Brooks: ‘Some Evidence’ of ‘Ferguson Effect,’ But ‘There’s Clear Bias In the Way African-Americans Are Treated’

On Friday’s broadcast of “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks stated that “there does seem to be some evidence of a Ferguson effect,” and “there’s clear bias in the way African-Americans are treated. On the other hand, I used to be a police reporter. When cops are out there, even if they have a gun in their hands, they do not feel safe.”

Brooks said, “[I]t seems to me there are two issues here, one, getting justice in this individual case — or these individual cases, and all the individual cases, and then, second, which is to me more serious and the more political subject, is, we do know there’s tremendous racial disparities in searches, in arrests, in all sorts of police activities, maybe not in police killings. Harvard Research shows there’s not much racial disparity there, but just about in every other police activity, there are these huge racial disparities. And when we see the protests — at least the legitimate parts of the protests, that’s the problem. And so some — it’s — I think it’s useful to separate these individual cases, and we don’t know what happened here yet, from the larger problem, which is indisputable. And finding a solution to that larger problem is really the political issue.”

He later added, “You find a lot of police forces that are actually doing better, I think, at community policing, getting integrated with the communities. San Antonio, Texas does a fine job. And then — but then, in say, the Chicago case, there does seem to be some evidence of a Ferguson effect, of the cops being — not wanting to be on those videos, and then pulling back. And then you get the spike in the murder rate as a result. And so these are just super hard issues. And, on the one hand, there’s clear bias in the way African-Americans are treated. On the other hand, I used to be a police reporter. When cops are out there, even if they have a gun in their hands, they do not feel safe. They feel like they’re scared. And so these situations are harrowing on all sides.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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