« The Weeds

Fixing the police

2020-06-16

Jane, Dara, and Matt on what we know about police reform and its limits

Resources:

"Unbundle the Police" by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

"Why Are the Police in Charge of Road Safety?" by Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution

Collective Bargaining Rights and Police Misconduct: Evidence from Florida, by Dhammika Dharmapala, Richard H. McAdams, & John Rappaport, University of Chicago

Reducing Racial Disparities in Crime Victimization, by Anna Harvey & Taylor Mattia, NYU

The Impact of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Policing by Bocar Ba, Dean Knox, Jonathan Mummolo, & Roman Rivera

Police Employment, Officers Per Capita Rates for U.S. Cities

Glossary of Nonviolence

A Force More Powerful

Gandhi on Non-Violence

Hosts:

Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Jane Coaston (@cjane87), Senior politics correspondent, Vox

Dara Lind (@DLind), Immigration reporter, ProPublica

Credits:

Jeff Geld, (@jeff_geld), Editor and Producer

The Weeds is a Vox Media Podcast Network production

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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our environment and working towards a better future learn more? It INDIGO ag dot com, Slash Reechoed, I hate counterfactual of blaming hot ridge of death. I was just I think now man ok dared next time you take a vacation. Jane, I wouldn't do. Counterfeiting at was we're gonna talk about a star trek, yet is gonna, be good. It's gonna be awesome, hello, welcomes another set of the weeds on a box media pike. Ass network I met replaces here as usual, with Jane coasted and for public as DARE Lynde. We have actually have had some opportunity to talk about. Add that that the George Ford Protests and and related issues- but there is so much raised by that that that we could delve into we were talking off line, should be explained,
solve racism or how to fix policing, and we felt like we were maybe I'm firmer ground with policing for one episode and to be clear, like I'm not an idiot, these are related topics, but it, but I do to think that they are separate. Obviously there are a lot of questions about race in America that have nothing to do with the police, and there are a lot of technical questions about what do we do with police departments and their managed how they are funded, etc, in which improving racial equity is like one of several goals, but I also think that
a lot of the reforms we're going to talk about today. The proponents of those reforms argue that they would address police brutality and police misconduct across the board, because one of the challenges here is that when we're talking about race and policing, which are obviously intertwined, sometimes that alludes to the fact that police, brutality and police misconduct happens to non black people as well. For instance, the state of New Mexico. Had the highest rate of police, I'm going to use the term they use, which is police involved, shooting which seems to make it sound like a plain without major air quotes when she said that, but you can't quota club, I see the predominant number of people
killed by police in New Mexico and numerous other areas are native american folks and folks of hispanic origin and so across the board? Police misconduct is bad for everyone. It's bad for the institution of policing, as we've seen it's bad for the people who are getting police. It's bad for the people who want police to be better It's just bad, and so I think it's important to talk about these reforms that we're going to get into my qualified immunity or d, idea of reducing police funding you. This is a across the board reform. In order to solve an across the board problem, it is also worth kind of distinguishing the issues of birth. Quality and misconduct the little yet brute held out you're good for him set of misconduct both in the lake. In the context of the relationship between and racism, where one of the points raised in response to points about non.
Black Americans also being killed by law enforcement. There is an argument of the spectrum of dehumanization there is when they deal with individuals in an abusive way goes all the way from just like protectorate stops to killing people. So there is the question of whether those kind of like harms on the latter end of the spectrum. Our racially, you know our whether there Rachel disparities and what kind of effects those later harms quitting quote have on police community relations is a bigger questions, does inevitably get into race much more than the kind of tip of the iceberg. Stuff up Police students and police community relations is a very important question here, cause when we're talking about reforming policing or in a re imagining policing or for that matter. For, like surgeons, certain definitions of the abolish policing and, like the sloganeering debate,
over abolish and defined, and reform is not something. That we're getting into here, but the idea that something is these end in police community relations and needs to be reset or needs to be dug out instead over animates a lot of these, and so it's worth thinking about policies. You know that sound kind of commonsensical or that sound like good government stuff in the framework of to what extent could this, if implemented, successfully, actually change police community relations? Is this something that is likely to really be felt in the community or we talking about harm reduction in such a way that it's not really going to change the fundamental distrust that currently exist.
Jumping off that I mean I want to make some observations about a couple concrete things that are that are out of the air one is there is the a can't wait campaign which is sing? I wrote about four for the site. This is put together by frankly, very smart people who are they. Know what they're doing and what they're doing is they ve come up with a menu of thing? Is that a mayor or police, chief or governor could say I am going to embrace this and you could get it done in like two or three days. That's important! You don't owe me like a lot of These are important in life that when people are in the streets and their angry, it's important to be more like make policy commitments that are fast easy to implement, don't invite all we can have a seven year pilot project- you don't things like that, but very narrowly Taylor to situations in which a police officer might kill somebody
If you implemented them all, and you believe that these things work, which I think the evidence was okay, it's not amazing, but it's okay! There are some pretty. Save if anecdotal, counter arguments about lake which of these points, as had been implemented in, say, Minneapolis that do kind of go to the question of what the difference is between enacting something and implementing it right. Yes, but even if it all works great right, these really are about police officers. Killing people, the one that's best, backed by evidence which is not relevant to the Minneapolis case, is about shooting guns and moving vehicles, because it's just very dangerous and police officers have reason to do that, and it really depends. If you come back to your boss and you're like he's like, why did you let those guys get away and your answer is well, I would have had to shoot her a moving vehicle, then, whether it's
Who says you should do that are not can be. Like quite decisive. I think people are in out there like looking to get bystanders killed, interlink when New York City implemented that war, which they did a long time ago. The amount of weapons discharges fell like quite dramatically because is apparently thing that, like comes up all that being said, this is really just about killing people, and you know when you look at survey, is right of very large share of the population, particularly african American. Let you know particularly male says that they have been mistreated by police. They obviously Muslim, up and killed by the police and things about choke holds like they're, not redress. I gotta stop. I then, conversely, you know one thing that strikes a lot of people intuitively is where we should make the police forces more diverse and sceptics of that often point to the fact that there is in great evidence that that has an impact on shootings, but there is pretty good evidence that makes a difference for
