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The trouble with the American police In a country full of guns and resentment, tragedy is never far away

NYPD officers (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

NYPD officers (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)


April 22, 2021   6 mins

It was 1999, and I was 25 years old. I went on a jolly to Harlem with two black girlfriends from London to visit an African-American friend of mine. He was tall, gay, black and, like me, a teacher. I wanted to see more of the New York you see in films: basketball courts, people sitting by the roadside playing cards, washing lines teaming with wet clothes. So my friend rented a pretty red sports car; we all piled in and headed for the Bronx.

It hadn’t occurred to me that packing an expensive and shiny new car with black people and parading it around the Bronx might raise the suspicions of the police. Perhaps it should have, because only weeks before NYPD officers had shot unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo 41 times on his way home from a hard day’s work as a street merchant. Diallo was just going about his business when he reached for his wallet and officers shot him dead. It was a tragedy and travesty of inestimable proportions.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when the police stopped us, beckoning us to pause by the side of the road. I should have noticed how terrified my friend was in the driver’s seat, his hands tightly gripping the wheel. But I was too happy to notice: I was on holiday and thrilled to see a vehicle with the letters NYPD plastered across it. It felt like we were in a Hollywood movie.

So I acted without thinking: I threw open the back door and leapt out of the car, camera in hand, shouting, “Hello officers! I wonder whether you might pose in a photo for us?”

Had things gone differently, some might have said I acted irresponsibly. I didn’t notice the police officers’ hands on their weapons. I didn’t notice the clasps on their guns undone. I didn’t realise just how differently the story might have ended, had luck not been on my side.

As it was, the policemen didn’t mistake my camera for a gun. They must have heard my accent and instinctively knew I wasn’t from the Bronx. And I was, of course, a woman. I wasn’t the sort they were looking for. They knew this without having to think, in the way that we all know things unconsciously in our bones.

The policeman on my side of the car laughed and happily huddled with us for photos, while his colleague spoke to my friend through the car window, asking for his driver’s licence. I didn’t notice how traumatised my friend was by the whole experience. I didn’t notice how he didn’t dare come out of the car.

So when I jumped back in with my two girlfriends, announcing proudly that I had persuaded the officers to lead the way to the best bits of the Bronx, I was surprised by my friend’s reluctance to follow. I pleaded with him, and in the end, he gave in.

Once we had toured the Bronx, the officers suggested we all go for drinks and we agreed. By this point, my friend had warmed to them and I was excited to ask what it was like to be part of the NYPD, whether it was like how it is portrayed in films and television.

The verdict of the policemen involved in the Amadou Diallo shooting loomed over my week’s stay in New York, the city waiting with trepidation on the news of the policemen’s fate. It was tense.

I went out for drinks a few times with one of the policemen I had met. I wanted to find out more about policing in New York and I suppose he thought I was cute. His name was John. He was 28 years old and he still lived at home with his parents in New Jersey. He didn’t earn much money: he was a cop. He was also tall, attractive and rather charming, and he spent some of his time trying to persuade me that a life in New Jersey might rival a life in London. I was flattered.

During every encounter I had with John in Harlem’s bars and cafes, I was noticed by everyone around us. You could just feel it, as if I was somehow betraying the people of Harlem by colluding with “the other side”. John explained to me that everyone knew he was a cop. The only white people in these parts were cops — and he knew how much people hated him. And now, they hated me too.

John was kind and rather sweet, but his job was dangerous and dirty. He told me about a time he was searching a derelict house for a drug dealer. Suddenly, a dog jumped out at him from nowhere and, startled and terrified, he shot it. He killed the dog. He didn’t mean to, but as he kept repeating to me, the animal took him by surprise and he reacted without thinking.

“But don’t they train you?” I said, exasperated. It seemed absurd to me that a trained policeman should end up so frightened that he killed a dog. John laughed, saying that they got tons of training, but that being human and flawed, policemen make mistakes. They make loads of mistakes. They don’t want to die, and in a culture where guns are easily accessible, a policeman fears for his life on a daily basis. As much as I understood what John was saying, I thought of Amadou Diallo and his family: “sorry we made a mistake” can’t have been much of a comfort. Amadou Diallo didn’t want to die either.

But over time, John’s stories rang more true to me. He actually explained at one point how he was ready to shoot me when I jumped out of the car, how he had his hand on his weapon set to strike, as he always does in these situations. It struck me how foolish I’d been, leaping out of the car without warning, brandishing a camera. It also struck me how lucky I was to be a woman; notwithstanding the death of Makiyah Bryant, the black teenager shot by an officer in Ohio as the world waited to find out whether Derek Chauvin was guilty of murdering George Floyd, women are 20 times less likely to be killed by the police.

John didn’t know the policemen involved in the Diallo shooting, but he didn’t agree with the population of Harlem who were convinced that the policemen had killed Diallo because he was black. John thought the policemen had just made a mistake.

“But they shot him 41 times!” I’d shout with annoyance at him. How could he not see that this was completely out of proportion?

One of the officers had slipped and fallen to the ground at the exact moment Diallo had removed his wallet from his pocket, it seemed to the other policemen that their colleague had been shot. It was in the middle of the night and the lighting was poor. John explained that bullets ricocheted off Diallo’s body. The officers were convinced that Diallo’s wallet was a gun and they thought they were being shot at. So they kept on shooting. It wasn’t a bunch of murderous white supremacist policemen pumping a black man full of bullets for fun. John saw the event as a tragedy. Black people in Harlem, however, felt very differently.

Anyone who has read and understood Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink or Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow knows about intuitive, biased thinking. Sometimes it works well for us and “going with our gut” helps us make the right business decisions or choose the right person to fall in love with. But on other occasions it can mean a black person doesn’t get shortlisted for a job, or Amadou Diallo gets shot 41 times until he is dead.

Even in the case of Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost ten minutes, that doesn’t mean that “unconscious bias training” is the answer — in fact, it could make things worse. Constantly talking about a problem encourages some to exaggerate its enormity and it certainly has the effect in some children of encouraging them to give up altogether.

Bias exists, of course. We recognise that it exists and is part of human nature, even to those with a gun and long hours of training. But we don’t need to terrify children by making the world seem more violent, more racist and more unfair that it actually is.

It is especially unhelpful when short films like Two Distant Strangers are nominated for an Oscar and lauded by the guilty white establishment for portraying a trendy, very middle-class black graphic designer being killed by a white policeman just outside what looks to be a charming loft apartment in New York’s SoHo. It might make the white establishment feel better about themselves but it doesn’t help the children in my care who want to — and can — rise up and better themselves.

At the end of my week in New York the verdict came in and the policemen who had killed Diallo were found “not guilty”. The pain to his family must have been indescribable. The pain to the wider black community was palpable.

When the Derek Chauvin verdict came through on Tuesday night, I found myself thinking about John, wondering if he is still working as a policeman, and what he thinks of the shooting incidents involving black men that have taken place over the 22 years since we met. I also wonder what he thinks of the hundreds of unarmed white people who have also been shot and killed by police, and who never get a mention in the media.

I wonder about that week in New York and how different my life could have been had that camera of mine been mistaken for a gun, or indeed how my life could have taken a different turn had New Jersey been able to compete with London.

It didn’t, but I have returned many times and still visit my teacher friend in Harlem — although these days I don’t wonder why, when stopped by the police, he doesn’t dare get out of the car.


Katharine Birbalsingh is the founder and headmistress of Michaela Community School, a free school established in 2014 in Wembley Park, London.

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
3 years ago

“It also struck me how lucky I was to be a woman; notwithstanding the death of Makiyah Bryant, the black teenager shot by an officer in Ohio as the world waited to find out whether Derek Chauvin was guilty of murdering George Floyd”

The Author neglected to mention that Ms Bryant had a large knife in her hand and was about to stab another black woman when she was shot.

Last edited 3 years ago by Marcus Leach
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Yes, I’m surprised that Katherine omits this fact as she is normally very balanced. She was probably unaware of the fact because, of course, the MSM will have neglected to mention it.
Whatever, as Tim Pool said yesterday, those cops that have not yet resigned or retired early should simply refuse to answer calls to attend these situations. The cops are hated by the media, hated by the Democrat politicians and hated by the denizens of these degraded Democrat-run cities. They should simply let these people get on with killing each other.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes, I’m surprised that Katherine omits this fact as she is normally very balanced. She was probably unaware of the fact because, of course, the MSM will have neglected to mention it.” – Katherine should have done some proper research before writing in article. It’s poor quality journalism.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

No time for that, she wanted to “surf the wave “ of mass hysteria currently polluting the USA.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Sadly I must disagree, and on the contrary agree with Mark Preston’s assessment.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

In the Irish catholic community I grew up in , the returning ‘kid made good’ had usually become Officer Dibble ( in Top Cat). There are numerous cop dramas in America , Cagney and Lacey etc usually made by a left-wing team who portray the police as the good (albeit faulted ) guys. Yet when it comes to the ‘real thing’ these same people are on the side of the criminals. Can’t have it both ways-mob rule means summary justice & when there is an incident ( this girl was running towards someone with a knife) the police are less likely to come running to their aid and just let the mob decide.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago

What an unfair comment, like so many on here impugning the author’s motives, without a shred of evidence for it. I don’t believe you can read minds.

