The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Ferguson Report Is a Farce . . .

. . . wrapped in a fraud, inside a sham.

On the heels of the issuance of the Department of Justice’s Ferguson Report — one of the more frivolous and sophomoric “reports” ever produced by the federal government — President Obama asserts that the pervasive racial discrimination found in the Ferguson Police Department occurs in departments across the country.

Now, maybe the Ferguson PD engages in systematic racial discrimination. Perhaps other departments also do. But nothing in this travesty of a report proves that, and the fact that the Department of Justice produced a report so buffoonish, so replete with conclusions unsupported by facts, so lacking in basic methodological rigor, is an embarrassment.

The purported evidentiary capstone to the report’s conclusion that the Ferguson PD engages in a pattern of racial discrimination is an almost juvenile reliance on disparate impact. The DOJ asserts that even though blacks comprise only 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, they represent 85 percent of all vehicle stops. From this, the mathematically and logically-challenged DOJ concludes “These disparities are unexplainable on grounds other than race and evidence that racial bias has shaped law enforcement conduct.”

Unexplainable? Only to someone who hasn’t completed third-grade arithmetic. 

As Heather Mac Donald, Hans Bader, and others have noted, several studies over the last 20 years (including data adduced before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) show that black drivers commit various types of traffic offenses — including speeding, driving under suspension, DUI, and running red lights and stop signs – more often than drivers of other races. Could it be possible these phenomena contribute to the “unexplainable” disparities?

It’s clear that the report is designed to give cover to the president and attorney general, whose statements at the outset of the Michael Brown incident got ahead of the evidence. Its purpose is to perpetuate a politically useful narrative unsupported by facts. That, and to further the administration’s social-engineering goals. Consider: To forestall future Michael Brown–type incidents, the report suggests that “increasing gender and sexual orientation diversity in policing in particular may be critical in re-making internal police culture and creating new assumptions in what makes policing effective.” How this relates to purported racial discrimination in policing is anyone’s guess. Next up: “Using carbon- neutral police cars reduces racially discriminatory traffic stops.”

But, the report has accomplished its objective. It’s smeared police officers across the country, thereby giving the administration an excuse to exert greater control over local police departments. And it gives credence to the toxic storyline that the country as a whole remains nearly indistinguishable from 1960s Selma.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Most Popular

Elections

On Kamala Harris

Joe Biden has named his 2020 running mate: authoritarianism. American prosecutors wield awesome and terrible powers that lend themselves easily to abuse, and Senator Kamala Harris, formerly the attorney general of California, is an enthusiastic abuser of them. Harris was a leader in the junta of Democratic ... Read More
Elections

On Kamala Harris

Joe Biden has named his 2020 running mate: authoritarianism. American prosecutors wield awesome and terrible powers that lend themselves easily to abuse, and Senator Kamala Harris, formerly the attorney general of California, is an enthusiastic abuser of them. Harris was a leader in the junta of Democratic ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Someone might want to remind Joe Biden, who’s just picked progressive California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, that his vice-president-to-be believes Catholics are unfit to serve in our nation’s courts. (Biden, of course, as I considered at length on the homepage today, has spent his entire ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Someone might want to remind Joe Biden, who’s just picked progressive California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, that his vice-president-to-be believes Catholics are unfit to serve in our nation’s courts. (Biden, of course, as I considered at length on the homepage today, has spent his entire ... Read More

The Anarchist Storm over Portland

Stephen Peifer, a retired assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Ore., sat down with National Review’s Luther Abel to discuss the state’s long and infamous struggle with left-wing extremist groups, why federal officers were deployed to Portland, and what makes the current situation in the city uniquely ... Read More

The Anarchist Storm over Portland

Stephen Peifer, a retired assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Ore., sat down with National Review’s Luther Abel to discuss the state’s long and infamous struggle with left-wing extremist groups, why federal officers were deployed to Portland, and what makes the current situation in the city uniquely ... Read More
U.S.

New York City’s Downward Spiral

New York City must be one of the few places on earth where chaos nostalgia is widespread. Many were the laments, in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, that the city was “too sanitized,” “too gentrified,” “too boring,” “anodyne,” “suburban.” Often you’d hear people saying, or declaiming, that their ... Read More
U.S.

New York City’s Downward Spiral

New York City must be one of the few places on earth where chaos nostalgia is widespread. Many were the laments, in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, that the city was “too sanitized,” “too gentrified,” “too boring,” “anodyne,” “suburban.” Often you’d hear people saying, or declaiming, that their ... Read More