The aftermath of the wrongful death of George Floyd has unfortunately seen another wrong: the perception of too many police officers as villains. Police are feeling it, painfully. Many of them are blaming not just bad police but Black Lives Matter for its language regarding police.
“As a police officer I see firsthand the damage that BLM [Black Lives Matter] is causing,” writes Joe, a former student of mine at Grove City College, class of 2003. He emailed me for the first time in years, quite upset. He was referring to calls to defund the police.
“We call for a national defunding of police,” candidly states Black Lives Matter at its website, under its hashtag #DefundThePolice. “If you’re with us, add your name to the petition right now and help us spread the word.”
Add your name, join the petition, spread the word—and defund the cops.
Under the tab “What Defunding the Police Really Means,” BLM leads with this terrible stereotype: “We know that police don’t keep us safe.”
That’s a stunning assertion that has really angered police—including black police. It has also angered black residents in black communities who feel the police do, in fact, keep them safe. Some have been very demonstrative and very vocal.
Asked about “Defunding the Police,” David Clarke, the former sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin (and African American), states emphatically: “The biggest losers in all this will be poor black people in crime-ridden ghettos. The police are the only thing standing between them and violent criminal predators. You’d have to loathe black people to do that to them.”
For the record, I’ve emailed with BLM defenders who say the call for defunding can mean different things to different people. Yes, I’m sure that’s the case. And yet, if BLM doesn’t mean defund the police but, say, reform the police, then why not change #DefundThePolice to #ReformThePolice? If you don’t want to defund the police, then don’t create slogans saying defund the police. That seems reasonable, right?
And yet, the likes of BLM activist Miski Noor insist that when fellow activists say they want to abolish the police, they “100%” mean they want no more police.
Police certainly interpret it that way. Why wouldn’t they? How do you expect police sensitive about their difficult jobs to react to language like “Defund the Police” and “We know that police don’t keep us safe?”
For police like Joe, this isn’t helpful.
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