The article was in my humble opinion a thoughtful reflection – informed by personal experience – on the issue of police violence in the US. I use the term ‘violence’ entirely neutrally, the police do justifiably fear violence against themselves – there are a lot of guns in America.

But she didn’t say exactly the right things in the right way, in accordance with your world view, so she is damned. You could reflect on the fact that you show no more nuance and understanding in your posts than in those of the ‘woke’ warriors you oppose.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I beg to disagree.
Any essay on the current state of the US Police that ignores the greatest travesty of justice in US history is beneath contempt.

That travesty incidentally is the failure to either prosecute or even identify the cold blooded killer of Ms Ashli Babbitt on the 9th January last.

The video evidence clearly shows two black hands gripping the automatic, taking careful aim over a few ‘premeditated’ seconds before shooting Ms Babbitt at point range.

So no eulogy from those cretins Biden and Pelosi, no $27 million and absolutely no justice at all for Ms Babbitt.

Why? Wrong types of American, white, female and Military Veteran.
Instead of black, male and habitual criminal.

Until this matter is resolved, the honour of US Justice is irreparably damaged, which is a great shame as I am sure you will agree?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Yet lots of places in the US where guns are common have very little crime. I wonder if it’s the people rather than the guns.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago

Not a lot of crime where we live. Might have something to do with the fact that men without concealed carry permits are in the minority here, and the addicts know it.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Research? Surely you jest. What current “journalist” wants facts to get in the way?

Ri Bradach
Ri Bradach
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ri Bradach
John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Ri Bradach

No offence meant but the videos of the knife wielder in action were all over the internet at the same time as the MSM were reporting their somewhat incomplete version of the story.

Yes many of the sites where the video was posted might justifiably be called agenda forums. No different from the MSM in other words.

Clive Mitchell
Clive Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If you read Mail on Line you can see the video. Indeed I found out about the whole story in the MSM.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I think you are being overgenerous to the Author. The bodycam footage of the incident is widely available on the internet.
You are quite right, however, in noting that the MSM consistently omits crucial details to further the false narrative that innocent black people are randomly being slaughtered by police in the US.
Last week the picture of 13 year old Adam Toledo with his hands up prior to being fatally shot was plastered over the media and the narrative of the innocent slain by racist police proffered. The fact that Toledo was a member of the brutal Chicago Latin King’s gang, that he ran from police seeking to arrest him and another man for firing shots at passing vehicles, that a millisecond before the condemnatory photograph was taken, Toledo had his hands back and had surreptitiously disposed the firearm he was carrying, all that was omitted or buried at the end of media accounts.
The Author refers to the case of Amadou Diallo. What is notable about that case is that it is one of the exceptionally rare instances where police officers mistakenly killed a genuinely innocent person. When one digs in to the details of the cause célÚbre of supposed unjustified racist police shootings and killings, (George Floyd being a classic example) invariably a very different picture soon emerges in which the deceased person bears heavy responsibility for creating the circumstances that led to their demise.

Last edited 3 years ago by Marcus Leach
Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Good point. Interesting that the example given in 25 years old.

Hal Lives
Hal Lives
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I’ve only seen two articles regarding the shooting of Ms Bryant, one was on the BBC, the other was online – can’t remember which site – but both included the information that Ms Bryant was attacking another woman with a knife when she was shot.

Last edited 3 years ago by Hal Lives
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Hal Lives

It’s good to hear that the MSM might have reported something accurately. To be honest I have almost totally disengaged from it.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I don’t believe that the cops are hated by the majority of people in the black neighborhood, just not entirely trusted . All the polls show that a significant majority of them think that more policing is needed, not less. They are however hated by the loudmouth extremist agitators in the street who get all the MSM press coverage. The Dems and the MSM want us to confuse and conflate the two groups, but don’t fall for it.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

 She was probably unaware of the fact because, of course, the MSM will have neglected to mention it”
That’s the problem, isn’t it? If journalists like Katherine don’t know the full story, but still go ahead and publish, we have very little chance of getting a balanced view.

Hugh Jarse
Hugh Jarse
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baseley

Actually, Katherine Birbalsingh is not a journalist. As described below the title she is an educator, and by many accounts an inspirational one. Her piece is a reflective essay based on personal experience. I for one found it to be a good read.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarse

Thanks for correcting me. I, too, thought it a good read.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Jarse

Yes, for fiction.

David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Not forgetting that ANY callout could result in gunfire, as the US Second Amendment means that any or all citizens may be armed.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

This is the problem. I’ve always found American police arrogant, overbearing and predisposed to violence — and that’s to a white British tourist. But can you blame them, operating in an environment where anyone might pull a gun on them at any moment? I think you can’t. “Something should be done” — but the fundamental problem being not racism but fear, nothing can be done while the country is awash with guns…

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Yes, and good luck getting them, Brit.

John McGibbon
John McGibbon
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Black lives matter, but some matter more. So the life of the young black girl saved by the officer’s actions matters less than the life of the young black girl trying to kill her, simply because of the ethnicity of the officer who saved a young girls life.

Tim Diggle
Tim Diggle
3 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I am afraid that I just do not understand why you have felt the need to make any comment. The author merely acknowledges the shooting of Makiyah Bryant whilst confirming that members of her sex are far less likely to be shot. She freely admits that her own jumping from the car holding a camera was in hindsight arguably unwise but was probably mitigated by her gender. At no point does she describe the circumstances of Makiyha Bryant’s fate, make any judgement or any other comment beyond the irrefutable fact that she was shot by a law officer.

Chris R
Chris R
3 years ago

I am a white British man and was stopped by the police on the I-95 in North Carolina in the mid-1990s. As I barrelled along I noticed a Mustang sports car stopped in the central strip, and thought to myself – what muppet parks there? As the car pulled onto the highway behind me with lights flashing and siren blaring I realised – unmarked police vehicles park there.
So I pulled over to the side, and the police car drew up behind me. Now this was my first trip to the US, and one key message I had picked up before travelling is that you have to be very careful with American cops. Hands on the wheel, no sudden movements, be respectful.
My hands are therefore practically glued to the steering wheel as I look in the side mirror and watch the police officer walking towards my car. He undoes the holster on his hip, and has his hand hanging next to it – not actually on the pistol, but close enough.
He indicates I am to lower the window – so carefully I move my right hand to the switch, and down it goes. I explain I am a tourist, in a rental car, and wasn’t quite sure of the speed limit. He asks to see my licence.
“It’s in the boot” I reply.
“The whaat?” he asks, baffled.
“It’s in the boot” I say again.
“The whaat?”
I give in, and say “Sorry, I meant it’s in the trunk”
I am instructed to get out, so I do so carefully and walk around to the rear and stand in front of the trunk/boot. He tells me to open it, which I do, and I say the licence is in the suitcase which is now visible in the trunk/boot.
By this stage, I assume he has worked out that as I am British I am very unlikely to be armed, and I’m thinking he is probably about to say that I have an interesting accent – as people in that part of the world are wont to do. So I am relaxed, and hence let my guard down for an instant: I reach straight into the trunk/boot and start to open the suitcase.
This is not the right thing to do – his hand goes straight to his weapon. He jumps back and shouts “stop”. I freeze.
He undoes the suitcase himself, has a good look, and asks me where the licence is – I point, keeping my finger well away from the contents of the suitcase. He peers at where I am pointing to, then tells me to slowly take it out – which I do, very gingerly.
Then everything is fine, comedic even, because I had what was then the standard UK driving licence, i.e. a piece of paper that unfolds to about twice A4 size and is covered in incomprehensible verbiage. He looks at it, sighs, and tells me not to do it again. We go our separate ways.
Sharing this story with another white Brit, I realised I was lucky – his experience was to be made to stand feet apart, hands on the bonnet with the officer pointing his gun at him.
My take-away from this experience is that the cops in America are very jumpy with everyone, white or black. So best to do exactly as you are told, slowly and carefully. Then everyone gets to go home safe and sound.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

Thanks for that. Your last paragraph says it all. For the US Police the whole damned country is a giant Combat Zone or even worse a Free Fire Zone.

Hardly surprising when you consider its History and Culture. From Rodgers Rangers via Davey Crochet to Al Capone it’s just guns, guns, guns! With over 500 million in circulation this is still the ‘Wild West’ in tooth and claw.

A bit of a pity we ‘chucked in the towel’ in 1783, it could have been the most perfect Enid Blyton wonderland, with nobody wielding anything more offensive than a cricket bat.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

With over 500 million in circulation this is still the ‘Wild West’ in tooth and claw.
Is it now? Perhaps you could tell me which part of the country this holds true, because it’s not the case in my town, my state, or even my region. Big cities are hotbeds of gun crime, often involving criminals engaging in criminal enterprise, but even there, there are no sunrise duels among normal people.
With that many guns in circulation, I suspect the situation would be markedly different if guns and the majority of gun owners were truly the problem.

Patricia Ewing
Patricia Ewing
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Big, Democrat-run cities

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

There is Portland, of course. The duels aren’t at sunrise. The “normal” people prefer sunset.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Which town, State would that be, Alex?
Because I would think that a small amount of research would identify just how many shooting incidents there were in your State last year.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Rather disappointingly despite frequent visits to the USA I never seen saw anyone fire a weapon in anger or even get shot!

However I spent most of my time in idyllic pastoral surroundings probably rather similar to where you have the privilege to live.