level issues, so other there's a guy named book, our by hearsay and economists, dumb. I think a humorous you Chicago he's a lot of research on policing issues, typically looking specifically at Chicago, but he co author to paper with de knock stunted mama, low and women were vera, and he shows you know pretty clearly that african american officers are much less likely to do Concord. Suspicious behaviour stops which is like I don't know what that means right and there's other researchers I programme before issues. Those kind of stocks are not at the cases in reducing crime. They are obviously very setting the two people and they tend to be
Even if you want to have a very generous control of what's going on the police officers just sent to high crime neighborhoods, which are predominantly african american latino, so that even if you then implement the discretionary stops in a totally race by banner like this, no white people on the street you're only going to stop by and latino people they have, no crime could roll benefit. Apparently black officers are much less likely to do them. Now. He find some nuance in here: Latino identified officers who do not speak Spanish, actually stop plenty knows that at much higher rate than anybody else does, which is a little bit of an oddity, so when you think about diversity, it's a hard question, then there's another paper that Jennifer Delia pointed to a few days ago, and it shows that from looking at affirmative action lawsuits that officers departments rather than have more action
american officers who more responsive to african american crime concerns and they generate actually lower levels of crime victimization right. So neither of these things relate to like the most extreme forms of like cops murdering people, but it paints a picture where, if you have a more diverse department, there will be lower crime in black neighbourhoods and also fewer incidents of police officers. Stopping people for no reason, and that would be good, because crime is bad because being hassle for no reason is bad, but also, I think, if you want to talk about, like quote community relations, that why spread. Low level harassment and widespread crime incidents are like. What's gonna drive a normal persons experience
Data day lie. If you see the new more diverse department is hassling fewer innocent people and doing a better job of preventing crime. You're gonna have a much friendlier view of like what's goin on, instead of like what's this occupying army doing so you know that kind of stuff. I think it is important to look at what is a typical police, good day like it, rather than one of the most extreme can rise. I think that the other thing about both about kind of the things that you're, starting with in in the concrete discussion, is that there are things that easily be done, which is to say, have already been done in many places and their things that can be done without alienating any relevant constituencies re Lake, the wide definition when we're talking about the last couple of waves of police reforms with the extent with the exception of federal, can
aunt decrees and the institutional reforms that can happen downstream of those in general things that Lake city councils tend to enact, or you know that counties tend to an actor despair or policies that departments adopt themselves. Are things that police officers either affirmatively want or aren't, will if they're, not hills their willing to die on so v universe of you, no reforms that we ve seen has been necessary, has been constrained by the obligation. To feel that, like everybody, is on board. Everybody has a seat at the table, another universe out there of things that social scientist might suspect are efficacious, or their might actually be some evidence. But you know some departments have implemented them in their efficacious. But in practice, up to this point, you haven't been able to get a political constituency for them because even if
in theory, a lot of Americans would agree with as appalling question. Like I don't know, for example, it should be heard or to rehiring officer has been fired from his conduct or you know off as you ve killed somebody shouldn't get to people on administrative leave for the years that their cases go through a court or, like somebody, who's convicted of killing. Somebody in I shouldn't it bit like they should lose their pension. That kind of thing there isn't a passionate and broad enough constituency are there hasn't to this point, been a passionate, broad enough constituency, insulate a local politician from the blow back they're going to get from established police interests. So, in the question of whether that's changing is, I think, a really big question that none of us and frankly, nobody out there can answer at this particular moment in time, because when people's attention gets activated and what its activated towards our like,
Big tbd is, but one of the problems we are dealing with here in terms of a menu of possible police fixes is that there are an inverse correlation between the amount of evidence we have on something and how radical a change it would be right. I think that that Why so? Many of the reforms that have been suggested, especially at the federal level? Donald Trump, is expected to sign an executive order today on reforms. But the reforms are like gentle suggestions that police department contemplate reforming their actions- which is the De Luca warmest possible formulation of this, but it comes that very political salience that DORA was just talking about when we talk in broad strokes, like should bad cops, be allowed to continue to be cups, pollsters and find absolutely not
in much the same phenomena that many people hate Congress, but like their congressmen. Many people like want broad police reforms, but not necessarily for their police department or for their local police in general, and so when you have those specific examples, especially because a political blow back that happens that leads to police being able to go unscathed even after acting outside of the bounds of the law that blow back comes from. Police unions that blow back comes from the constituency that matters most to local politicians. Local politicians do not necessarily care that much about YO until they had targets. About a national perspective when their job is to essentially get themselves re elected by the people who are saying don't fire this cop,
If you fire this cop will make sure you don't win your next to the council S. Let's talk about some specifics. He read his. We sort of talk about one bucket of reforms is changes to the conduct, guidelines, sprite and that's the kind of low hanging fruit of reform- I didn't I talked about shorter diversity initiatives that I think would have a real impact? but necessarily that would be a a marginal impact. It is like in the technical sense, but like a marginal impact over time, because you have the police force, you have, to a large extent
here's. What I would call through structural change is right, and this speaks to- I think unions, which we don't have a long, the body of evidence on, but this this paper by Democrats, dumb Appall Average Mc Adams, John RAP Report that has been discussed a lot over the past couple years is good evidence, because what happened was that cops in Florida? Could bargain collectively, but sheriffs deputies couldn't and then court decision gave sheriffs deputies, collective bargaining rights. So you can compare the overlapping jurisdictions of the sheriffs to the police departments that underlie them and, if found a a huge increase in in this conduct, I think about fifty percent increase in different kinds of excessive force. Complaints and and other things like that, I'm so I don't know you know I mean if you, if you could do that experiment again. Maybe you'd find smaller effects this. Maybe
