And it’s not just Baltimore. Cops all over the country have seen the six Baltimore police officers served up to appease the mob, and they know it could happen to them. The results are as predictable as they are tragic. In New York City murders are up 12 percent from a year ago as officers continue their reticence at conducting the type of proactive police work that keeps violent crime in check. In Los Angeles, homicides are down by 10 percent this year, though this is more of a testament to the skill of paramedics and medical personnel than it is to good police work. Shootings in the city are up by 23 percent and other violent crime is up by 25 percent. LAPD arrests for violent crime this year are down by 13 percent. And in some parts of L.A. the picture is bleaker than in others. Shooting incidents are up significantly across heavily black and Latino South-Central L.A. In Newton Division, for example, one of the city’s 21 patrol areas, homicides are up by 42 percent, and the number of shooting incidents and shooting victims have both doubled from last year. Newton Division was the scene of last year’s police killing of Ezell Ford, an “unarmed black man” who, according to the officers who shot him, tried to disarm one them after a foot chase. The involved officers, despite the lack of evidence that they did anything illegal or against policy, remain off the streets and under investigation.
These crime trends prompt a question for Attorney General Lynch: Will she, unlike her predecessor, be willing to discuss the truth behind these grim crime figures, which is that the culture of America’s inner cities too often fails to instill the type of moral values that restrain violent impulses? (For a heartbreaking example, see this story in the L.A. Times.) In this regard Mr. Holder was nothing but Al Sharpton without the bombast.
It’s all well and good that Loretta Lynch is meeting with police officers and trying to separate herself from Eric Holder’s legacy. But how refreshing it would be to hear her say that of all the problems faced by the residents of America’s inner cities, the police are the least of them.