Seattle, Washington - U.S. District Judge James Robart on Monday expressed a strong anti-police bias when dealing with a case involving Seattle police union's contract negotiations. Judge Robart went on a rant about deadly force statistics against black people and proclaimed, "Black Lives Matter."
Judge Robart is presiding over a 2012 consent decree requiring the city to adopt reforms to address Department of Justice allegations of biased policing and excessive force. The proposed changes will have a major effect on all union members, including discipline being investigated and determined by non-law enforcement investigators. The changes make it faster and easier to discipline an officer if the public believes that the officer was wrong, whether or not that was actually the case.
Despite some of the proposed reforms seeming outlandish, the Seattle Police Officer's Guild has been mostly going along with the process without much pushback. However, the guild recently voted to reject the most recent proposed contract after they were upset that the negotiation deals were leaked to the media and Black Lives Matter groups.
The vote resulted in Judge Robart threatening to intervene if he determined that the guild was interfering with any proposed process that was under the blanket of "police reform." Which basically gives the city a go-ahead to implement any changes they want to the disciplinary process, with the union having no say.
During Judge Robart's self-righteous rant, he stated, “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.”
Continuing to build an image in his mind of being some sort of folk-hero, Judge Robart went on to say that 41 percent of the shootings by police were of blacks, when they represented 20 percent of the population. Judge Robart then declared that "Black Lives Matter."
Judge Robart's rant is actually a perfect example of why law enforcement officers cannot be excluded from the process of disciplining other officers. The statistics on police shootings that Judge Robart cited were completely out of context, and ignore the reasons that shooting occur.
The statistics Judge Robart cited are meant for people to infer that the rate in which black people are shot by police is actually affected by the suspect's skin color. However, police officers understand that officer-involved shootings happen when violent suspects are threatening people's lives.
Black people are being shot at disproportionate numbers compared to the rest of the population because they are disproportionately trying to kill cops. A recent Harvard study actually determined that police officers are less likely to shoot a black suspect than a white suspect, when you take into account the context of the shooting.
These changes are likely to discourage officers from proactive policing. Officers will want to limit their contacts, which reduces the chances that they will need to use force. Limiting enforcement is exactly one of the goals that Black Lives Matter is pushing for.
The drop in policing may initially appear to show as an initial drop in crime, as more crimes go undetected due to lack of enforcement. However, the crime numbers will later begin to rise as the unenforced crime begins to spread and results in additional property crime and violent offenses.