something innocent Craddock about about the farthest situation. But, but that seems like a like a big one and then two things that are closely related to the union's, which is police officers, don't get fired all that frequently, but it does happen sometimes. So your typically talking about an officer who is wait a bit worse, than the average officer to be in a position to get dismissed and, furthermore, given the kind of sociological research on network effects, these sort of officer who is likely to be making it who was likely to be encouraging or facilitating misconduct among anyone working with that officer. So, like a potential, super spreader you will of misconduct within your exactly gas social bit. Misconduct spreads due to social networks, I'm so we ve got this good report what Wesley Lowry and a couple colleagues is washing posted a big feature called rehired about how frequently union arbitration mechanisms
a sort of forcing officers back onto the force ability a lot of someone disparate reporting on officers. You kind of bounce around from Depart department in a lot of America, not that much actually what we live by Latin America's, very fragmented municipality. You know, so you could be fired from the wealth and police and the next thing you know you're in there, but the water, town, police and and and something like that needs. I think, in a superficial, sends its like. Ok, disguise inexperienced police officer. He's worked in a region like why not hire him right, but obviously I think shouldn't. Do that, so that the evidence on all of those things, I think, Only around the barge it because his dad was saying we haven't really done it, but I at least have really come to believe that if you fired the worst offenders right like people who were probably like two standard deviations,
we're complaints than the typical officer good. We see right did, USA. Today, garlic is huge database of misconduct, complaints and the typical officer has no complaints, that's probably not because they never did anything wrong. People tend not to file these things, but plenty of officers had like ten or more right. So what's your son officers are doing something that is inspiring way more complaints? If you fire those people, you keep them fired, you prevent them from getting rehired. You probably raise the starting salary in exchange? Because you know people bargain for job security, but then you use those new vacancies to build more divorce forces. It seems to me that you could have a much much much better situation and that policing would still be recognizably similar to what it is today, but I think, actually a lot better
because not firing officers who engage in egregious misconduct or at best bumping them over into a neighbouring department like it is obviously terrible. Right to be to be having a conversation about all. We tried these reforms and they haven't worked when, like the list of reforms you ve tried doesn't include fire. The people who are breaking the rules like come on like what
dewar, especially because you have departments are like I we're going to use implicit, biased training, but let's keep in mind that implicit, biased turning has its own history, and I am now largely concerned about its though the widening of its ears, but also the officer who murdered George Foot had seventeen misconduct, complaints against him. A lot of these cases in which a police officer kill someone a particular situations. If you go back and look at their complaints against some, you can see like oh, the excessive use of force, complaints or general misconduct. Complaints. There's a there's, a history to this- that, I think, we seem to forget what we're talking about these reforms. I think that the Big Rock and like it's not like you didn't mention this matter, but there are lots of is that you could imagine going about the kind of firing bat cops problem? I was talking to you my local subject matter about this, and he pointed out that you would want to create a mechanism that and allow someone who,
knew they were going to get fired. Two simply resign and you'd probably want to have something of the kind of liability risk you know in there Is another arm of this problem. Right like right now, both because of the legal doctrine of qualified immunity, which genes can be into a little bit more in a later episode, but which, like broadly construed as a judicial doctrine, that you don't get to sue individual cops for depriving you have your civil rights and the kind of general fact that officers and departments dont end up getting kind of hit with lots and lots and lots and lots of lawsuits. So there isn't a financial incentive to keep people playing by the rules. As you know, you would probably want to mix some of that in with any kind of dont rehire bad cops initiative such that you would feel the be liable. Would fall on the institution. That was, you know that was willing to hire people who had had misconduct cloud their records elsewhere, but how,
with design. This in a vacuum is a little bit academic, because this gets to core labour concerns lake can we talk about. Police unions were often talking about their function as a an interest group or as an Eno as an idiot, logical entity, and that's definitely relevant, and it's definitely a part of why they ve kind of become such an identity politics entity, but how quickly you can establish cause to fire some one and what that does to their future employment prospects, our their future in a financial. Well, being is not something that anyone would say a union can't bargain on, and so the quest How do you know how easy it necessary to break the police unions- and if so, how do you legally do that becomes super central here, because other We were just talking about a lot of reforms that not only haven't been implemented but, like her
get implemented for the foreseeable future yeah and it's interesting because earlier this week we heard from Senator TIM Scott Republican from South Carolina. Saying that reforming or eliminate and qualified immunity is off the table as reform idea, which I think came as a surprise to a lot of people, especially because your hearing some people on both sides of the political I'll, qualified immunity which, let's be clear- and I discussed this and a podcast were posting later this week with Cato, Institutes, Clark, Neely, and it was a great conversation. But while the item you, It's a judicial doctrine. There is no law that says that police officers are relaxed. Line. It briefly, and I would be happy if it'll be Fridays show but like let's, let's just get it in here, so qualify Immunity holds that government actors that person police officers to public school teachers are government officials have protections against liability if they violate the civil rights of an inch.
Visual, whether those are the constitutionally protected civil rights, are federally protected cigarettes, interest angli. This is basically something that the Supreme Court kind of made up. There were a couple of cases that took place in nineteen sixty seven and nineteen. Eighty two, in which the Supreme Court introduced this concept that Qualified immunity is a defence that, when you are sued for violating their federally protected rights of an individual, you can say that, yes, you violated those rights, but it was not clearly
established that you should have known that you were violating those rights, and it stems from section nineteen, eighty three of the penal code, which the language has changed, but that's not particularly important. Just how that comes from but qualified immunity is essentially a Supreme Court invented judicial doctrine that lower courts have given qualified enmity too bad cop after bad cop after bad cop after bad cop cops you have stolen, for example, during the fifty thousand dollars from a house, they were searching cups who have stripped searched. In all of these have been found by judges to have violated the constitutional rights of the individual, but they receive qualified immunity and, in fact, most qualified immunity decisions result in the officer, a person getting qualified immunity
