Over the last week, America’s cities were engulfed in a combination of mass protests and violent riots in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
In close examination of the protests, the narrative that the mainstream media, local politicians and protestors doesn’t fit the stated objective of seeking justice for Mr. Floyd.
Worse, in analysis of the interviews broadcasted by protesters in many cities; it appears that many of the protesters were from outside the areas they were protesting in, were not from the backgrounds they argue are targets for systemic racism and were seemingly tone deaf to the lasting, historic consequences their protests and riots had on the cities they were marching in.
In addressing the issue, it should be the responsibility of the media to report actual statistics that prove the inaccuracy of the protest narrative.
According to the FBI, Bureau of Justice Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); a total of 1,004 people were shot and killed by police in 2019; 370 were white, 235 were black, 158 were Hispanic, 39 were of another race, and 202 were of unknown race. Of the roughly 350 million people in the United States, there are approximately 800,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers.
Annually, these officers interact with the public four to five times more than they make arrests.
"In 2019, police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous," Heather Mac Donald wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed." The police shot nine unarmed blacks in 2019 and 19 unarmed whites. "A police officer is 18-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer."
According to the census, the top three races in the U.S. population broken down by race was; white (76.5%), African-American (13.4%), Latino (18.3%). In cross-referencing these statistics with the aforementioned records; the percentage of people killed by police according to race using these numbers were the following: white, .0000018 percent, black, .0000062 percent, and Hispanic, .0000031 percent; which hardly fits the protesters’ narrative of a law-enforcement directed genocide.
Despite these facts, well-coordinated protests have been conducted nationally since the tragic death of George Floyd, with nightly riots in the first week.
Despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary; America has been portrayed as having made little or no racial progress in the last 60 years, and that law enforcement are widely racist; a false narrative legitimized by the media and a myriad of left-wing politicians.
More dangerous is a trend of directives by local politicians which force appointed law enforcement leaders to allow protests to get out of control in the furtherance of this false narrative. This has been lauded by a mainstream media who has seemingly banned all use of the word "riot" in lieu of the words "peaceful protest" in news coverage.
Sorry, but by legal definition, actions like rock-throwing, window-smashing, arson, theft, burglary, assault, and attempted assassinations of police officers is not a "peaceful protest."
Even further, the mere act of stopping traffic without a permit, staying out after curfew or failing to abide by the orders of law enforcement is a violation of the law and thus, crosses the line of "peaceful protesting."
Nationwide, law enforcement is now investigating more than 800 arsons and 76 explosive devices used in the "riots" that chronologically correlated with the "protests."
In the name of George Floyd, at least eleven people have died, to include David Patrick Underwood, a 53-year old security officer under contract with the Federal Protective Service in Oakland and David Dorn, the 77-year old grandfather and retired St. Louis County police captain who was also killed trying to prevent a community pawn shop from being looted. Both of these victims were African American family men serving their communities, but the Black Lives Matter movement has not condemned their deaths in the way they have for George Floyd, as it doesn’t fit the narrative.
In today’s hyper-partisan society, it seems that statistics matter less than an individual perceptions and feelings. Nationally, the only impassioned outcry against the rioters came from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was also seen marching with protesters and vocally supporting the termination of two Atlanta police officers for a minimal use of force amid the riots.
Concurrently, Democratic Mayors in New York and Los Angeles announced major budget cuts for their police departments while the Minneapolis City Council voted to disband their police department completely (which may not be legal).
So what are the lasting consequences for cities that have a reputation for failing to ensure public safety after a riot?
In looking at Newark, New Jersey’s largest city; the lasting effects of riots have lingered for 53 years. In 1967, Newark was a thriving industrial city known for leather craftsmen, ironworks, breweries and manufacturing.
That summer, protests over a police beating of African American cab driver John Smith led to violent riots that echoed those in Detroit that year and the Watts section of Los Angeles two years prior. By the end of the Newark riots, 26 people died and the city’s prosperity has never returned to its pre-riot levels.
In 1975, Harper’s Bazaar dubbed Newark "the worst city in America."
Despite a strong difference in opinion between those who characterize Newark as lawless since their riots and local activists who labeled the Newark Riots as a "rebellion" or “uprising"; statistics show that things got much worse in Newark after the riots occurred.
Newark, like many cities that endured riots the following year when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, experienced economic decline and "white flight" to the suburbs.
While the election of African-American mayors in many cities was considered a progressive move forward for cities still reeling from the effects of civil unrest, many in this new wave of mayors adopted machine political tactics of patronage and graft, not only disappointing the supporters electing them for change but many also faced legal troubles for questionable governance that eventually led to a decline in jobs for needy communities.
Today, Newark remains one of America’s poorest cities; with one-third of residents below the poverty line. Residents hold only 18% of jobs in the and only 10% of jobs that pay more than $40,000 per year.
In looking at the faces of the primarily millennial faces at protests; some wonder if participants have considered the chilling economic effects that these prolonged protests and riots have had on poor communities already harmed by months of forced COVID-19 shutdowns.
After all, how can you help underprivileged communities by further harming local businesses and draining already beleaguered law enforcement, fire and public works budgets?
As leaders ignore this question and allow protests to continue which causes many to theorize that, had this not been an election year; the reaction to George Floyd’s death would have been peaceful; similar to that of Walter Scott’s.
A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his two and a half decade career on both sides the criminal justice system. Mannes served in both federal and municipal law enforcement in though the 9/11 attacks, D.C.-area sniper task force, homeland security exercises and natural disasters. Mannes' work in D.C. led to personal encounters with the D.C.'s unlawful personnel actions, unconstitutional gun laws and criminal justice inequalities, which led him to become an advocate for public integrity. Thereafter, Mannes served for nearly nine years as the Director, Office of Investigations for North America's largest medical board, as a Chief Compliance Officer, consultant, expert witness, nonprofit board member and political adviser. Read A. Benjamin Mannes' Reports — More Here.<
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