Get a link in your mailbox to your weekly NYPD Confidential column as soon as it is published! Click on the button above right on this page — or here — to sign up for this feature.
Then there is the New York Times, the embodiment of the political mainstream but now listing leftward. The paper endorsed Cabán, its rationale explained in a signed op-ed by Mara Gay, who appears to be the editorial page’s go-to person on the criminal justice front.
Acknowledging the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 90s, Gay attributes the millennials’ “political consciousness” to “the consequences of the brutal reaction to that era: decades of over-policing that criminalized blacks and Latinos.”
She and her millennials didn’t live through that crack era when 2,000 annual homicides were commonplace; when scenes of black teenagers smashing store windows in midtown Manhattan were not uncommon; when a distracted mayor and an absent police commissioner allowed a riot in Crown Heights to continue for three days, leading to the fatal stabbing of a Jew by a black mob.
That’s when Rudy Giuliani and Bill Bratton appeared with their “broken widows” and “zero tolerance” policies that most New Yorkers felt was necessary to stop the violence.
Police being police, the NYPD then went overboard to keep crime low. During the 12 years of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s rule, police stopped/ frisked/ questioned up to four million young blacks and Hispanics, 98 per cent of whom had committed no crime. Ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, Stop and Frisk, as it was known, was cut back, and guess what? Crime continued to fall.
Now with the city experiencing its lowest crime rates since the 1950s, those harsh police policies are disparaged as having decimated black and Hispanic families by sending hundreds of thousands of young black and Hispanic males to prison for minor crimes.
The question is, how will it all turn out? Will decriminalizing prostitution create an army of pimps and worse in Queens neighborhoods? Will violent felons released with no bail commit more violent crimes?
A society faced with anarchy or repression will always choose repression. But that is down the road. Closer to home, will Cabán’s victory and the Democratic party’s leftward tilt allow an opening for the re-election of Donald Trump?
If that occurs, Democrats will be sighing, “Oy veh.”
Copyright © 2019 Leonard Levitt