So if we go into it in a great deal of detail in the pot castle becoming out later this week, but when your hearing from people outside of Congress is qualified merely leads to end this is concerned. This is essential if there's a way to pit and in qualified, or merely that appeals to literally every politic, and yet Republicans have said, but absolutely not. We won't do that. Republicans are more interested in introducing the use of introducing implicit, biased training or change your introducing diversity initiatives and not at challenging qualified immunity, which is a yo it if it is. The most activist of judicial activism is interesting to me, but it's it's a part of this whole conversation.
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latest points right to sort of dual political sensitivity that exist around swayed wine is, you know, I think, more obviously more familiar to listeners due to the show, and that is pro cop ideological sentiment on the american political right. This is something that I find it was not a particularly salient feature of american politics traditionally, but a real consequence of black lives matter activists putting this issue on the top ball has been to create a self conscious counter mobilization, where we now see cops talked about more in the way that we talk about the troops right. I'm we, the the thin blue line flags that creation of police as an identity group they something that you do not become or stop becoming, but like that it is eight like immutable characteristic to be a police officer is
raises so many questions and it was the idea- and this is a new exactly but its but is part of the dual movement. The construction of a polarized politics around policing has been a shift in this consentment which, to some extent, has hardened attitudes on the right in a way that can make were formed of got. The other thing that there was pointing to is that a lot of the things that are problematic about how play His conduct is handled structurally, are just identical to issues that are raised for civilian public employees, and, while Democrats increasingly don't have like cop identity politics. If anything, the opposite, like Democrats want to be seen, as were former snow, but they don't want to be seen as anti teacher
I don't want the teachers unions to sit in that way, but the concerns that police reformers ray is about how police disciplinary issues raised, very, very, very closely, paralleled too how education reformers, see teaching in contract problems and the sort of agenda items that I outlined before about raise. The starting salary reduce the job security, make it harder to shuffle around from place to place like I believe in that I'm not just being an earnest here.
But, like I copy and paste that from like when I used to cover education policy issues more like that is human capital, centric education reform, best practices that, if you eliminate the people who are too sigma worse than average, replace them with average performers, you make that compensation more front loaded with the burn out quit rather than hanging on doing a bad job, and you basically you try to stop politicians from compensating employees. With a bad job practices and you instead, they look like we are going to pay. You money is going to be a good job, that you are going to want to have, but you will lose the job. If you don't do it well, that is a reform agenda that raises a lot of sensitivity is in a practical sense for Democrats of the state legislature. It is
a hard ask politically to ask a mayor or city counselor state legislator to cut the police in budget by three percent, but it is frankly easier to get them to do that, then, to get them to make structural reforms to the Labour relations model, because the other public employees are happy to have the police. Budget cut, because that's more money for them? They are not happy to have the police bargaining, paradigm changed because the biggest thing they fear is Scott Walker's, divide and conquer strategy from Wisconsin, where he just did, the police and fire unions from his DE unionization push, but police are were very important, our eyes to Labour in Ohio in Missouri in fights around right to work and stuff. Like that, the Republicans in those states- I wouldn't it- went to after police unions, but they were less cynical than Skywalker and they didn't exempt police unions from General Anti Union staff and then the police,
because conservatives like cops, the police became incredibly valuable our eyes, still labour and that's why I'm dies actually recording in her Debbie J East shirt here. And the union as a union. We all belong to ass. The Erika seo the disability that the police unions from the federation and I understand why they ask that, but like I also really understand why the AFL doesn't want to do that and it's something to do with like police. It's just like labour is stronger if it can form a sort of corrupt log role with police unions, but policing is works to be clear, there are lots of distinctions that can be like. The purpose of this is not to say that ops and teachers are the same and you can't draw any moral distinction. I hope you can, but the fact of the matter is that there is no. Vision in like the national labour early.
Act that says that if you carry a gun routinely the year unionized under like a separate provision that has more limited bargaining power like because legal matter, public sector unions or public sector unions, and that is created this kind of political coalition. That's either going to be broken on political grounds like either F Elsie. I owe, for example, is going to feel enough pressure from its member unions that it will ultimately to severely- or there will be some kind of legal change. You're not going to you know, you're. The argument that cops ought to be treated differently only goes so far as people who are not worried that they are going to lose real material power on the basis of this theoretical distinct. Between cops another public sector employs. This is also blackening the question of like or police unions, good members of the labour movement. There is like a decent argument to be made that
and forced me, unions, weren't necessarily on the front lines of saying, like all public sector workers deserve to have, you know a seat at the bargaining table, but again that something that's going to get resolved in there near term through intra labour movement. Politics like I, can definitely see a world in which, if members of other unions put pressure their syndicates to kind of require more from law enforcement unions, if they're going to send them protections and return like maybe that somewhere, but it's something that's going to have to get resolved on, it was grounds not on the grounds of can. You fear radically distinguish between a union of people who can carry guns in the union of people tat? Yes, that's that's very helpful guess I just want to say that I agree with that like the question here isn't like. Can we as takes, straw align its. I can you do that, also where I think that the funding question does get relevant, because obviously the closest thing to a policy ask that has gotten
on to the table by the last couple of weeks of protests, is the idea that police just need to have their budget and this can go either in the abolitionist direction of because police thing, is inherently dangerous to people's safety. Any reducing of contact between police and civilians is good. Or it can go in a slightly more kind of like strategic bank shouting action of if the problem with police is that they dont feel that their under democratic control, showing that, if they piss off the did populous too much there, be repercussions of them might do something to bring them in line both of those like might be through its also true that, because of the kind of because of the union commitments, a department that gets freaked out overdue ending, can't necessarily do everything that reformers wanted to do. In fact, there are concerns about like ok, if
