DEA Boss Joins FBI In Declaring 'Ferguson Effect' To Be A Real Thing; Offers Up 'Stuff I Heard' As Evidence
from the Exhibit-A:-Hearsay,-Conjecture,-Guys-At-The-Coffee-Shop dept
Late last month, FBI head James Comey contributed to the “Ferguson Effect” mythmaking, blaming unexplained spikes in violent crime on… citizens filming police officers. His argument? Officers fear for their power and no longer feel like exiting their vehicles to do their job.
A rebuttal from Comey’s former boss, Eric Holder, arrived shortly thereafter.
“I don’t agree with the comments that he’s made about, or the connection he’s drawn, between the so-called ‘Ferguson effect’ and this rise in crime,” Holder said, adding that Comey seemed to be relying on anecdotes rather than data.
“You can’t base policy on anecdotal evidence,” Holder said. “It’s hard for us to understand why crime dropped to historic lows over the last 40 years. I think it’s probably equally difficult — or even more difficult — to explain why crime has gone up in some places, violent crime has gone up in some places, over the past 12 months. But I don’t think it’s connected to the so-called Ferguson effect.”
But anecdotal evidence works best when actual evidence is lacking. The same can be said for the “War on Cops,” which has been cobbled together using a regression to the mean following a historic low (2014) and a random smattering of social media posts about “putting wings on pigs,” etc.
James Comey remains resolute that this “effect” is leading to spikes in crime (themselves possibly a regression to the mean after years of historic lows). Now he has another federal ally in the “War on Logic.”
Chuck Rosenberg, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said Wednesday that he agrees with FBI Director James Comey that police officers are reluctant to aggressively enforce laws in the post-Ferguson era of capturing police activity on smartphones and YouTube.
“I think there’s something to it,” Rosenberg said during a press briefing on drug statistics at DEA headquarters in Arlington. “I think he’s spot on. I’ve heard the same thing.”
Rosenberg doesn’t offer any evidence to back up his belief. Neither does Washington Post writer Todd C. Frankel, who inexplicably follows Rosenberg’s baseless assertion with one of his own.
The comments offer more support for the theory that, faced with increased scrutiny, the nation’s police officers are pulling back.
No, they don’t. Evidence that isn’t strictly anecdotal or suffering from correlation/causation issues would “offer more support” for the “Ferguson Effect” theory. Another law enforcement official saying he’s heard some stuff does not offer any additional support for this law enforcement theory.
In fact, Rosenberg spends more time hedging his assertion than defending it.
Rosenberg allowed that while he’s “not entirely sure what’s going on” with the sporadic increases in crime seen in some places, he believes “we should talk about it.”
If Rosenberg and Comey want to “talk about it,” they have to stop excluding the general public from the discussion. They need to stop publicly pushing narratives backed by nothing more than the vague unhappiness of law enforcement agencies that are no longer viewed as faultless pillars of their respective communities.
And as long as these two are “talking” about it, they might want to check in with the rest of the government. The recently-departed DOJ head said the “Ferguson Effect” is bogus. So did the White House.
“Mr. Rosenberg is the second administration official to make that kind of claim without any evidence,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
“The fact is, the evidence does not support the claim that somehow our law enforcement officers all across the country are shirking their duties and failing to fulfill their responsibility to serve and protect the communities to which they are assigned.”
What should be an insult to cops everywhere is instead being used by law enforcement agencies as a FUD delivery vehicle. The nation is already suffering from a rift between its citizens and its law enforcers. Comey and Rosenberg are making the situation worse by driving a wedge between their agencies and the White House. The instinctual move to blame any increase on crime on a loss of faith in law enforcement feeds into the Us vs. Them mindset that created the problem in the first place.