In the first and second parts of my analysis on the “#Black Lives Matter” movement, I focused on their calls to action and tried to understand their goals. We have already determined that their goals remain unclear, yet they call for black nationalism, civil rights and affirmative action policies. In the third part of this series I discussed how this lack of organization has led to the brutality of #BlackLivesMatter.
As I have said many times, without knowing the goals of an organization, we cannot understand whether or not they have met these goals to determine their effectiveness. Nevertheless, the actions we have previously described have had many widespread effects, which all have their own after-effects.
Since the movement has started, videos and images of police brutality have spread across social media virally. While there have always been people who are not fond of police, the number of those disenchanted has certainly risen. One Gallup poll has found that the nation’s confidence in police is currently the lowest in the last 22 years. Democrats overall had declined 11 points in their trust, while specifically non-white Democrats decreased 14 points.
While there is undeniable evidence of some police officers exercising excessive force and brutality, their recent negative portrayal in the media has certainly influenced public opinion. By isolating such incidents and broadcasting them nationally, these prejudiced officers seem to encompass the entire institution. As a result, protestors have been taking action against police in their entirety.
While the first result has been retaliation against the police, the officers themselves have also been deeply affected. Many of them have anonymously confessed that they are now afraid to carry out their duties, because the extreme media scrutiny may try to make them the next Officer Wilson. One such report came from an officer that said:
“Today I was involved in a very dangerous pursuit. Suspect tried to run me over. My body camera was inoperable. I hesitated to shoot because I am a white officer and the suspect was black. I never imagined I would hesitate. It almost cost me my life, and afterward I had to be transported to the hospital due to heat exhaustion. Thanks to the press vilifying us, I was afraid to defend my life and almost didn’t live to regret it. This needs to be made public in the LE circle. I don’t want to see it happen to someone else.”
San Francisco homicides increased 71 percent over 2014. In Chicago, police investigative stops are down 90 percent while homicides for 2016 are 52 percent higher than the previous year. In Baltimore… arrests in 2015 were down 57 percent from 2014, while May 2015 brought 43 homicides – the most deaths in a single month in Baltimore since 1971. Washington D.C. crime increased 48 percent, and New York City had a 9.6 percent increase in homicides over 2014.
When the entire country seems to be against the police, another grass-roots movement has appeared to defend them. #BlueLivesMatter, 6 Minutes and other pro-police messages, have begun trying to remind us of why police wear the badge in the first place. While #blacklivesmatter have certainly amplified anti-police sentiments to insane proportions, they were always in existence. I cannot remember a time when I rode in a car with another person who was not afraid of being pulled over by the police. The police are on the rode to ensure safe transportation, yet we have let our reckless tendencies misconstrue our image of them in our minds. When you see a police officer, you should feel safe, not scared.
Unfortunately, because of anti-police culture in social media, music, and journalism, many of us no longer trust the police. Of course these feelings are not without warrant—anyone who would claim there has never been an instance of police corruption or brutality is wrong and a fool. Extremes on both sides are wrong. To what extent then, should we embrace or fear the police?