union contract has lasting first out, hiring which often does like is that going to end up per the younger, more diversity, minded members of your police department and entrenching people? Who have you note? years of healing their looking, our own by there by the communities that they police. Are you going to be able to do a lot if your biggest commitment is to the pensions of your retired officers like it is difficult to have the the defending hundreds without also having conversations about both? What are the accountability structures that this city is setting for? How that money gets spent and the conversation of what our the limits that collective bargaining has imposed on how this department and spend its money, and I think that at a baseline one of the questions that I think that we need to be asking is what our police supposed to do. But what is the job of police? And there have been a couple of small,
Writers have been talking about the idea of unbundling the police, because they raise the point that we think of police is like are those of the people that if you commit a crime, they are the people who will come and deal with you having committed a crime but also police, do traffic steps? Please do wellness checks, police, do a host of jobs that all put people in close proximity to police sir, with again the authority of the state to kill them when that's not really at all what is perhaps needed or unnecessary. Do you need a police officer to be doing these certain jobs? What are the rules here? This is one I put on my libertarian hat and start thinking about the laws that we have in place in general on how we think about those laws, laws that across the board, when you have conversations even this reform conversation aware asking police to put in place reforms that they themselves will
in force, which seems a little circa too. It is if you are charged with disorderly conduct, for example, what is disorderly conduct if who are charged with a number of offences that can't land you in jail for any length of time. Even before you begin to be process through legal system. A lot of These crimes are based largely on the interpretation of the person who called the police on you. So if someone happens to think that your conduct appears to be disorderly, they will call the police wire. They calling the police, because that's what you do. You call the police when you see something, because you have to say something, and so I think that part of this reform effort has to
a reform of what we think of the police as being what is the job of police? What is the role of police? Why are they here and what are they supposed to be doing at a very basic level? I think that the conversation unbundling can often miss the kind of political realities of police officers themselves well well, rhetorically, say that they don't want to be doing this stuff, either but figuring out a workable alternative, that police are willing to be partners in is trickier, because once you get into any into interagency problem, you have to make sure that the incense aren't are aligned for actual cooperation like theirs evidence out there of when someone in mental health crisis can be real, or to either police or emergency responders, in primarily like empties. In practice, the two institutions
and a kind of fighting over who doesn't have to take them. So it's it's right there again. These are lake. There are so these things in the policing debate that are, I d as where, especially given the local nature of policing policy, you would kind of love to see a thousand hours bloom, but on the one hand there is the problem that kind of structural. You know you problems? On the other hand, there is the idea that, if there is in enthusiasm for something you don't want to hold it back from being more widely adopted. There was an argument between I'd. Well, there is, there is kind of an a parallel exchanged became a direct exchange on twitter between Jennifer duly accuse and economists who does a lot of kind crime, efficacy, work and Travel Logan, whose of
fellow economist who had been making the point that this is really not the time for more studies and more controlled rule out, because it's the time to save lives, and you know doktor, Dolly s response to die Logan was well, you are much more confident in the efficacy of this stuff than I am and of your preferred policies than I am. I am not confident Rolling something out is going to save these lives, and you can appreciate both sides of that for sure it gets back to what we are talking about a few weeks ago with the corona virus vaccine where there, almost certainly steps in a process that can be expedited once you have a reasonable sense that something is going to help, but that doesn't fix the first stage of the problem. Is figuring out what the things that are going to help and we're just in such an embryonic stage with that. So I almost one
like unbundled. The unbundling conversation is, I think, there's like a few. You know the nature of these protests has been to drive a lot of us who generalist policy writers into these conversations, as though, sometimes we like step into you now other people's core areas of expertise and like one thing that I think the but more extreme than I am police sceptics are clear we write about is that in practice, police officer spend a lot of time mopping up the failures of american housing policy. And this is really a question of light was, should there be some other agency the deals with it it's a question. This is like Why are there so many people experiencing homelessness and any given in the United States of America right, because the way contemporary society works, is that people are supposed to have homes, and when you,
Don't have a home right like you, inherit enter this. This area of problematic, like like is Nothing about berry society is designed for people to be unhoused and you are not going to do that without either counts Lee violating the law or generating massive grass roots pressure to criminalize what it is. You do me and I think this is a space to were like when police officer say this is not what they want to be doing like they are completely sincere because I've been to community meetings in my neighborhood, which consist of This disease is of liberal jurisdiction. Traditional dominate african market political class and then we'd like has rules on the box. The tender reflect a progressive perspective, so it's less here. Police hassling people experiencing homelessness, then
Small business owners hassling cops about the fact that they in arresting people who aren't actually breaking any laws and the police are just like the caught in the middle of this dynamic and what he calls for is a housing policy solution, which you can. You can look up many many many summits of the weeds for discussions of this, but it would be. A large side benefit to not having tons of people sleeping on the streets would be a great deal of reduction in these kind of issues where people want the police took one about do something, but the subjects of the policing are like not actually dangerous, violent felons some of the other stuff about traffic stops. I worry about. I would like to hear an interview with like at nine when one dispatcher, or not even a dispatcher but, like I know a guy who designs computer