But, according to Saul D on this site (below) there are 40K firearm deaths in the US pa.

Of these 26K are what we call ‘Darwinian Self Selection, but that leaves 14K murders/homicides. Now that works out at about 38 a day.
Not the OK Corral I will grant you, but certainly far more than where I live in Arcadia-under-Wychwood.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Most of America, while perhaps not pastoral, hears very little gunfire. Of the 38 murders per day, most occur in predictable cities among predictable populations for predictable reasons. Gangs associated with the drug trade are the principals here. Their crossfire frequently hits children whose lives do not matter since no white cop was involved.
Saul included the gangbangers, too, and once they and the suicides are removed, you’re left with domestic situations and things like liquor store robberies gone wrong. Quite a small total considering the total of privately owned firearms. One interesting fact is that more murders are committed with knives than with those scary “weapons of war” rifles that politicians howl about.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Thanks for that.
Interestingly we (UK) have had a massive upsurge in knife killings in recent years. The knife appears to be the weapon of choice for
(to lapse into the colonial vernacular) our ‘chocolate chums’.
However, either way we could do worse than try to emulate the sainted land of William Tell.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

With that many guns in circulation, it only takes a minority of gun owners to make for a pretty big problem.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago

“For the US Police the whole damned country is a giant Combat Zone or even worse a Free Fire Zone”.

No Charles, it is not.You Brits are lapping up this fantasy with the same vigor that you folks devoured the pulp magazines full of “Wild West” tall tales back in the 19th century. The Wild west was never that wild, Capone et.al. at their worst hardly affected the average citizen at all, and today the average American is not much affected by the availability of guns. But everyone loves a good story.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

It is still a country that names their children after Jesse James-nobody in Britain names their child after d**k Turpin.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

Well as I said above, 14K murders/homicides is quite impressive, but presumably most are Black on Black?

Incidentally that earthly paradise, otherwise known as Switzerland, has more guns per capita than the US.
However they don’t go around blowing holes in each other. Life is far too salubrious for that!

The interesting figure of 26K firearm deaths due to ‘Darwinian Self Selection’ is also of some note.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

The number of police officer killed in the line of duty in the US annually means it it is not surprising that they react the way they do. The only thing that is surprising is that they can get anyone to do the job at all.
In the 1970 there was an academic and critic of the police (I forget his name) who took the challenge to join the local police department. He very quickly changed his view and wrote a book about his experience. I expect the British police would be no different if they operated under the same kind of pressure.
Also it was Jessie Jackson who said the every time he hears footsteps behind him and he turns and sees a white man he is relieved. I suspect that this is relevant to the issue.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

I couldn’t agree more, it must one of the most thankless jobs in the Western World. “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t”.
There’s an old poem, possibly from Gibraltar, that goes something like this:

“God and the Soldier all men adore
In times of trouble, particularly War
But when War is over and all things righted
God is neglect and the Old Soldier slighted “.
If you substitute Policeman for Soldier and Riot for War you get a measure of the problem.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago

In my working with many UK police forces, the major difference in their comparisons between the UK and US is the degree of respect given to UK officers in their public encounters. I suppose public politeness (or facsimile) in the UK is greater. Where else does the barman refuse your order because you weren’t polite. Walking past Westminster Cathedral on my way to Victoria Station late in the evening would find many street people having a chat with the police. The conversations always seemed. polite, quite unlike conversations around NYC rail stations with the same kind of street people.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

It is not that easy to do if there is always that thought at the back of your mind that you could face a threat to life and limb at any time.
There was an American academic who served with the WPD who observed that the one lesson hammered into police officers during training was that anyone can kill you at any time

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Humorously one of my comments is waiting approval because I named a famous British 18th century criminal who rode a horse called Bess.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I pointed out that noone in Britain would name their child after that person but there are plenty of Jesses in America , named after Jesse James, so maybe their culture favours the outlaw more than we do?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Wasn’t it Black Bess?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Afraid so-thought if I put that in would get the ‘We want to check your thinking’ lot at my door

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

so avoid abbreviation of the name Richard-but what about the infamous school pudding,served with lumpy custard?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Can we have our colonies back please? Somebody commented that its us that ought to have Thanksgiving Day to celebrate getting rid of them!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

A blessing in disguise?
We could have done it in 1814, but were too busy plundering India and preparing to do the same to China.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Do you think we made the wrong call? All Queen Victoria’s numerous children could have reigned in the various States , instead of marrying them off to crown heads of Europe, which sort of caused WW1.

Barbara Lucas
Barbara Lucas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

Anyone travelling on the I-95 without local plates (or anywhere in the Southern or more rural states!) is targeted by police. It’s commonly known that they love out of state drivers and tourists as it’s seen as easy money via speeding or any minor infraction. As a tourist, you would’ve been a prime target, and they can spot a rental effortlessly. Even as a white, American girl I would be incredibly nervous when pulled over by the police….it’s just generally understood. The same way that I’m deathly afraid of a letter from the IRS, and see a letter from HMRC far more benignly!

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Lucas

That’s a lie, but this is the internet.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

As a Canadian, I can fully relate to your British experience with police in the US. Personally, I’ve never had any issues but I find that non-gun societies are generally quick to criticize American police but slow to appreciate the environment that they work in.
Police in Canada, UK, EU are taught to be mindful of the possible presence of firearms and use procedures to mitigate the danger but in reality they know the odds are they’ll likely never encounter a gun in their career. As a matter of daily survival, American police conducting traffic stops, don’t have to ‘pretend’ – they just naturally assume a weapon is present until proven otherwise.
Completely different mindset.
Last week in Texas:
” Two people were killed and a police officer and a third person injured Friday after an officer pulled over a car for a traffic stop and “casual conversation” escalated to gunfire, police said”
The body cam footage showed a relaxed officer talking to the driver – no indication at all that the officer was preparing for a “situation”.
In Canada and many countries in the world this story would be national headlines for a month.

Last edited 3 years ago by Walter Lantz
David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

I’d be a jumpy cop too as I would expect everyone to be carrying a weapon.
Actually, I wouldn’t be be jumpy, as I wouldn’t join the police in the US at all. Too dangerous, as too much a target of trigger-happy perps and lowlifes, let alone career-hungry politicians.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

Mirrors my experience being pulled over for speeding in ‘87.

once they realised I was a Brit, I had no problems. They were charming and reduced my fine from Usd 26 to Usd 13. As an impoverished student, i was very grateful.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

My brother was body-slammed by the throat onto a corrugated-iron door for talking back to the NYPD. He should have taken your advice, no doubt about it; but it’s a pretty parlous state of affairs when anything short of total obsequiousness to the forces of law and order runs a high risk of being met with brutal violence…

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Your brother is not the brightest bulb on the porch, is he?

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris R

Worthwhile to remember that I-95 is a notorious drug smuggling route. To quote a president that Brits tend to despise, there are some VERY bad hombres on that road. And guess what? Rental cars are the preferred vehicle of drug mules.

I wasn’t there, obviously, but I have little doubt that this is why you were told to get out of the car and open the trunk. I’ve been stopped many times for speeding, especially when I was younger and had a heavier foot. Not once in more than a dozen stops was I told to leave the vehicle.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake Jackson
JP Martin
JP Martin
3 years ago

It’s so refreshing to read an article on this topic that was written by a normal person.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Katherine is an extraordinary person who has taken on the might of the UK’s viciously malign educational establishment and, to a considerable extent, defeated it.

JP Martin
JP Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And with remarkable humility and grace, it would seem.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

Nowhere during the trail was Chauvin accused of racism. And If I was a cop in the USA I’d be looking for other work.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

A great many of them are, especially those who work in the Democrat-run cities, where they are hated by everyone. Hilariously, Minneapolis ‘defunded’ its police force substantially last summer, crime went though the roof, and now they are spending millions trying to recruit more police again. There is nothing on this planet dumber than a Democrat city government.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Barbara Lucas
Barbara Lucas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The Minneapolis police are locally, widely known to be incredibly corrupt. They need to start from the top and clear out the whole lot, then rehire.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Lucas

You seem to use this phraseology quite often. But you don’t provide any evidence.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

That’s because they have no evidence.
99 percent of the time, cops do the job they’re supposed to do, which is to keep crime under control (and their success at doing this accounts for the delusion that they are not needed and we’d be better off without them.) Compare that to your typical public school employee.
But no leftist, faced with this evidence of colossal failure, ever claims that the solution is a wholesale purge of these bloated and corrupt institutions, much less a total abolition of public education.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Lucas

You could say the same thing about any public institution. Why single out the police? Why not also drain the money-devouring swamps known as public schools and universities? That’s a purge I’d love to see.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Lucas

Ah but Minneapolis police are about to receive help from the DOJ to reform. The local taxpayers will fund a team to dig into every corner, force rework of all procedures. And the effort has no conclusion awaiting the next President. Meanwhile local policing will remain in decline. The hard police work will end and the citizens will buy more guns.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Lucas

A friend of a friend in Mpls had a rat doing the breast stroke in her lavatory one day, so she called the police. The officer was completely flummoxed by the rat, so he resolved the situation the only way he knew how, drew the weapon and discharged it. The rat did not stand a chance. Nor did the porcelain. Even the wife of the former Chief of the Mpls Police, an English-born lady of (for an American) left-wing views, said she much preferred being arrested in Saint Paul, because the police were so much more pleasant.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  opn

Why do so many Americans call out the police for what seem trivial reasons-I thought you had the frontier spirit ?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Preumably the lady in question who called the police about a rat in her toilet bowl didn’t have a manly man in her life to take care of it. It served her right to have her toilet blown to smithereens, for a calling a cop about such a silly thing. What’s next, calling cops to get rid of spiders?
On the other hand, a cousin of mine (who lives in Australia) once made the mistake of calling her father-in-law, her husband being out of town, to deal with a possibly venomous snake in her bathroom. He arrived armed and ready and shot the reptile to pieces, leaving a hell of a mess for her to clean up. When she objected, he asked, “What the hell else did you expect me to do, woman?”

