Friday, June 05, 2020
TKC MUST READ!!! DR. ERNEST EVANS IN DEFENSE OF KCPD CHIEF SMITH!!!
Dr. Ernest Evans is a local professor and a crime expert who shares this insight into a crisis confronting Kansas City and provides important info and insight along with his argument . . .
Dr. Ernest Evans: Removing Chief Richard Smith Would Be a Major Mistake
In the past ten days there have been a large surge in the number of black homicides in most of the cities of America. To take the most terrible case first: In Chicago in the past four days there have been 28 homicides--to put these statistics in perspective, in all of May 2019 there were 48 homicides in Chicago. Most of these 29 homicides were black men, women and children: So far in 2020 in Chicago, there have been 179 black homicides, 44 Hispanic homicides, 12 white/other homicides, and 14 unknown.
Chicago is the worst case, but it is not alone. In Philadelphia there was an average of one homicide a day in calendar year 2019--in the past three days there have been 15 homicides--almost all of them black victims. In Baltimore, so far in 2020 there have been 134 homicides; at this point in 2019 there had been 128 homicides--and 2019 was the second bloodiest year in the history of Baltimore. In Washington/DC there have been 68 homicides in 2020--compared to 61 at this point in 2019. Again, in both Baltimore and Washington/DC a massively disproportionate number of the increase in homicide totals is due to black victims.
That violence is exploding in the black neighborhoods of America right now should surprise no one. A just released study by two distinguished Harvard professors has studied several cities where there were highly-publicized cases of police-black community conflict. This study concluded that just in this small number of cities the controversies had led to more than a thousand additional homicides, most of them black men, women and children.
Kansas City, Missouri is in the midst of a major surge of violence, a surge of violence that has fallen massively disproportionately on the city's black residents. The all time record for homicides in KCMO was in 1993 when there were 153 homicides. Right now, the city stands at 73 homicides as of June 4, 2020--compared to 54 at this point in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Of the 73 homicides so far in 2020, 54 are black people. In the heavily black East Patrol District of the KCPD there have been 30 homicides in 2020--compared to 20 in 2019 and 19 in 2018.
There are calls among people in KCMO for the resignation of the city's police chief, Richard Smith. I think that it would be a major mistake to remove Chief Smith right now. As I see his actions with respect to officers charged with racist misconduct, he is not saying that there is nothing wrong with what the officers did, he is simply saying that they deserve Due Process.
To get back to the Harvard study: What that study found is that when police officers accused of racist misconduct are denied even a pretense of Due Process, out of sheer self-survival they stop doing their jobs in black neighborhoods. Nature abhors a vacuum, so the gangs, criminal elements and drug dealers take over those neighborhoods and unleash a reign of terror on the resident.
So, everyone in KCMO, regardless of race, has a stake in the local police officers getting Due Process when accused of racist misconduct. To remove Chief Smith because he is insisting that his officers get Due Process would be a tragic mistake for our city.
In conclusion, last week my article for the Times was on the George Floyd tragedy. That video was terrible to watch--personally, I watched it once to know what had happened but have refused to watch it again. I cried when I saw Mr. Floyd call out for his Mother as he was dying; my older brother, a combat veteran of Vietnam, told me that in watching the video he was reminded of young Marines dying in his arms in Vietnam while calling for their Mothers. So, I fully understand how angry and upset people are right now. But, basing public policy on emotion has been shown, historically, to be a disastrous idea, and so we cannot allow our emotions to rule us right now.