systems to manage thine one one dispatch calls and like he is very sceptical of thus I dont have right in a big density It should be possible to have multiple overlapping. First response agencies that you call because its dense most people don't live in big densities. My Elise proximate Standing of why the police show up to everything, is that As long as you have the premise that you should have this, like fleet of police officers out and around patrolling it's convenient to have them, respond to call sprite and to have like three different redundant agencies with a Vehicles all everywhere is gonna cost a ton of money. But to say will most of these calls dont require police officers, doesn't change the fact that when you do need a police officer like as an active, shooter someplace, you would like the dispatch to happen quickly. Right, like it's, not good enough to say,
like well, this kind of spree killing is a rare. So that's why we did others like send anyone over there. We had an unarmed mental health specialists nearby, but we really think he should handle you dont like it's. It's a tough situation like where the the nitty gritty. I think it needs a work up. Not in New York in San Francisco, like I think they should like go ahead like full Trevon Logan Logan, like just get it done here, because they've got New York in particular, has like a bajillion cops per square mile and often the number the number of Nypd officers there are is in all aspects of the discourse might have up overweighting New York so something I want people to recognise what they read takes that emanate from New York. Is that
city has an unusually high number of police officers per capita and also has, by far the most people per square mile of any place in the United States. So if you look at officers per square Mile New York is like off the charts right. So this a lot of conversations you could have about New York City that I think necessarily apply to the rest of the country in terms of I'd. Do they actually need a police officer? It's also a very low crime city. So, like the case for- doing things you, your worry might be, there may be some more crime is like pretty weak in New York. I think you know if you're talking about Phoenix eat, you might want to look at these things differently. Anyway, that's unbundling, I think this like promising, but it's complicated. I feel more. Like Jennifer Dulac the point about New York raises one other kind of policy thing that that we ve seen
on the other that that we ve seen kind of to the table, which is the disbanding of certain units that have big problems: like the Nypd just declared yesterday that it was going to essentially to spend its plainclothes unit, which was responsible for it massively disproportionate number of civilian shootings in like, if you think about it, that's especially problematic, because those are people who these Seville. In question. Won't necessarily recognizes a police officer, a lot of the eighteen o shootings that seen in the last several years have been in contexts in which people reasonably don't expect that the person there dealing with is an off sir, and therefore more likely to respond as if someone is just threatening them with four and beating their home. For no reason, the use of kind of special units gets at the question of what is policing for, because it's exactly the kind of it sounds like the sort of technocratic targeted
that if he really really cared about solving crimes, you would have all of these specialists to know exactly what the patterns of behaviour for particular kinds of crimes are and know how to go about their day to day business in a way that gonna like have the biggest leverage, but in practice this is often where the work that beat cops due to the extent that there are in that that be somebody cops aren't like invested in police community relations can get undermined when you have some guys in a you know, gun recovery unit driving around just jumping out Trichina frisking people, ITALY, threatening them and be and running off so there, this is a kind of something else kind of keep an eye on, as departments figure out what they can do. It's not you know it's obviously not getting rid of those officers and that in
That's it! It's! It's not going to satisfy any kind of abolitionist demands for that reason, but it's going to be interesting to see whether that gets more wine adopted and what effect that has on if any on crime, because what the other questions here is no policy It is going to be happy if Prime goes up, but if crime doesn't go up, it makes it very very hard for, in theory, in theory, for law enforcement to argue in future that they are the thing stopping society from degenerating into total mad MAX no special units. You know I think Devlin deserve a closer. Look at me. Do you feel so many times right. There was the Baltimore Gun Trace unit. There was the allay ramparts unit, like huge corruption. Scandals often seem to emanate from these kind of special units, which really raises the question of like what is the intended purpose of them, since they appear to have
a very large amount of downside risks- and you know- I'm like a big believer in police- reduce crime at theory, which has become unfashionable on on the internet if that, in public opinion, All of that research says that police officers reduce crime, mostly by just standing around and being like, like see b c, and that kind of stuff, rather than like awesome like crack and heads gun. On the table were getting results. Chief kind of stuff, I have never seen anyone tried demonstrate that these special units achieve anything important though they obviously achieve PR wins frightening. The problem, with a police officer doing a hotspot patrol and therefore people don't do the crimes is like at the end of the day. All you have to show for it is guys stood around and nothing happened.
Whereas if you like go in with super aggressive tactics and serve no knock warrants and knocked down three peoples, doors that you really may find like a big stockpile of guns or drugs or cash or something somewhere and you can be like ha, we took a bite out of crime which, like I think, is the appeal of of those kinds of things, but that's one where it like. I really think the burden of proof should be on the other side. Did they try to show that that's actually useful? As opposed to? very typical public sector problem, where you have like over emphasis on a highly visible results: verses, emphasis on like outcomes that the nobody cares. How many press conferences you have with like some big stack of illegal crap that you see used like that? That's not important to people's lives where the worrying yet you're photograph of you seizing one ounce of marijuana and three guns does not really matter much to me. Yeah added to it.
Then? How do you know I like like a baby? This is like just classic war on drugs type stuff but, like is, is very frustrating to me, I'm so I hope we see more places. Gallagher I saw some people just like Poohpooh wing New York initiative, but they seem to be shooting at like four or five times the rate of the rest of the department. So then actually doesn't seem like a small thing. Now it depends. Maybe those particular officers incredibly trigger happy and they're gonna. Do the same. Shit and differences you shall context, but if it most of what we know about human beings is that institutional conduct session does matter a fair amount, so look will have to see, but it strikes me as like a very reasonable thing. Two percent sticking to the break. Do I paper. If the last year's hottest anything it's that we don't know what will happen next, but there's one thing I'll, be sure of the only future is one we can all share and leading the charge in building that future his mercy corps
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if you're, a gig worker or self employed, there's some good news about PPP loans. You might want to consider millions of self employed workers may qualify for fifty thousand dollars in one hundred percent forgivable loans- you might be one of those millions as the leader ppp loans. Wobbly can help you find out. They have helped over three hundred Thou in small businesses across Amerika get a ppp loan funds are limited so apply now that wildly dot com, slash, vocs and see if you qualify for a ppp low. That's w o m p, L Y dot com, VOX Womply, not a lender terms and programme rules apply. We are this week, I'm talking about the bead, most surprisingly, controversial paper and historical sociology in deciding how nineteen Sixty is black protests, moved elites, public opinion and voting its by also of Princeton, and it's a uses. A ton of different methods
