let along try to solve in a meaningful manner.

Most people I know edit the existence of cities like Newark and Irvington, NJ off their mental map. The only time it figures in a conversation is when someone recommends "don't go that way, drive around" that city. Therein lies the root of our basic problem in dealing with our cities.

This story makes some good points, but there is definitely something to be said about the incredible antagonism stop and frisk fuels among young males. This group has been pretty well deleted from the mainstream middle class consciousness in other towns in the same state. They are aware of this. They grow up in a target-environment. They learn they are targets, and so they choose targets, and they are targeted by the police. Being singled out even if you did not commit a crime generates hatred of authority, which doesn't contribute to a constructive environment. Many kids have no positive models of authority around to identify with. And many, many people report having had stop and frisk happen to them while they were doing something legal.

Eliminating police presence is certainly not the solution. However, the police must act within the law, whether or not other additional extra-legal actions are considered helpful by some residents. If the police do not support the laws as they are, they can lobby to change them. That is the way a civilized, law abiding society works.

In my opinion, we require a massive rethinking of our spending priorities. Much of what now passes for "responsible" attempts to fix problems in our cities is designed to serve private interest and offers false solutions. If we continue with our current approach, police and young people will continue to die at a rate that is shameful.
I wonder what percentage of stop-and-frisk subjects are currently on probation or parole. Of that percentage, how many were violating parole when stopped--for example, by being out after hours, or associating with known criminals? In NY, do the terms of parole include consent to search?
This is stunning. Is life in NY really that bad? We in the UK seem to believe the US is crime ridden but I assumed that was mostly media/entertainment hype.
just read it!!
I'm with Jay - these people have elected those that appointed the Judges, and the politicians that fight the police tooth and nail. Let the city go the way of Detoit, Camden, Newark, East St. Louis and other places where crime has driven away a substantial part of the population.

Some months back I had some work in Camden and looked at all the vacant lots, and got a real vision of how a city can be reduced to just an area of land through the incompetence and corruption of leaders. Without people a city becomes just that, a plot of land. If the people don't want police to do their job effectively, it's what will happen, people will simply go elsewhere when crime gets too bad. Look at Newark's population, look at Detroit, look at other cities under Democrats. The people voted for leaders that adopted policies that caused those who lived there to leave, and now much of Detroit et als are just that an area of land, sans people, a place that used to be a city. Where did the people go? Elsewhere.

History is filled with similar examples but it isn't usually as a result of the policies of the leaders.

Can't happen in New York? Wrong - of course it can - there's nothing that insulates New York from the ills that policians can impose on it. We shall shortly find out if the era of Giuiliani and Bloomberg is a short interlude in the death of the city - what guarantee is there that New York won't immediately resume its 1990 slide to oblivion once a Democratic mayor, heholden to the unoins and the splinter groups, is back in office?

Those who recall the Dinkins era should also recall the drugs, crime, the constant fiscal problems, the crowds of homeless, the sqeegee men, the spray paint all over the place, the inability for government to do something as simple as cleaning up Times Square - despite decades of effort.

If anything ever proved the importance of good government it was how Giuliani saved new York. But New York is also ground zero for the Democratic media and Giuliani never got any credit for saving the city - certainly not in terms of comparison with the frightful mess that had been made of it for years by Democratic politicans. Likewise formerr Republican Bloomberg has never recieved the credit for what he did, not in terms of Bloomberg continuing Giuliani's policies which is what Bloomberg has done.

It is almost fitting that the litigation described in this article is happening now, at the end of the Bloomberg era, and may later been seen as the beginning of the end for the city as the old, corrupt ways resume once we have a Democrat in the Mayor's office. You have to wonder how long it will take for the new administration in city hall to destroy what Giuliani built, and what Bloomberg carried on. it doesn't seem right that the lives of 8 million people are shortly going to be in the hands of those who have shown that they cannot govern, or that thier method of governance leads to such dreadful consequences.

