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New York Post

 

Shira's Cop-Haters

September 20, 2013

By Heather Mac Donald

PRINTER FRIENDLY

In ruling that the New York Police Department’s stop-question-and-frisk tactics were unconstitutional, Judge Shira Scheindlin accepted every specious allegation against the NYPD that the Center for Constitutional Rights presented to her, no matter how preposterous. Now she’s given further evidence of her slanted worldview with her unremittingly one-sided appointments to an “Academic Advisory Council” for the remedial phase of the case, Floyd v. New York.

Scheindlin created this council without notice to or input from the NYPD. It is supposed to assist the recently named facilitator and monitor as they “meet with stakeholders in the community,” in her words, to devise an NYPD “reform” plan. Almost without exception, the members represent that wing of the academic and advocacy world that sees race and racism as the predominant features of American life.

Some examples:

Tanya Hernandez teaches Critical Race Theory, employment discrimination and the “science of implicit bias” at Fordham Law. Critical Race Theory holds that race and racism structure nearly everything about the American legal system.

CUNY law school’s K. Babe Howell, a former defense attorney at The Legal Aid Society and The Neighborhood Defenders Service of Harlem, studies the “intersection of the criminal-justice system and race,” according to her bio. She is particularly interested in the “effects of policing of minor offenses and alleged gang affiliations.” It’s a good bet that she does not view the drop in New York’s violent crime and prison population as among the primary effects of such policing.

Columbia Law’s Olatunde Johnson is a former senior consultant on racial justice for the ACLU; she specializes in the overlap of housing, race and poverty. She supports an extreme version of disparate-impact analysis, which requires states to eliminate black-white disparities in juvenile justice regardless of the justification, including, presumably, crime rates.

Rutgers’s Taja-Nia Henderson’s interests are in slavery, social control organizations, incarceration and prisoner reentry.

Several of the advisers have publicly opposed the NYPD’s policing strategies. At an advocates’ press conference during the Floyd trial, Steve Zeidman, formerly with the Legal Aid Society and now at CUNY Law School, denounced the “plague of rampant stop, question, and frisk. . . inflicted on innocent men of color.” He’s said that Scheind­lin’s remedies are “too limited to . . . reform the habits of almost 35,000 police officers.” We need instead “a wave of suppression hearings” to throw out the criminal evidence gathered via stop-and-frisk.

Yale Law’s Tracey Meares appears frequently with Jeffrey Fagan, the Floyd plaintiffs’ statistical expert, to criticize the NYPD’s policing practices. She favors the policing practiced in Chicago, where minority youth are killed at four times the rate as those in New York.

Scheindlin cited another adviser, Ian Ayres, in her Floyd opinion. His 2008 racial-profiling study of the LAPD, done with the ACLU, shared the central flaw of Fagan’s study of the NYPD: Both failed to use crime as the benchmark for evaluating police activity. (In other words, if a preponderance of stops are of blacks, a department will be deemed racist even though blacks commit the preponderance of crime.) William Bratton, then the LA police chief, noted that Ayres “has never written a report where he did not find bias.”

Each of these professors and advocates may individually be a valuable addition to the academic and legal communities. But taken together, they form a monolithic view of criminal justice — the only one, apparently, that Scheindlin is familiar or comfortable with.

There are plenty of academics in the New York area who have more direct experience with policing and the effect of crime on communities than most of Scheind­lin’s picks, and who could have brought balance to the panel. At John Jay, Maki Haberfeld is a former Israeli national police lieutenant, while Fritz Umbach has researched tenant support for public order in New York’s housing projects. Jerry Ratcliffe, a former officer with London’s Metropolitan Police and current chair of Temple University’s Department of Criminal Justice, has concluded that police stops in Philadelphia have greatly lowered crime there.

But why do the facilitator and monitor even need these advisers? Scheindlin’s mandated “collaborative process” allegedly will involve tenant associations, block associations, churches, police unions and the NYPD, among other “stakeholders.” Critical race theorists and other left-wing academics only bring ideology to the mix.

In fact, the “Academic Advisory Council” is just another step in Scheindlin and the City Council’s “death by bureaucracy” strategy: Encase the NYPD in so many layers of red tape and ignorant second-guessing that the police will be diverted from fighting crime.

If Scheindlin springs any other “advisory councils” on the remedial process, here are a few member suggestions: crime victims; mothers who’ve lost their children to gunfire; landlords seeking to keep their buildings safe; elderly tenants terrified to cross the gauntlet of pot-smoking trespassers in their lobby; and small-business owners who remember the bad old days of drug-gang-dominated streets.

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota would do well to bring such NYPD supporters to the fore, since Scheindlin and Democratic candidate Bill DeBlasio most certainly won’t.

Original Source: http://nypost.com/2013/09/20/shiras-cop-haters/

 

 
 
 

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