were literally talking about everything from content analysis of headlines on front, ages are dark, are like front page news articles to a simulated version of the nineteen sixty eight presidential election to demonstrate that in general. The non violent protests, of the early to mid. Nineteen is associated with the civil rights movement. Did a lot too move, media, framing elite discourse and ultimately public up in the direction of supporting civil rights because it retained a a frame of these people are speaking out in a four sick human rights and are often being responded to with force and protests in which there was pro Initiated violence had the effect of shifting public opinion towards the right and against
and among elites about social control and law, and order ultimately leading to the election of Richard Nixon in eighteen. Sixty eight, the paper, the author, a kind of poses this, as as- solving a mystery of why you know the momentum of nineteen sixty four didn't carry over into one thousand nine hundred and sixty eight, which I think overstates the case of little bit. It seems awfully plausible to me that the passage of the Civil Rights ACT in the Voting Rights ACT in sixty four I've let a lot of white Americans to assume that, like it was over and done in, nobody had anything that they ought to complain about anymore. But it is a fear, Lee persuasive argument that you know, as he says, towards the end of the day, bear an eye for an eye in response to violent repression, maybe moral, but this research suggests it may not be strategic, and of course that raises questions about who is doing strategizing and who is the moral responsibility for view responds versus their oppression by it
I would. I would urge reading the paper you know, or at least like skimming it, if you ve, gotten, really really interested in the question of the efficacy. You know efficacy of riots or the calculus of when protests engage in violence on because it dies in this particular context of nineteen sixty civil rights Movement put it pretty new ones from compelling ray, and I thought it was interesting, especially because it gets into a discussion of the idea of framing when frame construction, specifically media framing, because the media is there you their job in some ways, is both to set a genders and reflect the agenda as presented by his protesters. I would recommend folks look in this paper at figure to which talks about how, if you have a subordinate group of activists who want to elevate their concerns, and you have their interaction with the state
differ based on whether or not they themselves were violent or whether the state was violent. Then you move on to how the media sets that agenda and frames the issues that the process began. At and then the people respond to that media framing and especially because I'll give an example. It's interesting. How much of that- and it goes into the paper that you can frame even if the state is violent in response to process being that's rioting and disorder is the state as violent, but the protesters are nonviolent, then there's a focus on what the protesters are actually trying to say or do, but- and I think that this is something that people who are involved in the early days. The civil rights movement were very much aware of that it was not so much about them themselves being nonviolent. It was about the fact that they were being nonviolent and in response, the state responded with overwhelming violence violence of resent broadcast across the country and at the same time I I
completely understand because reading list Dara noted. That quote about kind of the difference between efficacy and morality his from a moral standpoint that shouldn't be necessary. You should not have needed to see police dogs launched on small children to think ha. I think something bad is happening in Alabama right now. We should maybe do something about it, but the people who were behind these protests were well aware that is what White Americans largely needed to see because they were on where at best and blinkered at worst from what was happening to set a large swathes of their own country, and so I think that those papers very useful, but it is not very who was the best word its useful, but it does not make me feel better, which is your what's so what so much of academia is
I think you know this paper right interesting to me primarily because of the detailed empirical work, and I think it's important to contextualize. It, though, like this is the field. Ready that the leaders of nonviolent resistance movements had all law right and if you look at the writings, gone d at the like- not they like biggest harmonizing of Martin Luther King, but the like detailed, organizing of ham and stood nonviolent coordinating committee. Anything
forward- and there was this weird videogame came out in two thousand sex- is called a force more powerful and it was like based on a bunch of work, that I got him with with nonviolent resistance movements that are- and I met this add serbian guy, who was involved with a group got up poor over there, which was a non violent resistance protest movement in Serbia, inspired by Doktor king inspired by Gandhi. They were very effective and you know I saw I talk to him about like, like what are they doing right, be totally different context from race in the United States of America but it was the exact same theory. It wasn't that, like the security forces deserved non violence on the part of the protesters, was it literally. De the serbian opposition movement could not defeat the police in a combat sexual.
They didn't have a strategy to create a revolution to overthrow the government like they re just like they couldn't do it right what they could do with stage marches that were, I think, different from like nonviolent resistance is not the same as cortical peaceful protest, its disrupt right. It's like that Point of a lunch counter said is that the lunch countered doesn't function so you're there you're sitting, you're, not you not peaceful protest, ing were breaking the law, but there's somebody has to do something about right. They call it, cops and the cops they will. You gotta get up and you dont get up right and then, if you, I've, done these trainings? I don't have the persona anymore. If a left wing protest person, but they teach you how to go lip so that when the police want to make you move, they have to drag you in a way that your flop and around banging
your head on shit and it sucks. I don't know if I would have the composure to go through with it, but the point isn't don't push back on the cops, because it's wrong the point is you were trying to create a spectacle, in which all you were doing was standing by this door. Oh, you are doing is sitting on this bus Oh you're doing is going to the lunch capture and in response you gettin dragged around your face is getting smashed up
kids have fire hose is turned on the right like its deliberate and it's a pr strategy and you're trying to create an image where the the latent blue brutality of the state is brought folk, and then people say to themselves. Oh shit, you know, like I used to think air. What's the big deal the like now it's a big deal. There are children being bitten by dogs, there, people getting beaten up their stop happening. Members of the security forces themselves, but the thing is this: what I want to do with me time like. I was here to preserve the integrity of like society, but like now, a beating on defence. They do exactly what you saw with the national guardsmen National Guard, who got called in to the protests in DC, with a lot of exactly that kind of self examination and which is interesting because it was a contrast to the kind of locked down