But, the voters have no one but themselves to blame - certainly there have been more than enough evidence of just how awful the Democratic way of governing is - just look at places like Newark, Paterson, New York pre Giuliani and others and it is there for all to see. If the voters see this or should see this, and vote for these corrupt politicians anyway, if they are so conditioned by the Democratic media that they reflexively vote "D" even given the consequences then they have no one to blame but themselves for the result. No one should wring thier hands over what happens - I won't.
Odd that the lawful residents of the Bronx don't characterize their neighborhood as a police state. It is in fact, absent the police, a place of lawless anarchy. If conditions the same applied in say, Greenwich Village or Park Slope, residents there would welcome, nay demand, a cop at their shoulder and being made late on occasion for their very important appointments as they cheered the trashing of the cars of drug dealers. You could say their lives would depend on it.
I feel some sympathy for the decent citiens trying to live a decent life in these hellholes . However , that sympathy evaporates quite completely when I look at an electoral map , blue and red , of these states ( New York , Penn , Ohio ) .These neighborhoods have voted for and empowered the liberal agenda and now reap the consequences . Their schools are dreadful and their steets are unsafe . But that is what they voted for . " Democracy is the principle that the people know what they want and deserve to get it , good and hard ."
Patrick MacKinnon January 11, 2013 at 8:42 AM
It's enough to make one long for a return to the policing of "L.A. Confidential".
Perhaps Dunn and Judge Scheindlin would see the light if they were compelled to live in those housing areas. Then again, perhaps not. As for lucid crime reporting, Floyd Cramer's "Nobody Does It Better" must have been written for Ms. Mac Donald.
Longdrycreek Ranch - Texas January 11, 2013 at 3:42 AM
In an ideal world, the libs and ACLU would have it. IN a fallen world, the libs and ACLU and New York Times maintain their ideal world in spite of the evidence.
Glad I do not live in NYC or was born black and condemned to live under the thumb of the New Masters on the NYC Plantation.
cctyker. Honestly, I'd rather have the police state that McDonald describes than the kind of world ruled by the ACLU
Who cares about stop-and-frisk? It only prevents black-on-black crime in the ghetto. It has no effect on white people in white neighborhoods. Isn't Jill Abramson's left-wing contempt for cops much more important than the safety of ghetto-dwellers and their hapless children? Let's get our priorities straight. And just because some black people may say they support S&F, it doesn't mean it's what's best for them. Arthur Sulzberger, Jill Abramson and Andrew Rosenthal know what's best for the ghetto.
She is the next Supreme court nominee...Jewish, Female, ultra liberal

Scheindlin is known for her intellectual acumen, demanding courtroom demeanor, aggressive interpretations of the law, expertise in mass torts, electronic discovery, and complex litigation.
Thank you Heather for keeping this topic out front and for exceptional investigative reporting.

As a retired law enforcement officer, and as a practicing paralegal, and an adjunct instructor in criminal justice topics, I thought the Court settled this in Terry v. Ohio along time ago.

How else do officers engage with the community, provide crime prevention, investigate criminal acts, and assist in bringing the violators to justice if NOT stopping, talking and investigating people in the community!?

Many who complain are the first to scream where were the police when they were assaulted or robbed.

Moreover, today, private security and personal protection is becoming more prevalent since for many reasons, and this is certainly one, our public police are unable or not allowed to do the job we give our taxes to. What happens when privately employed security officers, not beholden to the Constitutional standards of publicly funded law enforcement, take over the security of individuals, families, businesses and multifamily dwellings such as apartment complexes? In many areas, this is already the norm.

Again, thank you for highlighting the hypocrisy.
Ms MacDonald, if you want a police state in one section of town, then campaign for it in all sections of town. That way you will enjoy the use of police power on yourself as much as the people do who live in other sections of town.

Promote your ideas with action; use yourself as an happy example for others to follow; I'm sure the whole city will be happy to follow your lead and willingly submit to pat downs, displays of everything in your purse, being late for where ever they were going (assuming they find no reason, or do not make up a reason, to detain you), and standing aside with a cop at your shoulder just in case you get upset as you watch your vehicle being trashed as the cops search it. Have a happy police state, Ms MacDonald.