There has been no bigger shift in law enforcement than what occurred on August 9, 2014. On that fateful day, at just one minute past noon, a violent criminal committed a robbery at a convenient store, exited the store and encountered Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson. In what would be just a few minutes later, an entire paradigm shift within the law enforcement profession was about to be put in motion.
Wilson utilized deadly force on that day after he was brutally attacked by a coward felon. He would be cleared 18 months later of any wrongdoing but the biggest lie ever perpetuated on the American Public had already taken hold. Through poor leadership, a corrupt media, and deceptive politicians, “hands up, don’t shoot” took a hold in the American Landscape and every group imaginable took advantage of it. From Activist Groups to President Obama, Ferguson was used as a turning point to show America how racist and brutal law enforcement was.
Demand after demand began pouring to law enforcement after Ferguson. From changing policy to training to mandating stricter rules that went far beyond the scope of case law, law enforcement did it. When a small study of 43 officers showed that body cameras could improve law enforcement behavior, agencies everywhere jumped on the technology. When the early data and research failed to show racism within the profession, the demand to provide “implicit bias” training came and agencies ran to get the training. After all, there is no evidence of racism but it must be there anyway?
But what if law enforcement was never wrong to begin with?
What if the incident in Ferguson was the product of a violent criminal committing a robbery and then attacking a police officer so violently, the witnesses thought the officer had been murdered? What if the isolated incidents across the country that have been used for evidence of a corrupt and racist law enforcement was not a problem from law enforcement but a symptom of violent criminals simply doing their job and attacking cops?
If law enforcement was never wrong, then every tax payer has been played and every police chief that has bent over to the continued demands should be ashamed of themselves.
Almost four years after Ferguson it has become clear that the big lie has turned into the big scam.
The data and research has continued to pile up and the body cameras that were supposed to “fix” law enforcement have only served one purpose. Catching liars treating law enforcement with disdain.
How can I be so sure?
Because I place an emphasis on facts and not emotion. Emotion and weak leaders are why we are here today and facts are why we should be taking our great profession back.
Four years after the Washington Post began compiling deadly force data, we now know there is no evidence whatsoever that law enforcement targets minorities or shoots unarmed black males at a high rate, as the media and other evil entities would want you to believe. In fact, one way to determine if black males are treated differently than whites is to look at the “unarmed” data. If there was a disproportionate treatment, the data would show it. In 2017, law enforcement shot more “unarmed” whites than blacks (3% vs 2%) and the facts continue to be so overwhelming, you will never hear the media discuss it.
The Washington DC Police released the largest body camera study yet and the evidence was clear. Body cameras not only did not change behavior of law enforcement but there was not any difference in the behavior whether body cameras were worn or not and unlike that initial 43 person study that caused all of the bullhorn experts to demand the cameras, this study involved thousands of officers.
Despite all of the demands and law enforcement jumping at every demand, nothing has changed which has caused some to question if it ever will. Dr. Geoff Alpert, a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina, has said that deadly force has likely “bottomed out” with no evidence that law enforcement can do much more to reduce the numbers.
Of course there is a simple explanation for all of this.
Law Enforcement was never the problem. The problem lies in the very ones that are creating the need to utilize force…..the violent criminal element. No one, including President Obama ever discussed this important element in the police-community equation.
If you want to get rid of police use of force immediately, the answer doesn’t lie in more training, more cameras or more civilians sitting in judgement on our heroes behind the badge. The problem lies squarely with the criminal element that continues to assault, attack and kill police officers.
Until we face that real problem, nothing and I mean nothing will ever change.
Travis Yates is the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute
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Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. An ILEETA Trainer of the Year, his Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates is a current Doctoral Student in Strategic Leadership and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for Law Officer (www.lawofficer.com) and the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute (www.stopcowards.com), providing leadership consulting and training to law enforcement around the world.