But more important than rebutting any specific policy is to challenge the philosophy driving the entire Biden justice agenda. Nearly every plank of that plan is driven by the idea that racial disparities in the criminal system result from bias, not from differences in criminal behavior. Biden is now the standard bearer for the progressive narrative that all racial and ethnic groups have comparable rates of offending. According to that narrative, it is only police, prosecutors, judges, and juries who behave differently based on race—the race of offenders.
That narrative is a myth, and police chiefs have at their fingertips the data necessary to dispel it. They have the data on who is committing the drive-by shootings, robberies, and burglaries in their jurisdictions. Those data indicate that African-Americans are disproportionately represented as offenders…
Police chiefs have kept offender information under wraps because they know that police departments will be accused of racism if they publicize the facts about street crime. Better, then, to keep Americans in the dark and let cops on the beat take the brunt of anti-police agitation, the thinking seems to go. But the coming wave of ideologically driven federal intrusion makes such reticence reckless.
Police departments should go on the offensive now against the race-based assault that a prospective Democratic Justice Department would bring.
Heather Mac Donald November 10, 2020 Politics and law; Public safety
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were unambiguous throughout their presidential campaign: they believe that racism pervades policing and all other aspects of the criminal-justice system. Just a day before the networks declared Biden the president-elect, he claimed a “mandate” to eliminate “systemic racism.” He doubled down on that claim the next day, in his first speech as presumptive president-elect. During the campaign, Biden routinely announced that black parents were right to worry that their children would be shot by the police, an assertion formalized in his campaign plan for “strengthening . . . justice.”
Biden’s plan for “strengthening America’s commitment to justice” reads like a Black Lives Matter wish list; there is no reason to think that a Biden–Harris Justice Department will not implement it. Among its most consequential proposals, it calls for a return to the practice of imposing weakly-justified consent decrees on police departments. During the Obama years, career attorneys in the Justice Department regularly opened civil rights investigations into police departments (called “pattern or practice” investigations) without credible evidence that an agency was systematically violating citizens’ constitutional rights. Those investigations almost invariably resulted in settlements (called consent decrees) that placed police departments under the control of a nonelected federal monitor and a federal judge; monitors collected millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded fees while they held police departments to draconian deadlines and mindless paper-pushing mandates for years on end.
President Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, reformed that practice. On the very day that Trump vindictively fired Sessions in November 2018, Sessions had signed a directive requiring that a high-level DOJ official approve each consent decree, that those decrees have a sunset date—usually no longer than three years—and that they specify what a department must do to terminate the decree. The directive stipulated that police agency’s alleged constitutional violations must be truly systematic and unlikely to be corrected absent a de facto federal takeover of the department. Justice Department attorneys must balance any expected benefits from the consent decree against its costs. High-paid monitors should be a last resort; Justice Department attorneys should ordinarily oversee the measures that they have imposed.