In the past month, three black police chiefs—in Seattle, Dallas and Rochester, N.Y.—have been forced out of their jobs by protesters and other liberal critics of law enforcement. That’s unfortunate but hardly surprising. These days, police officers are treated like criminals and criminals are treated like victims.
The trend should be of interest to anyone who recalls what liberals were saying after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Back then we were told that tension between cops and minority communities stemmed from the racial makeup of police departments, which didn’t reflect those communities. The media pointed repeatedly to Ferguson’s mostly white police force, and a Justice Department report on the incident noted that it was “critically important for law enforcement agencies, and the Ferguson Police Department in particular, to strive for broad diversity among officers and civilian staff.”
In fact, tension between police and low-income blacks results from the extremely high violent-crime rates in poor black neighborhoods. Racial disparities in police shootings are driven by racial disparities in criminal behavior, not by racist cops targeting black men. Talking about police department “diversity” is another way to avoid talking about the underlying problem of black criminal behavior. If liberals really thought that more-diverse police departments were the answer, they wouldn’t be hounding black police chiefs out of jobs.
President Trump has tweeted incessantly all summer about antipolice demonstrations that often turn violent. Clearly, he believes that highlighting his support for law enforcement will help earn him a second term. He may turn out to be correct, but right now public safety ranks relatively low among the concerns of most voters. Moreover, those who do care most about the issue tend to give Joe Biden the edge in handling it.
A national survey released by CNN earlier this month found that voters trust Mr. Biden by a 51% to 45% margin to keep them “safe from harm.” And a Fox News poll of likely voters in Wisconsin, an important swing state, gave the former vice president a 5-point lead on the question of who they trust more to handle “policing and criminal justice.” Perhaps the president should make clear what he can do about the protests if he’s re-elected that he can’t do now.