Protestors are clashing in the poverty-stricken Englewood neighborhood of Southside Chicago.
So, what else is new in these troubled times?
Well, there is a twist in the Englewood protests: the clash is between the defund the police crowd and more practical Englewood residents who have taken to the street in support of the police.
A news story in the Wall Street Journal quotes residents who support the police:
‘I don’t see how defunding the police is going to help anything in Englewood,’ said Mr. Harris, 53 years old.
A day later, Mr. Harris made funeral arrangements for his son, Keith Richmond. ‘I’m the last person who would be a police cheerleader, because I’ve had my own run-ins with them,’ he said. But, he added, ‘What are you going to do when they’re not there to protect you?’
. . .
Joseph Williams, a 31-year-old married father of five in Englewood, said he would like to see police better engage with residents to build trust rather than disband. He’s trying to coordinate a dialogue with the protest organizers: ‘If there’s no police at all, what’s the back up?’
Sign of the times: a father of five is no longer simply assumed to be married.
But Mr. Harris asks the question about the police that is on the minds of every rational, law-abiding citizen everywhere: “What are you going to do when they’re not there to protect you?”
According to the story, residents of black neighborhoods in other cities are similarly pushing back against the defund the police movement. This coincides with a recent and must-cited Gallup survey that found that 81 percent of black Americans want the same or increased police presence in their neighborhoods.
Heather Mac Donald, who has written extensive about the police and minorities, said this in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on July 10:
Policing today is driven by crime data and community demands for help. Victim reports send police disproportionately to minority communities because that is where people are most being hurt by violent street crime. Blacks between the ages of ten and 43 die of homicide at thirteen times the rate of whites, according to the CDC. In New York City, blacks make up 73 percent of all shooting victims, though they are 23 percent of the city’s population. In Chicago in 2016, there were 4,300 shooting victims, almost all black. Among the two dozen victims under the age of 12 was a three-year-old shot on Father’s Day who is now paralyzed for life and a ten-year-old shot on Labor Day whose pancreas and spleen were ripped apart. In Minneapolis, last September, a two-year-old girl was shot in her backyard at 1 AM; another Minneapolis two-year-old, Le’Vonte King Jason Jones, was killed in broad daylight in 2016 by gang rivals of his mother’s boyfriend. These are the realities that police commanders in urban areas face daily.
July 10 seems such a long time ago. Many minority members have since then fallen to violence, including a tragic number of innocent little children.
The Democratic National Convention which ended yesterday did not address one word to the violence and in our streets. You’d think all Americans lived in safe, gated communities with private guards from the issue’s utter absence in the proceedings. It had a bizarre, out of touch with reality feel.
I understand that Mark and Patricia McClosky, the St. Louis couple who know first-hand how frightening it can be when the police don’t show up, will be speaking at the Republican convention. The McCloskey’s live in an affluent, old neighborhood (it’s where “Meet Me in St. Louis” was filmed), but that didn’t make them safe.
Having just experienced protests outside my window, I can tell you I am grateful that the police showed up. If the defunders get their way, they might not next time.