Their mentality were used to seeing when police are facing off against protesters is someone who was due to this saying wow. This is not what I signed up for, and I dont know that this was right, so they going into this has always been attacked. De Gaulle. Can I mean it stems from like Hindu and christian religious concepts, but I think, like the point of nonviolent resistance, is more efficacious, then looting and Nasm is not a categorical judgment that, like cortical violence, doesn't work because I see people come back on this with ice well like cooks. Clan violence during reconstruction was very effective, which obviously was others. Some evidence that
the abortion. Terrorism is effective at getting. People do not want to go into that line of work because you might, you might be murdered. Obviously, dropping and nuclear weapons on Japan was like effective. The problem for protesters right would wait when nonviolent resistance is called for. Is it you're not gonna, win with the use of force? So then the question is: what are you gonna do and its how much harder to do what bus I was talking about here to do with Kane and John Lewis and others organized because it goes against human nature to just stand there and take the beat it. But it's more effective cuz, because it's more dramatic and it just clarify how bad the bad guys are, and if you're sitting there and you're like well, I already thought the bad guys were bad. It can be very frustrating because but why should we will have to do that? But, like the recently
to do that is you're trying to persuade people that their bad guys and so to change people's minds. And you do like you need to go above and beyond, because Changing mines is difficult, is the most banal thing in the world, but I think synergy, but I think it through its it's hard to persuade peep, there's a passage in the paper by the idea. The role of persuasion and especially not just a political persuasion, but what you are asking us for a socio cultural persuasion and that's really really hard, especially to make people think of you, change their mind, but also recognize that they need they need to, or should have a position on this issue at all to persuade people, not even less so from going from one side to another, but you have a side in any fight at all. It's interesting because that has led
you a lot of fulminating about who gets to comment on what and how people should be persuaded and persuade began to do what? Because I think that so much of the focus has been on the other. Select changing minds, but then changing them in to what is an is another piece of the challenge of the other question is who is responsible for bearing the onus of that right it? It can always be difficult when we're talking, especially about the difference between non violent and violent protests, like the only thing that differentiates something from getting quoted as a violent versus nonviolent protest in this paper is essentially, you know. Did somebody you pull out a gun? Did somebody star in our leg lay start setting fires that doesn't necessarily mean That's what the leaders of the protest wanted. That doesn't necessarily mean that a majority of people taking part me action, weren't committed to non violence, and so in it shouldn't you thee, moralized discussion of? Is it appropriate
to blame the movement or to blame protesters for acts of violence in owed in. In addition to the question of like, is that even something that people should be judging are blaming for? You have the idea of, like oh hey, when we're talking about framing, does the media accurately reflect the this is something that I think nobody got right during the last couple of weeks, it's very very difficult to know exactly how many people are among a protesting group of people. Are there. Having already decided that they were willing to destroy property or, to you know, antagonize early, throw things at police or whatever how many of those people got caught up. Heat of the moment, how many of those people opposed silently and how many people were trying to stop it. Like you, dont have a sense of that in trying to characterize that group is difficult. The other in a deeper level of who gets agency is to what extent is it appropriate to treat violent repression is just like a thing that happens right, as opposed to
Giving like explicit blame to security forces for creating the conditions in the case of this paper, because lot of it focuses on the nineteen sixty eight election and the April nineteen sixty eight riots following the assassination of Martin Luther king. The conclusion is essentially that, Martin Luther King, not been assassinated, Democrats would have won in nineteen sixty eight, which is like you know it you're playing with heterosexuals you're, always playing with fire, so it's definitely alike pulled claim. But if you flip the script on you can see the assassination of Martin Luther king as an extremely effective act of right wing political violence where. Like you know, in for all of the talk in this paper about Lake left wing movements are gonna shit
narrative against them by using violence. This was a very this successfully. You know ended up shifting the frame against support for civil rights and towards support, for towards a a racially conservative law and order mentality? So you know it's: it's just worth bearing in mind that you should be giving You didn't see too. You know the people who work for especially people who are thinking actively how their actions fit into a broader strategy and to what extent there willing to live with some. You know blow back in order to pursue some broader goal, but it's it's also worth bear in mind that the conditions that those people are dealing with our themselves, the product of choices that got made by people with a little more power. But I think
even even if you're in your framed arriv see it's it's like. It's kind of a numbers game where a bit like assassinating king Radicalized is essentially the target community and they deploy more violence and then the rioting radicalized, the White Community and it becomes more right wing, but in America like when, that happens, why people, just when the election ride like like, like the unfairness, comes down to the numerical imbalance to some extent, and so it's like that strategy that works for the majority me. You know, I don't like it's. It's an unlawful play, It's also interesting because so much of that is respond. Yo at indicted. Sixty eight white voters are responding not to the murder of a civil rights later, but to the reaction to the murder, then so much of this,
yo even the moment that we're having now or what we had after Charlottesville or after the murder sprit of Delanne roof. It's so much I reacting! to the reaction which I find it becomes a fascinating phenomenon more broadly. This also makes me think that we should do an entire counterfactual episode, because Democrats could have won and nineteen sixty eight is the counterfactual. I will now, by and on. I absolutely why I hate counterfactual with blinding hot ridge of death. I was just I think, Madam president, I dared next time you take a vacation Jane, I wouldn't do. Counterfeiting was we're gonna talk about STAR Trek, yet is gonna be go. It's gonna be ass. If, if Cisco hadn't gone back during the Bell Riots, we may never have developed utopian welfare state that, through such talk about Asia,
yeah. What's evasion goes back to non violent resistance, calm down, Cyrano wants to hear about that right now, anyway. I think that that was the fact that were discussing the STAR Trek, deep space night means that what we should. Probably I cried Alice. Ok, let's go. Let's go yes thanks. Everybody thanks thanks to our sponsors, thanks to everyone who participates in the Facebook group thanks, you Jeffrey growled, our producer, and these will be back on Friday with genes interview all about qualified commute so check that.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-19.