MEDIA

New York Times Editorial: Politicians Stymie Progress On Police Brutality

Some politicians "want to soft-pedal or even ignore police misconduct."

The ability to capture police brutality on video is helping to change the paradigm of police behavior in America, but some politicians continue to poison the conversation surrounding brutality, the New York Times' editorial board wrote Tuesday.

In a piece titled "Political Lies About Police Brutality," the Times argues that police officers are more inclined to abide by the law because they are aware that their actions could be filmed. 

"Police officers who might once have felt free to arrest or assault black citizens for no cause and explain it away later have been put on notice that the truth could be revealed by a cellphone video posted on the Internet," the editorial board wrote.

In recent months, cell phone videos and dashcam footage showing police pulling over black drivers or using force against them have surfaced, bolstering claims that police unfairly discriminate against African-Americans.

But it's more complicated than that, the article continued. Because police brutality can no longer be kept a secret if captured on camera, some politicians "want to soft-pedal or even ignore police misconduct" and choose instead to attack "the people who expose it or raise their voices in protest against it."

The piece highlights comments made by New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, who claimed that the Black Lives Matter movement actually encourages the killing of law enforcement officials. 

"The problem is this, there's lawlessness in this country," Christie said on CBS' "Face the Nation" last week. "The president encourages this lawlessness."

FBI Director James Comey came under fire last week for connecting the viral video trend to an uptick in crime during a speech. The Times' editorial board said this "implies that for the police to do their jobs, they need to have free rein to be abusive."

The facts, the article argues, continue to speak for themselves. A Times investigation concluded that police search black drivers or their cars twice as often as white drivers in Greensboro, North Carolina, and were also more inclined to use force against black drivers. Black Americans who are killed by police were found to be twice as likely to be unarmed as white people, according to The Guardian.

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