Police tactics have become a hot-button issue across the country, touching on issues of overreach and abuse of State power against individuals for many libertarians, and often abuse of power against individuals as members of minorities and victim-classes for many progressives. Regardless of the sad facts of the Eric Garner case, which has been ruled a homicide, some of the pressure is going to come against current NYPD Commisioner William Bratton’s Broken Windows policing strategy which MacDonald has already written about.
From her current piece:
‘The anti-cop forces have shifted the focus of attention from the tactics used to subdue Garner after he resisted arrest—which is where attention should stay—to the very enforcement of misdemeanor laws themselves, such as the one against illegal cigarette sales. The New York Times’s lead editorial on Saturday, “Broken Windows, Broken Lives,” exemplifies this opportunistic turn against quality-of-life enforcement: “How terrible it would be if Eric Garner died for a theory, for the idea that aggressive police enforcement against minor offenders . . . is the way to a safer, more orderly city.”
Progressive sentiment and the need to keep the crime-rate low may pull de Blasio in competing directions, MacDonald reasons. I’m guessing that De Blasio can’t be seen as too far ahead of his activist and union coalitions, nor the kinds of sentiment expressed at the Times.
Some were speculating that the Big Apple is headed back to 70′s-style crime rates, fear and seediness. Myron Magnet, at the City Journal, recalls what it was like for him during those days, and hopes De Blasio stays strong on crime so that NYC can keep heading in the right direction.
From this NY Times previous piece on James Q Wilson’s theory:
‘But he was best known for his research on the behavior of police officers and lawbreakers. Probably his most influential theory holds that when the police emphasize the maintenance of order rather than the piecemeal pursuit of rapists, murderers and carjackers, concentrating on less threatening though often illegal disturbances in the fabric of urban life like street-corner drug-dealing, graffiti and subway turnstile-jumping, the rate of more serious crime goes down.’
MacDonald is still focusing on the victims of crime.