Commentary

Former Ohio Mayor and NYPD Commissioner: No Evidence of Systemic Racism in Police

By Ken Blackwell and Bernard Kerik | July 7, 2020 | 10:46am EDT
A police officer wears a badge with a mourning band during a press conference on August 8, 2019 in front of the Garden Grove Police Department after a series of stabbings and robberies. (Photo credit: APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
A police officer wears a badge with a mourning band during a press conference on August 8, 2019 in front of the Garden Grove Police Department after a series of stabbings and robberies. (Photo credit: APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
Black Lives Matter, Joe Biden, and the Democratic National Committee own the death and destruction of this past weekend in cities like Atlanta, New York, and Cleveland.
 
Joe Biden and the DNC have surrendered to the radical left (Black Lives Matter, Antifa, etc.).
 
The Democratic Party has had decades to fulfill its promises to black Americans, but all it’s delivered is crime-ridden cities bereft of economic opportunity. It’s time to shake things up, show the extent of DNC failure, and expose BLM, Inc. for the fraud that it is.
 
For weeks, Americans have watched radical leftist anarchists and Antifa thugs engage in extreme violence and murder that will haunt many people for the rest of their lives.
 

Dozens of individuals have been killed and more than 700 police officers were injured nationwide. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property was destroyed as businesses and communities in dozens of states were devastated by arson, looting, and mayhem that activists quickly followed with a call to defund the police.

The supposed justification for the rioting was the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, but in reality the rioters were just exploiting that cause for their own purposes.

Lost in all the lawlessness was the real life and memory of George Floyd.

With each passing day, both of us asked ourselves the same question: where are the governors and mayors of these cities who took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States and keep residents safe from harm? Instead of upholding law and order — also known as doing their jobs — they turned a blind eye to the violence while praising the demonstrations that the radicals were using as cover.

Is there truly systemic racism and brutality in our police departments? Are cops killing blacks at disproportionately higher rates than whites? One would have to think so based on the national outrage and calls for change by local, state and federal political leaders and cultural elites. Surely, the numerous corporations that have donated millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter and other organizations to stop racial injustices must have real evidence of such widespread racial injustice? You would think so… but they don’t.

For clarity, we took a look at The Washington Post database that documents suspects shot and killed by the police. The database indicates that a little under 5,000 people were shot and killed by the police from 2015 to present day. This occurred in a country of 328 million people.

Out of these, 2,485 were white, 1,298 were black, 904 were Hispanic, and 220 were of other or unknown ethnicity. Only a fraction of these victims are unarmed. In 2019, on-duty police officers shot and killed 15 unarmed black people and 25 unarmed white people.

Given the numbers — 15 unarmed blacks killed out of roughly 43 million black Americans, which equates to a rate of 0.000035 percent — this is NOT evidence of systemic racism.

The real systemic and deadly reality is that black men and women are being slaughtered in cities and communities of color around the country in numbers that can only compare to war zones in Iraq or Syria — and those cities have largely been run by Democrats, in some cases for as long as 40 years.

Recently in Chicago, 18 people were shot and killed within 24 hours, the deadliest day in the last 60 years. Another 21 people were shot dead in St. Louis over a recent weekend, and seven people were shot and killed in Brooklyn in a matter of 10 minutes.

Between 2015 and 2018, Baltimore averaged roughly 328 homicides per year in a city with a population, at the time, totaling above 600,000. In 2019, there were 348 murders, and 2020 is already on pace to be equally as deadly.

Many of the mayors and police chiefs in those cities are black, and their officers are representative of the communities they serve. However, the second that a black man dies in police custody, left-leaning activists and politicians begin calling for sweeping reforms to combat the bogeyman of racial inequality, even when they know perfectly well that the death does not reflect a systemic problem. If black lives truly mattered to liberals, they would be marching in Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, or any of the other cities with unacceptably high rates of violent crime and murder.

There are many pundits and politicians ignoring the glaring reality of mass black murders because they are convinced it’s never going to change. However, we would urge them to look at the renaissance that took place in New York City under mayor Rudolph Giuliani, which taught us many lessons — the most important of which was that no one wants to go to school or live or work or visit a place where they do not feel safe.

When Giuliani took over New York City in 1994, it was the murder capital of the world. The streets were infested with filth and garbage, mothers put their babies to bed in bathtubs to protect them from random gunfire, and decent people lived in more or less constant fear. 

Giuliani’s initial focus was not jobs, schools, or social welfare programs. His primary focus was crime reduction, but for every percentage point we reduced violent crime and murder in the city, we saw corresponding increases in economic development, real estate values, and tourism, along with encouraging reductions in the welfare rolls.

At the end of Giuliani’s eight years in office, we achieved a 54 percent reduction in violent crime and a 63 percent reduction in murder and non-negligent manslaughter, according to the Justice Department. Thousands of black lives were saved during those years, and that trend continued when Michael Bloomberg was mayor because Bloomberg maintained many of the most effective policies we had put in place.

So the question today is, why are so many Democrat-run cities still facing rampant poverty, violent crime, and murder? Is it intentional, or is it incompetence? Either way, young black men and women are being killed and nobody seems to be doing anything about it — nobody even seems to care.

America’s mayors and governors are coddling criminals, villainizing cops, and victimizing the thugs — and in the meantime, black lives are being lost.

President Trump issued an executive order implementing common-sense policing reforms, the Republican-controlled Senate drafted legislation that followed suit, and Democrats failed to engage. The sad reality, however, is that until mayors and governors call out the thugs who are assaulting and attacking police officers, resisting arrest or interfering with an arrest, and committing acts of wanton violence and vandalism, the underlying problems in our cities will continue unabated. If the Democrats get their way and diminish or defund the police, then the ones who suffer most will be those who live in communities of color, where the violent crime and murder rates are already out of control.

The Democrat Party has destroyed communities of color all over the country, and it’s long past time for new leadership. It’s time to give Republicans a chance — after all, what do we have to lose?

Ken Blackwell is the former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. Bernard Kerik is the former commissioner of the New York Police Department.

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