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  opn

I don’t believe you.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Barbara Lucas

… says the illiterate California “progressive.” LOL

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is a textbook definition of insanity.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

It’s a simple question of cash and quality. The training of a Las Vegas policeman takes longer and costs far more than that of a policeman in Minneapolis. Monkeys & Peanuts in other words.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

“I didn’t notice how he didn’t dare come out of the car.”

“although these days I don’t wonder why, when stopped by the police, he doesn’t dare get out of the car.”

In USA One Does NOT get out of the car when stopped by police! One keeps one’s hands in sight on the wheel after rolling down the window, and not reaching for the wallet till asked. This is for EVERYONE’S Safety! It is like NOT joking about a bomb in an airport, it is how it is.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You are no doubt correct, but I think, perhaps, the point she was making that in our culture (the U.K) even if the police were carrying a gun (which is very rare) no one would think they would ever shoot you with it. Here, you go to the police if you need help, or the time or even directions. Sometimes (especially at night at the weekends, in places where people drink (the British are not known for their sobriety)) they might be a bit surely. Some might of course be racists, which can be seen in some parts of London, but most are not. I’ve had few dealings with the police, aside from once when a friend was sadly murdered (I needed to be eliminated from enquiries because my dna could have been found from visiting his home) and they were kind, considerate and empathetic. Policing by consent is the aim in the UK (not always achieved I will admit, especially in the 80’s when I came out, although still not violent, they were somewhat unsympathetic, but so was everybody else) and by and large my experience is that they do this well. In a civilised society the police should exist to support and protect the people. It is the people who created them and pay them. In less civilised societies they are an agent of the state not the people. I have found in France they will ignore any request for directions, in Germany they will politely direct, and occasionally take you to your destination, in Italy any conversations end up with you having to have dinner with his mother. All much better than being shot. ( I forgot, in Spain, if you cry, they will hug you ). I think tat has summed up all of my encounters with the police….

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

Why would police in London be more racist, when they are in a diverse multiculti city? Does London create racists or does it attract them?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

“Some might of course be racists, which can be seen in some parts of London,” The above poster gratuitously added. It is like the little hammer a doctor whacks your knee with – it is instinctive to add that white people are racist, it is just like saying hello when greeting, it has been taught from childhood in the young.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

USA is weirdly dangerous. It has a substantial underclass of exceedingly violent criminals. That is what Europeans do not understand. If British Bobbies policed Chicago one night the city would be in flames. Then the other side of USA, 90% is exceedingly safe, safer than UK. That the criminals are kept out of the decent people’s lives is because of police who are ready to enforce law.

Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That is a part but it is also the case that criminals don’t like to be shot by angry would be victims as well.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Two statistics say it all.

From the Centers for Disease Control’s annual causes of death report for 2018: For every non-Hispanic white man murdered by gunfire (1.76 per 100,000 that year), 21 non-Hispanic black men were murdered by gunfire (36.96 per 100,000 that year.)

From the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2018: 89% of all murders are committed within racial groups. Non-Hispanic black men constitute 12.7% of American males, but in 2018 they were 64.8% of men murdered by gunfire.

I didn’t make any of this up. There are many other stats that say the same thing with different numbers, so I am not cherry picking. Not only that, but the murder rate in the big cities where most blacks live DOUBLED last year. Why? Because “Black Lives Matter” caused police to withdraw from central cities, either altogether or in a de facto sense by not taking risks. This is the result.

The U.S. is a very safe country, but safety has sharply declined in the big cities, plus we have a major, separate, and growing problem on the southern border. Brits, you really don’t have cause to worry about America’s licensed concealed carriers. That is NOT where the problem is.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake Jackson
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

America is a unique place; it’s pointless to try to apply European standards to anything there, including policing. Yes, all American cops are armed, and they ARE a lot more jumpy and trigger-happy than any in Europe (and likely more so than Canadian cops, who are also armed), because they know exactly how many civilians have guns there too, legal and otherwise. And they have a uniquely violent, volatile, oppositional, unpredictable, large criminal underclass which more often than not is armed, if not with guns then with some other deadly weapon they are more than willing to use, esp. if their brains are addled with drugs or alcohol and they don’t care about the consequences. You can argue all day about why these things are, but nonetheless, the stakes are a lot higher for American cops than for cops anywhere else, and if they value their lives at all they are constantly aware of this. So anyone who doesn’t do exactly what an American cop tells them to do is an idiot. You can resent their overreaction all you want afterward, but at least you’ll be alive to resent it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kathy Prendergast
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

‘In USA One Does NOT get out of the car when stopped by police! One keeps one’s hands in sight on the wheel after rolling down the window, and not reaching for the wallet till asked.’

I learnt that myself when pulled over by the police with a friend at the wheel whilst driving late at night in Boulder Co. having just gone the wrong way up a one way street.

He got out and I extremely naĂŻvely made a grab for our details in the glove compartment of the Jeep and the policeman parked behind absolutely screamed at me to keep still and put my hands where he could see them.

Tony Price
Tony Price
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The problem is that in the UK one DOES get out of the car when stopped by the police. Since guns are not an expected issue that is the least problematic behaviour.

Tim Hall
Tim Hall
3 years ago

It is always worth stating that, according to the research done by a black professor in Harvard’s sociology department that white men are 21% more likely to be shot by a police officer than a black man. Black policemen are more likely to shoot a black man than a white policeman too. Please look at the research. Please let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tim Hall
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Race undoubtedly informs some of these shootings, not least because in America black people are proportionally more inclined to have to live in poorer, more deprived socioeconomic conditions with the inevitable commensurate crime that usually brings, but surely the US gun culture itself is at the heart of this?

According to Statista, last year, 2020, 457 ‘white’ people were killed by US police, up from 370 the previous year, 241 ‘black’ people were shot, up ‘only’ 6 from the 2019 figure and 169 ‘Hispanics were killed, a figure that has remained relatively stable over the years.

Black killings by police are definitely overrepresented in terms of their proportion of population but let’s not kid ourselves that this is purely about the colour of a person’s skin.

When you have armed police and they’re faced on a daily basis by a potentially armed populace, then it’s little wonder that these shootings are as commonplace as they are, particularly in areas of high crime.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
David Shepherd
David Shepherd
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

As pointed out in the Fryer report years ago, the statistical baseline here is not the general population, but, the population involved in police incidents. Because ‘blacks’ are disproportionated involved in police inicidents the proportion is different and ‘whites’ are, infact, disproportionatly killed by police.
This is a classic case of statistics being used to highlight the wrong problem; which is in this case the high number of ‘blacks’ being involved in police incidents. Now, this will be for a number of reasons including racism and being complex will need multiple solutions.
Making the police less brutal, violent or mistake-prone is clearly a good idea (although it will save more ‘white’ lives than ‘black’ ones); but, that will do nothing to solve the problem of the number of ‘blacks’ involved in police incidents in the first place.

Last edited 3 years ago by David Shepherd
Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I chased up some rough background statistics (please cross-check for errors):
Of the around 40,000 deaths from firearms (most being suicide) in the US, there are about 14,000 murders by shooting per year. Of this 2,000 (one in seven) are under 19s.
Just under 4 people a day are gun-murdered in California, 2 a day in Georgia, 3 a day in Florida, 3 a day in Texas, 2 a day in Illinois with many other states having 1-2 people a day being murdered by firearms on average.
Considering the victims of these murders:
7,600 victims were Black – mainly 20-34 Men (3,800 victims)
3,200 victims were White (non-Hispanic)
Accounting for population size Black Americans are almost eleven times more likely to be killed by shooting than White Americans. Unfortunately much of this is Black-on-Black crime.
By contrast, US police shoot and kill around 1,000 people a year of which around 240 are Black Americans. It is also worth observing that approximately 50 police officers are killed each year in the US in the line of duty.
If you could reduce the numbers of murdered Black victims to the same rate as for White Americans, you would save the lives of around 7,000 Black people a year and halve the number of US gun deaths.
If you want to save Black Lives, then the biggest place to start is by reducing gun fatalities among Black Americans.

