Beware of people who claim to have simple answers to America's race and crime problems. And beware of the media, which make it seem like life is getting worse
Claims about racist cops from groups like Black Lives Matter lead more people to fear and hate the police.
That's bad news for cops. It's also bad for black people who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods, says Heather Mac Donald, author of The War on Cops.
She points out that activist policing is what people in those neighborhoods need and want, because they are much less safe if fearful cops (or cops who just want to avoid a hateful experience—like being screamed at and called racist) stay in the car instead of questioning the young men hanging out on the corner.
Yes, says Mac Donald, it's true that police disproportionately stop blacks, but "violent crimes are disproportionately committed by blacks."
That's something you probably won't hear at a Black Lives Matter rally.
But Black Lives protesters also have a point: Some cops are sadistic, racist bullies.
Not many are, but with 765,000 police officers in America, if just 1 percent were racist, that would still leave 7,650 bullies with guns. For years, when officers said, "I had to use force; I had to shoot," Americans usually believed them. Now videos show that, in many cases, officers lied.
In addition, DNA evidence reveals that cops and prosecutors have locked up lots of innocent people—disproportionately poor people and blacks.