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Updated:
Posted in: Civil Rights

After police shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the Hillary Clinton campaign had this to say:

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Not to be outdone, the Trump campaign responded with characteristic candor:

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This is apparently a bipartisan sentiment.  The Sanders campaign, which has not suspended operations, was equally forthright:

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On the other hand, the major players in criminal justice reform were more nuanced.  Here is the statement by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a leader in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative that has assumed such a prominent place in state-level reforms:

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Pew’s partner in JRI is the Council on State Governments, which had this important observation:

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CSG has a special project devoted to criminal justice reform, the goal of which is to develop “collaborative approaches to public safety,” including reforms to law enforcement.  Here is the statement CSG posted on its “Justice Center” site:

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As many have observed, conservatives have warmly embraced criminal justice reform.  After the shootings, RightOnCrime made this important intervention:

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One of the many exciting developments in criminal justice reform has been the emergence of new funding streams.  The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, for instance, has developed a “criminal justice initiative,” the aim of which is “to reduce crime, increase public safety, and ensure the criminal justice system operates as fairly and cost-effectively as possible.”  It has a particular interest in “the front end of the criminal justice system.”  Here is the Arnold Foundation’s statement in response to the shootings:

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An unquestioned leader in criminal justice research and policy is the VERA Institute of Justice.  Here is what they had to say:

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I have often decried the determination of the criminal justice reform movement to focus on corrections and reentry and ignore policing.  So far as I can tell, the only reform of the police function that seems likely to gain nationwide acceptance is the use of body cameras, perhaps of the sort worn by the officers who shot Alton Sterling.   Apart from a smattering of scholars and progressive police leaders, there is almost no call to end order maintenance policing across the country.  In this regard, it is worth recalling that Philando Castile was stopped for a broken taillight.  Nor is there a meaningful demand that police implement enforcement strategies that concentrate narrowly on the tiny number of people and places responsible for the vast majority of the crime.

When leaders are silent, people will take to the streets.  Tragically, shamefully, some will be armed, and the violence will continue.

  • Brandie Cone

    This is not a terribly helpful post with all of the “This Space Intentionally Left Blank” placeholders.

    • Jonno Wade

      I think that was the point he was trying to make…..

  • Kelly M. Haggar

    Except that Castile was stopped because he resembled an armed robbery suspect in a “BOLO” (be on the lookout) alert. In store camera image in the BOLO.

  • J.E. Tarrant

    Wow. I guess there silent on the completely justified shootings the way you’re silent on the five police officers that were murdered by a black lives matter operative. Or the way you’re silent on the fact that more police are murdered by black people than black people are shot by police. Or the fact that more white people are murdered by black people than black people murdered by white people. Or the fact that black people, when not murdering white people, police officers or Asians, seem to be primarily occupied with murdering each other. I do love the completely nonsensical suggestion that police stop focusing attention on the neighborhoods that are responsible for the overwhelming majority of violent crime in this country and focus their attention on…I don’t know what, perhaps people who don’t return their Redbox movies on time. Only a white leftist coffee shop revolutionary who has always had the benefit of old money and the safety and security that comes at the great cost of the men and women of law enforcement could come up with such abhorrent and insane commentary.