Patricia Ewing
Patricia Ewing
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Even more crime stats from the NY Post and the FBI:
There are 30,000-gun related deaths per year by firearms. That is not disputed. What is never shown though is a breakdown of those deaths that would put them in perspective nor are they compared to other causes of death.
‱ 65% of those deaths are by suicide which would never be prevented by gun laws
‱ 15% are by law enforcement in the line of duty and justified
‱ 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons
‱ 3% are accidental discharge deaths
In New York City in 2019, 319 people were murdered. Fully 88 percent of them — 280 people — were black or Hispanic. And 93.2 of them were murdered by other people of color.
Almost 96 percent of all shooters and shooting victims in the Big Apple in 2019 were people of color. People of color also accounted for 73.8 percent of rape victims and 81.3 percent of the rape suspects; 69 percent of robbery victims and 93.3 percent of the robbery suspects; and 79.5 percent of felony ­assault victims and 86 percent of the assault suspects.
People of color, in other words, are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violent crime in New York City. That is a cold fact. These proportions have remained remarkably consistent over the past 12 years.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

 but surely the US gun culture itself is at the heart of this?
Surely it is not. If the millions of legal gun owners were the problem, it would be far more obvious. The bulk of homicides occur in big cities, where guns laws are far strict than in rural areas or less populated states. The drug war is more accurately placed at the heart of this – the inner city kids caught in the crossfire are victims of that enterprise.

Arthur Holty
Arthur Holty
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

What a load of tosh…the amount of police shootings of citizens in the USA is a direct consequence of the second ammendment. Many commenters here have described that in the UK you do step out of the car when stopped by police without fear and it is the same in Australia… and our police are armed to the teeth… simply because our police do not expect to be shot… and before anyone jumps to conclusions I have no problems with the second ammendment as this entirely up to US citizens to address.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Arthur Holty

You know nothing, but when did that ever stop a “progressive” from puking out his uninformed opinion? LOL

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

“not least because in America black people are proportionally more inclined to have to live in poorer, more deprived socioeconomic conditions with the inevitable commensurate crime that usually brings,”

Maybe the neighborhoods are poor because the American minorities are inclined to more crime, and crime is a huge suppressor of business. Maybe you have the horse pushing the cart instead of pulling it.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Poverty and education go hand in hand. In many poorer communities education is not highly valued and is often of poor quality as well.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Really good article, and as someone else said, feels like it’s been written by a normal person.
As your younger self attests to, not many people really can comprehend how difficult it is to police well. Add firearms into the mix and the complexity multiplies (not to mention lethality for all involved).
People must people realise that policing is not unlike a teacher in an unruly classroom. A good teacher teacher will ostensibly holds sway, but that control is fragile. The peace held is mostly a mind trick that doesn’t allow the children to realise that they could take control.
Same goes for the police in a lot of situations (especially riots/demonstrations). Good policing isn’t just about being good police – it’s the support the police officer gets from their team, their organisation, their training and society. All of these help – much like the school supports a good teacher. When you start unpicking that support, you get bad policing. You don’t even need bad police officers for that

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

As a casual observer I am always astonished by how much screaming and shouting both the US Military and US Police indulge in.
Are they stone deaf? Or is such hysteria an Operational necessity?
Either way it certainly seems to raise the tempo of any incident they are involved in, and more than hints that they maybe on the cusp of an unfortunate panic attack.
Perhaps watching a few episodes of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ might help?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

Upvoted for the Dixon of Dock Green reference. Not a lot of shouting or shooting but also, unlike modern films/tv shows, the police were the goodies and won!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

“Evening all”.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

what I found odd about the Floyd case was why they phoned the police in the first place as the crowd reaction was obviously hostile? I was the only customer in a charity shop manned by a sweet silver-haired old lady. A tall thuggish person came in and tried to buy something ( value about 99p) using a dodgy ÂŁ50 note. She gave him short shrift and he left to try to palm it off elsewhere.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Haha
Can’t speak for US police so much, but the US military perception is a bit exaggerated due to films like Full Metal Jacket etc.
I mean all Americans are generally louder and more vocal than Europeans, so there’s a grain of truth there, but it’s not quite like the fiction.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Actually I was basing that gripe on what I’ve seen on the ‘telly’ of US Forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whilst I applaud their smart ‘Wehrmacht’ style helmets, I found the shouting quite deplorable. All this “ get out the car”, “ freeze”, “spread your legs” stuff.
‘Full Metal Jackal’ may have encouraged that, particularly the first half of the film. However the near contemporary ‘Platoon’ gave a better image.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

That’s a fair point, though their more robust methods arguably worked better in the ME than our traditional softly softly approach.
Let’s not forget Helmand in 2006 where we went in thinking that if we smiled as we patrolled and wore berets instead of helmets – peace would be restored in a jiffy.

Last edited 3 years ago by A Spetzari
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Good point, I think the pernicious influence of Northern Ireland may have deceived us.

However the US still shout too much, and it makes them and everyone around them appear jumpy, a sort of contagion of panic.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago

The German influence on the USA is immense. Someone said the American military and probably the police are heavily influenced by the Prussian mentality. Authority is imposed, obeyed and is given a moral quality. One cannot put a wise head on young shoulders. what people ignore is that ” Dixon of Dock Green ” was either a WW1 or WW2 vet and had probably boxed and played rugby( as all Police did ) and had led men into combat. Dixon was therefore trained and had the experience of dealing with far more stressful situations than anything on a street.
Next, I think we underestimate the massive gang /crime growth from the late 1900s in the large cities in the USA. It has has been said Hollywood was built on crime money.
Prohibition criminalised vast parts of the USA and allowed organised crime, Southern Italian, Irish and Jewish to buy influence within the urban areas of New York, New JerseyChicago,etc. Docks are are always hotbeds of crime.
Rural america is often heavily armed and peaceful. Let look at Britain: rural fairly peaceful until 1800, except for London rookeries. Massive rise in urban population from 1800 to 1900, creations of slums and crime along with it. Peaky Blinders give a insight into Birmingham crime pre and post WW1.
What I think would be sensible is accept that inner city crime ridden areas are dangerous and a much higher level of selection and training of the Police is needed. Large, over weight Police worry me. I would suggest that inner city Police need to achieve a level of fitness comparable to Commandos with a much higher level of martial arts training in order to restrain large violent criminals. I suggest all police deprtments train with the Japanese and learn advance Ju jitsu techniques.
W E Fairbarn developed all the skills needed while runing the Shanghai Police Anti Riot squad in the 1930s.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

There are estates that the UK police only enter with an armed response team. The typical policeman hates having to go in those places.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

The rookeries of 18th and 19th cities, nothing knew. We solved the problem because 90% of Britain wanted to live in crime free areas and supported the Police. Most Police were ex army, larger and stronger than the average male and trained in boxing and wrestling and played rugby.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

We also made good use of Capital Punishment both as a eugenic tool, and as public entertainment.

In fact it was also enthusiastically used for what we now call “white collar crime”, eg: greedy moneylenders/ bankers were hanged at an astonishing rate, although in retrospect even more could, and should have been done.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I’m not surprised.
We should never have let such Estates to degenerate into the human cesspits they are today.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

People forget – or like to gloss over somewhat – that the largest group of European immigrants to the US was from Germany. So what you’re saying makes complete sense.
In my experience, the Americans I have worked with have for a large part been sticklers to the rules – to the point of inefficiency sometimes

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

“Shanghai Police Anti Riot squad”, now there’s a group of men who would have sorted out Belfast in minutes.
I wonder what WE Fairbarn would have made of the
B****y Sunday Enquiry?

Arthur Holty
Arthur Holty
3 years ago

I watch a lot of US police videos and I have the same feelings as you…when you see 15 cops all pointing at an obviously dead person for 3 or 4 minutes screaming for the cadaver to put their hands up I often wonder if it is all real… unfortunately it is. Regardless they love their guns so good luck to them.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago

I do a lot of driving, and have the speeding tickets and traffic stops to show for it. I was yelled at once by a cop, and I deserved it. Better than a ticket.

Philip Akinsoto
Philip Akinsoto
3 years ago

I am a black man who emigrated from the UK to live in the US in the mid nineties. I have been stopped around 8 times by the police and to be honest they were all justified because I was racing above the speed the limit. I have lived in NY, FL and now Alabama. I have only gotten a ticket once which later was cancelled because the cop stopped me in the wrong county. (He actually came to my house to retrieve the ticket, much to my wife’s chagrin because she can’t understand why I always seem to get off ). I will confess that I have used the doctor defense in 5 of those times and they let me off,but I will say that each encounter acted respectfully and acknowledged my errors and apologized. You see,I seriously doubt (especially in this climate) that 99.9% of cops will derive pleasure in killing any human being good or bad. The job hassles, media ,stress and paperwork that go with it are not just worth. As a physician, I have made a few wrong calls etc. sending the “resident” malingering hypochondriac home from the hospital the umpteenth time only hear that something bad happened to them. To the outside world and even our diabolical media it could have been portrayed and perceived that I was one of those heartless money grabbing doctors who kicked a poor individual seeking care.
There was a case 3 years ago in my hospital where an acutely psychotic very large black male was brought into our ER by his own family because he was very violent . Our scrawny security guard would have been crushed by this guy and our some of our ER team about 6-8 people tried restrain physically to give him an antipsychotic sedative which actually had no effect on him. The police were then called in and used their tasers on him to restrain him which it did briefly only for him to go into cardiac arrest and die (presumably because I guess maybe he was in poor health and the huge dose of atypical antipsychotics do have potential cardiac risks;hence the black box warnings.). The local NAACP was involved and did not make any waves,but the national NAACP stated that they want to investigate further. I have heard nothing about the case since. I guess the family may have not wanted to cooperate with them.

Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
3 years ago

People who engage in violent criminal behavior in front of a cop run the risk of getting shot. There is a very easy and logical solution – don’t engage in criminal behavior and if you do and the police show up – STOP. If the girl in Ohio had not tried to stab somebody right in front of a cop (who was on scene before she attacked the other girl) she would be alive today. The difference between the white community and the black community is the black community says, “The cop shouldn’t have shot her.” The white community says, “The girl shouldn’t have tried to stab the other girl.” Put the blame where it belongs – on the criminal.

Tony Reardon
Tony Reardon
3 years ago

I was staying with an American friend in Chicago and one evening we received a call from a neighbour that his family home, which was currently unoccupied, had been broken into and that we should call the cops and go round there.
We arrived before the cops and, to my Australian eyes, the neighbourhood looked perfectly normal and not at all dangerous but we stayed in the car. Shortly two battered, plain cars, each with two plain clothes police, appeared and screamed to a halt in front of the house. Guns drawn and yelling the cops ran around and into the property which, it transpired, was empty. These guys then left and a “real” black and white police car turned up with a policeman in uniform. He would not get out of the car in this neighbourhood and my friend had to sit in the back, which was separated from the front by a thick plastic screen, and fill in and sign a formal report. Apparently the uniformed policeman had a fear of snipers which I have no reason to believe was unjustified.
My friend had spent his childhood in this house and apparently it wasn’t dangerous then. However talking to the neighbour, we heard some hair raising stories and the plain clothes cops also had very few kind words to say about the locals.
BTW the thieves had stolen the heating system ripping out pipes, radiators, etc.

Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Reardon

In Detroit, fire and EMS squads will no longer respond to some calls as they are a hoax to lure them to be robbed at gunpoint.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
3 years ago

Interesting account. I hope John had since moved onto private security; still armed but, because he is protecting the rich and famous, above the reproach hurled at his lowly civil servant equivalents.

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago

The essence of the problem is in this paragraph:

“During every encounter I had with John in Harlem’s bars and cafes, I was noticed by everyone around us. You could just feel it, as if I was somehow betraying the people of Harlem by colluding with “the other side”. John explained to me that everyone knew he was a cop. The only white people in these parts were cops — and he knew how much people hated him. And now, they hated me too.

The police and the community have to work together for the safety of all – making the community safe, not just imposing laws. The gap descibed makes both sides feel unsafe, and combined with guns and belligerence on both sides, leads to increased risks of physical harm for both groups.

Earl King
Earl King
3 years ago

Dear Ms. Bryant. The perspective of the black experience vs. the white experience in America can be different but not necessarily so. The black poverty rate is double the American avg. depending on the year. For comparison, roughly 22% vs. 11%……However the poverty rate for married black Americans is 7%. Black immigrants to America about the same as married blacks. Poverty is the enemy of the urban and rural black. In the case of the urban black I don’t know if you can comprehend a 72% Out of Wed-lock birth rate and the damage that does. You are more likely to be incarcerated if you grow up fatherless. Since you live is poorer neighborhoods you are more likely to experience crime. It is a statistical fact that more crime happens in poor urban areas than wealthy urban areas. One year within the last decade FBI statistics showed that African Americans were 50% of all arrests for Murder and Assault. They are only 12% to 12% of our population. African Americans count for 34% of all incarcerated. In other words regarding crime they punch way up above their weight. Police are biased, but not due to race, it is due to experience. Police, police in high crime areas, the poor urban areas as that is where the most crime occurs. Weapons and gangs are ubiquitous and many young black males find themselves in gangs. Sometimes gang involve shooting someone, sometimes that someone can be a cop. Would it surprise you to know that a recent Newsweek poll found 81% support for police and 20% of the above wanted more police. It is most dangerous in the “hood” for the vulnerable. Roughly 1000 people are shot every year by police. In 2019 USA Today said there were 13 unarmed blacks shot….With over 10 million arrests a year our country is torturing itself over a handful of cases….Most of which of the tragic nature you describe above. They are not of the Chauvin variety. I believe in 2019 only one officer was indicted and prosecuted for a mistaken death. Yes young black men get stopped a lot driving….it is the bias that officers have learned on the job. I do not know how to make that stop more safe for both….but this is not a country that is a police state where cops wake up in the morning and say I’m going to shot a black man today.

Jordan Flower
Jordan Flower
3 years ago

I didn’t realise just how differently the story might have ended, had luck not been on my side.

It seems the author here is suffering from a case of “anecdote fever”, a virus that has swept through society faster than a lab developed respiratory virus.
40 million police encounters per year.
Roughly 1000 of those end in death. This is counting all armed or unarmed, justified or not justified. (Vast majority are justified uses of force, but that notwithstanding…)
You have a higher chance of dying from AIDS—in 2021—than dying from a police encounter that goes wrong.
Some more perspective: there is about that same amount of hospitalizations per year (40 million). 250,000 of them end in malpractice death. You have a 250x greater chance of dying at the hands of medical mistake than a cop encounter.
Please explain to me how “luck” has anything to do with walking away from a police encounter alive.
Spare the melodramatic, vast, sweeping generalizations fed by propagandized media hysteria.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jordan Flower
Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago

There are upwards of 330 million people in the USA and thought to be at least that many guns I think. Some inner cities have been borderline militarised zones for many years now. Imagine how many thousands of daily interactions there are between police and everyone else, often at night, with cops knowing that they could be killed at any moment. It’s no surprise that so many so-called mistakes are made under such circumstances.
Now remember that each cop has a body camera and nearly everyone on the street has a camera to record each and every event and can instantly broadcast it to the world, context free. It’s a recipe for chaos.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Remind me who keeps passing new laws that create new classes of criminals. Because it’s not the police. On a typical day, the average American unwittingly commits multiple felonies. That’s the work of the elected class. When laws are passed, someone has to enforce them. Like every profession, policing has some bad actors and departments often do a poor job of dealing with those. Meanwhile, crime has skyrocketed in multiple cities. Is that the cops’ fault, too?

Rybo Adders
Rybo Adders
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agreed.

Tim Hall
Tim Hall
3 years ago

Hi All,
I was told by my friends, who lived in the US, when I visited them in 1997 from the UK that, when I was motoring around, I had better not just dive in the glove compartment to produce my licence if pulled over. The peelers are on edge all the time. It is not surprising when they have no idea who has a gun and who is just a thoughtless about spooking them by a sudden movement.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tim Hall
Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost ten minutes,” No he did not. He used a restraint technique he had been trained to used and he used it correctly as per his training. The knee is placed on the neck so pressure can be applied if needed, but the videos clearly show the knee rising and falling with Floyd’s movements which would not happen if the knee was being pressed on his neck rather than placed there as per the training.
Anyway why let that little bit of truth stand in the way. It would appear the only mistake Chauvin made was to be a policeman doing his job as he had been trained to do.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Agreed; which is why Floyd did not die of asphyxiation (absolutely no physical evidence of that) but of heart failure, most likely brought on by a combination of stress, overall terrible health, a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and a massive fentanyl overdose.
A lot of people – even the ones celebrating Chauvin’s guilty verdict – seem not to understand that even the most serious charge he faced, second degree murder, indicates UNINTENTIONAL homicide, i.e. what is known in many other jurisdictions as manslaughter: deliberately hurting someone in a way that leads to their death, without the intention of killing them.
The prosecution knew from the start that they didn’t have a hope of making an intentional murder charge stick.

Joe Lynn
Joe Lynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

No. You made that up. GF was murdered by DC, as decided by the jury. You are just yet another racist trash finding excuses for another racist trash.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Lynn

Were you erect when you wrote that, Joe? LOL

krsudworth
krsudworth
3 years ago

A good article with nuance, something that’s distinctly lacking everywhere else in order for the media and political parties to divide and rule. Makiyah Bryant, the teen who was killed last week, was being painted as another case of brutality, but I’ve seen the video and if the cop hadn’t done what he did, the girl in the pink would possibly have been the one who was dead. He had a split second to react. He’s not superman. He’s a human being just like the rest of us, and humans are massively flawed, just like every other living breathing thing.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

It is very important we do not let the USA style of policing be thought to exist here. It does not.
The Uk police are mostly unarmed. They police with public support. They are generally not racist .

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

they’re generally not racist here. If they were, non-blacks would not be 70% of the civilians killed in altercations with cops. Nor would blacks be on any police force, yet big city departments have numerous black officers and often black chiefs.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago

Oddly enough, in most cases in the US the police also have public support and are not racist. the fact that so many Brits believe otherwise tells me that the Marxist’s plans are working. Ditto for the trope that America is like the wild west with gunfire everywhere. Just not the case, except for in the neighborhoods run by the drug gangs, which is incidentally where the vast majority of shooting of all kind take place. if guns were the problem, it would be far more notable than it is given that there are at least 500,000,000 guns out in the society. The facts are that law abiding citizens do not attack people with guns and the majority of black people killed by police are violent felons.

