The real Ferguson Effect: Police accountability at last

People are sticking it to The Man, and The Man has hit back with sticks, tear gas, rubber bullets and even helicopters to “dominate the battlespace,” all of that leading to more videos drawing more people out to the streets.

The real Ferguson Effect is the end of 50-a, the despicable law that Mayor de Blasio essentially created after Eric Garner’s killing to make a state secret of police disciplinary records. It’s a statewide database in New Jersey, to keep bad cops from just bouncing from department to department. It’s cities banning chokeholds, tear gas and rubber bullets. And it’s real pressure on police departments — whose budgets go mostly to payroll and pensions — to account for what they provide in exchange for those spoils.

This isn’t happening because the feds started collecting that information that Comey said they needed, or because of the Department of Justice’s halting attempts to reform a few local forces after particularly high-profile policing disasters.

Instead, Washington, always reluctant to look too closely at local police practices, backed off almost entirely after Trump’s election. Until now, ignorance has been bliss from law enforcement’s perspective.