By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 15, 2014
It was one of those riveting moments when a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Here they were, four young black boys, sitting forlorn, with their luggage around them looking as if their lives had come to an end. All their yearnings seemed to have been dashed, caught up as they were, in an unutterable moment of disappointment: their being unable to compete in a football tournament in Barbados.
The caption under their photograph read: “Members of the Laventille United Football team wait outside the Ministry of Sport yesterday after they were given less funding than promised to attend a football tournament in Barbados this weekend….The team will still get to go to the tournament after construction firm Kalico last evening funded the remainder” (Trinidad Guardian, December 13, 2014).
Ironically enough on that same page a story informed us that Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and William Bratton, police commissioner of New York City will be returning to Trinidad and Tobago “to help improve the dismal detection rate of the police service.”
I do not know how much these crime fighters would be paid for their services. However, when the Guardian asked how their services would differ from those provided by the Scotland Yard agents who were in Trinidad earlier, Gary Griffith, National Security Minister, assured his fellow citizens: “We had a lot of foreign-used tired men who were basically raping the treasury from $150,000 a month with little training. You can’t compare the Scotland Yard with Mayor Guiliani and commissioner Bill Bratton who have become the most successful persons in the world.”
Griffith may have been correct. It is certainly true that Giuliani and Bratton have become famous but not only for the reasons Griffith cited. Giuliani is an implacable foe of black and brown people. On November 23, 2014, speaking on NBC “Meet the Press,” Giuliani called the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri “an exception” although over 400 black young men were killed over the past year by white police officers.
He said to Michael Dyson, a Georgetown professor: “The white police officers won’t be there if you weren’t killing each other…Why don’t you cut down your crime so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas.” In Ferguson, 67.4 per cent of the 21,000 residents are black; 29 per cent are white. The Police Department has 53 officers of which 4 are black. In 2013, the attorney general office of Missouri reported that black drivers in Ferguson were about twice as likely to be arrested after police stops than whites. Blacks made up 93 per cent of the arrests after stops. As far as Guiliani sees it the problem that faces black America is black on black crime.
Bratton was New York City’s police commissioner when Giuliani was the mayor. Now, he is back as the police commissioner under Bill de Blasio. It is under Bratton’s watch that Errol Garner was killed by a white police officer in Staten Island, New York.
As police commissioner from 1994 to 1996, Bratton embraced the “broken windows” theory of policing that aimed at attacking minor offences before they became big ones. When he was the commissioner arrest rate soared while serious crimes diminished. During his first year as commissioner the police shot and killed 31 civilians (up from 23 the previous year) and 23 civilians died in police custody; an increase from 15 persons the previous year.
Bratton was also the innovator of the “stop and frisk” policy in which 694,000 innocent black and Latino youths were stopped and frisked in 2011 whereas 400,000 black and Latino youths were stopped and frisked in 2012. In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the use of stop and frisk was unconstitutional and appointed a federal monitor to oversee the NYPD.
Bratton served as the head of the Los Angeles Police Department from 2002-09 using a similar “broken windows” philosophy. In LA there was an escalation of the stop and frisk policy of both pedestrians and motorists-from 587,200 in 2002 to 875,204 in 2008. A Harvard University study commissioned by Bratton found that between 2006-08 that “African Americans, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, were subjects of the use of force out of proportion to their share of involuntary contacts with the LAPD” (The Nation, December 6, 2013)
These are the men who Griffith swears will solve our crime problem. However, their disdain for black lives is notorious. They really believe that black lives are worth less than white lives. One does not quite know what advice these men can give to a black government that seems intent on criminalizing black men and whose policies have led to more crimes in black areas.
One would have thought our government would have encouraged these young boys from Laventille to continue their involvement in sporting and other activities so as to keep them away from a life of crime. Under Guiliani and Bratton’s tutelage one can only expect the further alienation of black men in our society.
God alone knows how much money our Government would spend on Giuliani and Bratton whose antipathy towards non-whites is extreme and well known. They have nothing to offer us. They will only take our money and run. Their racism ought not to be funded by the citizens of our society.