Gerald gwarcuri
Gerald gwarcuri
3 years ago

As an American, I approached the reading of this piece with caution and the usual skepticism that attaches to anyone from one country explaining what is wrong with another country. I found this to be one of the most enlightening and honest examinations of one of our deepest problems, sympathetic to both sides, and taking neither. Thank you, Katharine. You have moved us one step closer to finding the answers, and to real and permanent reconciliation. Americans have a deep yearning to live amicably with one another. We sometimes just don’s seem to know where to start… or stop, as the case may be. Humility and seeing one another truly as children of the same God is a great place to begin again.

aaron david
aaron david
3 years ago

When I was 18, in 1989, I visited Belfast “on a jolly.” I saw riflemen at every street corner, policemen armed with Sterling submachine guns traveling in pairs at all times, Saracen and armored Land Rovers roaming up and down the streets.
I was put on lockdown, a real one, in the dorms of Queens College due to IRA bomb threats, saw the Peace Wall to keep warring factions apart, painted curbs to show who ran that part of town. All of that in a city much, much smaller than Harlem.
In 1982, while traveling to Germany as a child with my parents, I was placed in a small cubicle when getting off of the international flight. In that cubicle with me were two men, one holding a metal detector to check me for any bombs, and the other holding a Walther submachine gun directly at me. Me, an 11-year-old.
Perhaps you should look to your own country first. Or, maybe after you look at Europe.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

My view is that, rather like formely in Britain, everyone should be allowed to bear arms except the police. But one also needs a death penalty. The policy could not work nowadays in the UK.

Pierre Mauboussin
Pierre Mauboussin
3 years ago

It’s not unconscious bias: it’s experience. Black Americans are not only a little bit more violent than whites– the rate of murders committed by blacks has run anywhere from 7 to almost 10 times the rate of murders committed by whites. That’s almost an order of magnitude higher. Similarly it’s not bias that makes blacks stopped more frequently by police. It’s the fact that they far more often exhibit probable cause for a stop whether its jaywalking, being intoxicated in public, fighting in public or driving a clunker with a light out or missing registration. The only bias is procedural: police are directly or indirectly rewarded for arrests. Are they more likely to have grounds for arrest of a young black man in the city than a middle class white man? That said, it is also unquestionably true that American police are far more brutal once an arrest has been made. But in my experience as a white man who has had white friends, relatives and acquaintances arrested and beaten by the police, it’s not racially biased. Mouth off, try to flee or resist in any way and you will be beaten soundly and/or pepper sprayed in the face. Due to the pernicious doctrine of “official immunity” there are almost no repercussions for American police who misbehave.

Richard Blaine
Richard Blaine
3 years ago

Just what is it you are trying to say; what is your point?
Many words but no clear, concise theme; perhaps a bit of virtue signaling and misdirection (“And I was, of course, a woman. I wasn’t the sort they were looking for.”) as you, a) fail to specify just what a “woman” means, especially in today’s parlance and, b) what you imply by the word “sort”. Perhaps you betray your ignorance as the statistics written below in other comments clearly define precisely what “sort” exemplifies. Being a Brit or being ignorant of these facts is no excuse for whinging when you deem to write in the public space.
You may also consider placing yourself in the shoes of the urban American policeman/woman? DO you think your actual first hand experience would modify your feelings?
Last, I would offer you these additional facts as written by Heather MacDonald in The City Journal on April 20, 2021:
In 2020, the police fatally shot 18 allegedly unarmed blacks (unarmed being defined extremely loosely to include suspects grabbing an officer’s gun or fleeing in a car with a loaded pistol on the seat). That represents 0.2 percent of all blacks who died of homicide in 2020, and an infinitesimal percentage of the 40 million blacks in the U.S. If the police ended all fatal shootings tomorrow, it would have a negligible effect on the black death-by-homicide rate, which is 13 times higher than the white death-by-homicide rate for decedents between the ages of ten and 43.
The evil that men do does not live after them; it is just ignored if it is counter to the current narrative. All you are doing is pushing the product in blissful ignorance of fact and critical thought; all you present are feelings, nothing more than feelings!

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

What an idiotic article dressed up as an attempt to be “balanced”. An actual fair look at this issue would quote the work of Roland Fryer, and note that scientifically this is not a race issue. The police shoot white people too, both for logical and occasionally emotional reasons.
I’d love to see the author move to America and become a police officer, so she can show us how morally superior she is when executing arrest warrants and traffic stops in a land where guns are common. And best of luck to her!!
I still have great respect for the police, and try to look at things from their point of view, not my own high-and-mighty “obviously if I did this job it would be done perfectly” perspective.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

I was an unpaid, unprotected reserve sheriff’s deputy. I lasted two months until some typical squirrel hassled me for no reason. I decided right then and there that a) I lacked the patience, and b) Why put myself at risk anyway?

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
3 years ago

Nice to see someone thinking it through from both sides before speaking, instead of weighing in mouth first. Pity more of us don’t do that.

ricksanchez769
ricksanchez769
3 years ago

The trouble with the American police is the political woke left – full stop, no more, no less. Yes there are knuckle-heads in every organization – say at Unherd for example. However purely on the numbers or statistics or data or which ever way this author would like to measure it – any person successfully finishing their 6th form would be able to comprehend this – but then again…(here’s one for you – through 2019, across the US, 20 black deaths per month at the hands of police – no guilt or innocence presumed — over this same in time, in Chicago, 50 deaths per month of mostly black people at the hands of other black people (IOW no police) – no guilt or innocence presumed). Please do not shoot the messenger (pun intended). So to recap – the trouble with the American police is the woke political left that confabulate for the miserable and failed policies of the left which necessarily mean “look at this shiny thing – aka racism”
https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2019-crime-statistics

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
3 years ago

What a ridiculous, self-aggrandizing and uninformed article. The “trouble with American Police” is that they are required to answer emergency calls in neighborhoods teeming with violent criminals – and over 2,000 cops were injured during the “mostly peaceful “ protests following the George Floyd incident. The trouble with police is they have to answer the call even in the face of reporting like this.

Jennifer Britton
Jennifer Britton
3 years ago

Police are not hated or despised by Americans in general.

There are some places, however, where police are looked on with suspicion, anger, and even hatred. And there are places where police look on the public as threats. Those places have long histories of ill will between police and citizen. Those places are in need of two things: 1) careful selection of who gets to become a police officer, and 2) some kind of social therapy, both for police and citizens.

All professions have weeding out processes that are ongoing during professional training. But some practitioners slip through the sifting process. Hence, all professions have members who behave unprofessionally, even criminally. Professions have a duty to remove bad actors if for no other reason than to protect the reputation of the profession. But police work has its own special sifting issues: there is a long history of officer bonding, so police don’t like to tell on their fellow officers. People who feel under threat often stick together, no matter what.

Hence, officers find it difficult for to be completely objective about complaints of unprofessional conduct. Because it is hard to call foul on another officer, the profession should have a monitoring board that is made up of profession members and people with relevant knowledge from other domains: mental health, doctors, social workers, business members, pastors, etc. This board should be convened often, not just when something bad happens. It’s too late when someone has been needlessly shot or injured. The board should meet with all officers regularly.

Also, law enforcement and neighborhoods would benefit greatly from a second kind of oversight: a community oversight board that regularly convenes community meetings between the police administration, officers walking/driving a particular “beat” and citizens within that neighborhood. They would know each other. Trust would develop in both directions.

Hence, officers would be less likely to see everyone as a threat, which would very likely reduce shootings. Police need more of our support, not less. Their job is difficult and stressful. More support would make them less anxious and less quick to resort to force. The conviction of Derek Chauvin is not a time to celebrate. It is a time to recognize a gross failure on the part of society, which clearly failed to police the police, and on the part of police, who failed to police their own.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

American culture is aggressive in nature and heavily armed, but they also need to look at police training and a major question will be, why are most American police trained by the Israeli Army, whose expertise, as a military occupying force, is subjugating millions of Palestinians in the belief that they have no rights and should have no rights.
How can such a mindset ever be healthy when transferred to a police force? The Israeli Army believes the civilians they subjugate and control are an enemy and their practices of control, are extremely violent. It is difficult to understand how anyone could think that such training would improve policing in the US. Indeed, quite the opposite.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago

Anyone who has read and understood Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink or Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow knows about intuitive, biased thinking.

To this list add Jonathan Haidt “The Righteous Mind” (2012). He explains that moral/political judgments to the canon of fast-thinking (the “elephant” makes the judgment, the “rider” then confabulates a justification). Lots of commenters here illustrate huis theme.
He published the book hoping to reduce US culture wars. Clearly he failed.
Still, a great piece, thanks @Miss_Snuffy

