Imagine what it’s like to grow up in a neighborhood where the police look at you, from a young age, as a target or potential enemy. Imagine what that does to your mind, to your conception of yourself. The conservative response to this kind of heavy-handedness is easy to anticipate, “shouldn’t the people in these communities be grateful the police are working so hard?” In fact, this approach to policing urban communities makes it harder for the police to solve crimes.
Much attention has been paid to the “Stop-Snitching Movement” because the t-shirt works as a convenient entry point for discussions black culture as pathological. But the reality is that people don’t talk to the police for two reasons: the criminals live in the neighborhood, the cops don’t–meaning that those who open up have to live every day with the consequences of reprisal. Treating people as though they’re default criminals is the second reason–why speak to the police if they simply assume you’re an enemy on sight? A good rapport between the police in the community–especially younger folks in the community–is essential to solving crimes, which is why this administration is spending so much money on it.