MacFarlane O'the Sproats
MacFarlane O'the Sproats
3 years ago

“The trouble with the American police.” On finishing the article I feel none the wiser as to what ‘the trouble’ with the American police might be. Instead of going to NY with an open mind, prepared to appreciate what she might find there, Ms Birbalsingh wanted the place to yield up to her a string of eagerly anticipated movie scenarios.
By Birbalsingh’s account, one would almost think that Mr Diallo had been shot by police annoyed that a black man was driving around the Bronx in a shiny expensive sports car, and so, shock horror, Ms Birbalsingh’s company were courting the same sort of fate. But no, Mr Diallo was not in a shiny expensive sports car, but on foot outside his apartment when police arrived seeking a suspect. Diallo did not heed the police’s warnings to stop; went inside the apartment; reached, it is said, for his wallet, and was shot dead. Had Mr Diallo stopped as instructed he would not have been pursued into the building; but then, had he not filed a fraudulent asylum claim, perhaps he would not have sought to avoid the police by going into the building. Was he ‘on his way home’ after a hard day’s work? No, he was already standing outside his apartment building. Had he just finished hawking his goods on the street? If so, he worked almost to midnight, for it was close to midnight when his fatal interaction with the police took place.
Ms Barbalsingh’s movie fantasy continues when their car is pulled over. No mention of why police officers stopped the car, just Barbalsingh’s earlier assertion that it must be to do with four black people in a shiny, expensive sports car. Perhaps the driver had committed a traffic infringement; perhaps police were on the look-out for such a car; perhaps her teacher friend was not driving very competently or confidently in an unfamiliar. low-slung hire-car not of his own choosing; perhaps he did not ordinarily drive round the city but was now doing so in order that his friend could play out her movie-fantasy. Why choose a shiny, expensive red sports car to tour the Bronx anyway? Another part of Brabalsingh’s desire to go touring the Bronx while indulging a bit of a bling-thing, because that’s how cool blacks are depicted in the cinema?
Having been stopped by police, the attention-seeking Brabalsingh, ‘without thinking’ leaps out of the car, pointing her camera and asking the cops to pose for photographs. In the time-period between appreciating that the police wanted her vehicle to stop, and it actually stopping, Brabalsingh would have us believe that she had no thought-process, but nevertheless dug out her camera, readied it, and then leapt from the car asking police for photographs? It sounds more like a diversionary tactic than a supposedly ‘thoughtless’ act.
The attention-seeking Bribalsingh fails to see that her driver friend is ‘traumatised’ by the event. Does Brabasingh hope we shall assume that he is traumatised because he is the ‘wrong sort’, i.e. a black man with a Bronx accent…and therefore the right sort to be shot down by annoyed NY cops when found in an expensive sports car?,, just like Mr Dallio…except that Mr Dallio was not in a sports car, or any kind of car, and was shot down for completely different reasons. Is it fear of the cops that traumatises Brabalsingh’s friend? Or might it be the realisation that an attention-seeking stunt by his ignorant British passenger might have ended with some or all of them getting injured or killed in a cross-fire? Perhaps this is why his hands were clamped to the wheel and he did not leave the car?
So full of awareness is Brabalsingh for the welfare of her chauffeour that she then persuades this ‘terrified’ friend against his will to follow the cops across town so that Brabalsingh can indulge her whim to see ‘the best bits’ of the Bronx, and then to go for drinks with NY’s supposedly black-executing cops.
At the end of the article all we have learned is that NY police officers have a justified fear of being shot at work, and will shoot first to prevent that happening when they fear that might be the outcome. We have also learned that people who do not obey the instructions of police officers put themselves into greater trouble and potentially into greater danger.
Perhaps her friend ‘doesn’t dare get out of the car’, but knows full well that in a left-hand drive car, a driver can pick up a pistol in his right hand, turn to his left, crack the driver’s door open, and shoot a policemen approaching up the near-side of his vehicle whilst still substantially hidden within the car and while the officer is still uncertain as to whether or not the driver is indeed armed and dangerous. Perhaps her friend is not terrified, but simply possessed of good sense…a commodity somewhat lacking in Ms Birbalsingh.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago

That was a truly outstanding comment. Thank you for saying what needed to be said — one of the very highest compliments I know of. The author of the article is a tendentious, virtue-signaling moron who understands nothing, and doesn’t want to. She endangered lives that night, and not just hers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake Jackson
Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
3 years ago

That was truly excellent writing… A thoughful and honest depiction. We need more of both…

Simon Giora
Simon Giora
3 years ago

..

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Giora
Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago

This might help people understand. For starters, the two most dangerous kinds of routine encounters for police are domestic violence calls and traffic stops. Don’t believe me; look it up. Police here are told to never stand in front of the door of a dwelling when responding to a domestic violence call, because the perpetrator might shoot through the door.

Hopping out of that car in the Bronx was (pardon the pun, this being a Brit publication) royally stupid. When stopped by the police in a car, you stay in your seat, and put your hands on the wheel, and wait for the cop to ask questions and/or give directions. It’s FAR safer all the way around.

I say the foregoing as someone who has driven >450,000 road trip miles (exclusive of daily errands or commutes) in all 50 states and a dozen or so European countries, and who has the speeding tickets to show for it. But guess what? A cop can write a citation, or a cop can write a warning, and usually (not always) the difference will boil down to how the driver acts, presuming that it’s not an outrageous situation.

I will give two examples. 11 years ago, I was clocked at 97 mph in a 70 mph zone in Nevada. He got me as I was slowing down from 120 mph. The second I saw his lights in the rear-view mirror, I pulled over. Now, in these situations, the cop’s first question is ALWAYS (or has been for me, and I have experience) “Do you know why I stopped you?”

Look on the internet, and you’ll see lots of advice to say nothing. Ignore that! If you were speeding (and face it, you were speeding), just say so. That’s what I did: “I was going like a bat out of hell, and you got me fair and square.” He wrote the ticket for 90 mph, which saved me several hundred dollars on the fine, and made me eligible for an “online traffic school” that kept the ticket from the official records, and therefore from my insurance company.

The guy who stopped me was only doing his job, and I told him so. “Just as well that it happened now, because it’ll keep me from the craps tables when I get to Vegas.” He told me that he’d given me the break because a) I pulled over right away, b) I didn’t try to outrun him, and c) I didn’t lie to him. Folks, cops HATE being lied to, and they don’t much like being treated like dirt either.

Fast forward to last week. I was driving through the same county in Nevada. Interstate 80 has speed limits of 75 or 80 depending on exactly where you are, but there are several construction zones where it goes down to one lane and 55 mph. It was frustrating, and when I hit the fourth zone in about an hour and a half, I waited too long to slow down, and the cop clocked me at 71 as I was slowing down.

Pulled over right away. Grabbed my wallet out of my back pocket before he got to the car and fished out my driver’s license and concealed carry permit. When he got to the window, I handed them to him and then put my hands on the wheel where he could see them. “Do you know why I stopped you?” he asked. “I’m sure it was speeding. This is the fourth zone in a row, and I hit the brakes too late.”

“Are you carrying a gun?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered, and gestured toward the holster on my belt. “Just keep your hand away from it, and we’ll both be happy,” he said. “Absolutely,” I answered. “I am all about safety.”

I rolled away with a warning. This could have been a VERY expensive mistake. Not only would my insurance rates have risen, but fines are doubled in construction zones. But I was civilized, and got a warning. This doesn’t always work, but it usually does.

We had a friendly conversation. Turned out he had previously worked as a prison guard. “Must be rough,” I said. Oh yeah, he replied. He prefers traffic duty, because most of the people he stops are reasonable and many are friendly. “When I was hired, my sheriff told me that he doesn’t care whether I write one ticket a month or a hundred. I don’t have a quota.”

Ticket quotas are an issue, and unfortunately a fact in some places. There is a lot of suspicion, and it’s not necessarily unfounded. If you’re going to speed, don’t do it near the end of the month. In any case, the author is fortunate that she drove away unscathed. Jumping out of that car, camera or not, was a truly stupid move.

Separately: If you meet a cop, don’t hold out your hand to shake hands. The cop will decline, and not because they are jerks. They are trained not to shake hands while on duty, because it can make it possible for a criminal to get hold of a sidearm.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake Jackson
Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
3 years ago

I have much sympathy with police in the US. With the easy availability of guns they have to assume the worst case scenario. Any movement by the suspect could result in loss of the policeman’s own life. If the suspect does not comply with instructions tension increase and there is a high risk of escalation.
I would have thought the best action would be to make weapons illegal and, surely, the Democrats are the party best placed to do that.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jeff Carr
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

I would have thought the best action would be to make weapons illegal and, surely, the Democrats are the party best placed to do that.
Like making drugs illegal meant no one used them anymore? Guns already are restricted in Dem-run cities. How’s that working out? Maybe it’s not the guns, it’s the people willing to use guns on others. But that means talking about culture and no one wants to do that.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Well said. Let me add that doing a poor job of enforcing the gun laws we do have while advocating for more laws is no formula for success. Couple that with the demise of aggressive , broken-windows style policing and stop and frisk and you have a climate where your typical street thug is more worried about protecting himself from others than running afoul of the police.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

Then every criminal would still own a gun and every law abiding household would be defenceless.

Jake Jackson
Jake Jackson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

Good luck getting mine, Jeffy. LOL

Anne-Marie Mazur
Anne-Marie Mazur
3 years ago

Maybe the author should have spent more time in the US to see how police treat women of all races. For that matter, to see how they treat anyone of any race, since policing is by and for ruling CLASS control and race has little to do with any of it. Plenty of men and WOMEN are killed by police, and the largest factors are mental illness and CLASS, not race. What unmitigated BS this article is.

Last edited 3 years ago by Anne-Marie Mazur
Jennifer Britton
Jennifer Britton
3 years ago

Yes. It is well known that significant proportions of those in prison have serious mental illness. Police are trained to enforce the law not deal with the mentally ill.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

Most mentally ill people are not violent. They are of no concern to the police.
A person with “mental health issues” waving a gun or butcher knife around or trying to push people onto subway tracks is just as dangerous as a person who is just a bad person. Are you implying that police should be able to distinguish one from the other, and be kinder and gentler with the crazy ones?
I don’t know why it comes as a surprise to anyone that a large percentage of people shot by the police have some kind of mental illness. Mentally healthy people generally don’t try to kill others, especially not armed cops.
The distinction between crazy and not is for the courts of law and their psychiatrists to decide, not police officers who are trying to protect the public.