The Ferguson Effect


Today I read a story from my friends at where the NYPD Commissioner backed up what FBI director James Comey said last week with regards to the Ferguson Effect. I’ve included links to both articles if you need to catch up.


FBI Director James Comey listens during a news conference announcing a deal between the U.S. government and French bank BNP Paribas at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The U.S. government and French bank BNP Paribas have agreed to a settlement over alleged sanctions violations that would require the bank to plead guilty, pay almost $9 billion in penalties and face other sanctions. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

What’s sad is that the President seems to be blind to it, in fact I am guessing quite a few lawmakers are choosing not to see it. The Ferguson Effect is actually quite real in a lot of places but not in every state just yet.

The problem that I have with this is that it is truly one sided. I get that Black lives matter, I also get that ALL lives really do matter at the end of the day.

The media has carefully chosen to over-sensationalize certain police involved shootings and every damn time I see it in the news they stress and I mean stress, “White Police Officer/Black Suspect.”

Well, I am a Denver native, through and through a real life Colorado Native. In Denver we never heard about White officer on Black Citizen like you see on the news when something goes down like it did in Ferguson. Here’s why, in Denver the police force is mixed of all races and so is the population in Denver. Why is that I wonder? Well, it’s one of the most hopping cities to live in and they attract individuals from all over to live in and work in the state of Colorado. They have upper class parts of Denver, so called Middle Class, the Lower Class, the Homeless, the Druggies and Dealers, the Prostitutes and Pimps, thieves, burglars, rapists, runaways and killers.


Still you don’t see stories like Ferguson come out of Denver.

Even the surrounding towns and cities in Denver never have these issues and again it’s a huge mix of different races and nationalities, yet they never seem to have these types of issues.

I mean look at the video below, I found this while researching the Bennett case when I was looking for old news stories. This guy is going out of his way to annoy police or make it seem as if he is up to something when in reality he is not. The Arvada, Colorado police handled this with more professionalism than I would have given this guy.

Here’s why I have an issue with this so-called Ferguson Effect. It’s misrepresented and completely blown in one direction instead of where it should be.

I am a Denver Native, but have lived in NY, NE, FL and OR and in the deep south. Policing is different in each area. In the southern states you see more of the gritty type of cop and you see racism through the ranks in the south but it’s not every single cop. In the South you can go to a Flea Market and buy a gun from a licensed dealer without having a background check run, in many other states you cannot do that. True story, you can actually do it and women are very encouraged to buy a gun at said flea markets. You also see racism in the South from Black towards Whites, specifically towards police officers who are white. Laws are enforced differently depending on where you are and policing is way different depending on which state you are in.

Let me start with Ferguson. I wasn’t around during the shooting, wasn’t present and I would suspect almost every single one of you weren’t either. We didn’t witness it, didn’t see everything that happened and opinions are a lot like ass holes, everyone has one and they all stink.

Many people jumped on one side of the fence or the other, it was always either a white or black side which I am perplexed by. Almost every individual I spoke to during that time and since has based what they said to me off of his or her own personal belief rather than the facts that were presented to Law Enforcement. In fact, even the media made it a white or black thing.

The reason most of us aren’t cops is because we have a big problem distinguishing right and wrong from our own personal belief system. While I personally believe racism is very prevalent in today’s world, I don’t believe for one second that race had a damn thing to do with what happened in Ferguson. I believe because it’s my personal belief system, as my dad taught me, when a cop tells you to do something, you do it. If you don’t and you get your ass kicked, shot or thrown in jail that’s your own fault. Period end of story.

Ferguson is interesting in that the general population is predominantly black and it’s police force is predominantly white. So what does that say? Do you think that if the officer who confronted Michael Brown would have been black that it would have ended any differently? Not really. The only thing that would have been different is that it never would have made it’s way to the Ferguson Effect.

All that says to me is that if they want a police force that attracts more ethnicity they should figure out how to attract that. What the media and general public did with Ferguson is make it a white on black thing because of the fact that the community is predominantly black and the police force is predominately white. So everyone in turn assumed it’s a racist police force. What you don’t see or hear about is that many of the officers applying for the jobs in Ferguson are white. Not black, not Asian or Hispanic but White! It’s not racism if no other ethnicity is applying for the jobs.

I know some of you are going to get pretty pissed at me for saying this but I don’t care, I call it how I see it. We, the general public, mass population, as well as the media are excusing bad behavior by blaming the innocent and allowing criminals to be absolved of criminal behavior because they were killed during the commission of committing a crime by a white police officer, and calling it racism, when no black police officer was around or could have handled the incident instead. We are making shit up that isn’t real plain and simple.

Michael Brown was breaking the law and while I feel terrible for his family, the fact is unchanged however that he was committing a crime and subsequently got shot because HE did not comply with the request of a police officer. It simply did not matter in the eyes of that police officer during the event what COLOR or RACE Michael was. Quite frankly it wouldn’t have made a difference in my mind either. IT’s because most of us look out into the world with a guilty conscience because of our own feelings, personal views based off of past indiscretions we either committed or that were committed against us and we judge the motives of others based off of all of that. We choose to see things with a clouded view rather than the crystal clear vision of reality. We tend to see things how we want to see them and no one can tell us any different!

Sure I could walk down the street and assault a shop owner and try to rob them, then not comply with a police officer and try to overpower him or her and expect not to get shot…couldn’t I? At the same time if I tried to take said officers weapon and got shot in the process who is to blame for that? Why would we blame the officer? I was shot because of my own actions not the officers. The officer, if I had done all of that was well within his/her right to confront me.

As for better training, let me ask all of you, if the tables were turned and be realistic, you are wrestling with someone who is trying to take your loaded gun away from you, would you:

  1. call a time-out and chat over a coffee about that persons misguided anger issues
  2. take the time to pull out your mace so you can shoot him in the eye
  3. try to wrestle the gun back but also make sure if it goes off you’ll only hit him in the leg
  4. hand him your gun and ask for a 5 minute head start so you can run
  5. blow your rape whistle and hope for the best

Let’s face the facts as they are, we are placing blame on any individual that we can other than the very individual that should be blamed. Lesson number one, don’t break the law and lesson number two, if the police tell you to do something do it!

Here’s the deal, if we were to look at the Ferguson case and others like it realistically, like Tamir Rice, with a logical mind instead of a judgmental one, without immediately pulling the race card the officers actions would no longer be an issue.

So this Ferguson Effect, what is it really? Well, we have a ton of police who are afraid to do their jobs because society and media always seem to be able to find fault in it. We’d rather blame the police than the criminal and we want to hang on to the race card without actually having the benefit of race really coming into play.

So what the police in your community are mostly white. Ask how many African American’s who were qualified applied for the job. If you can’t prove your police department is racist you don’t have a leg to stand on. At what point in time did we suddenly stop making criminals accountable and turn the tables on the very officers we employ to protect and serve us from said criminals? IF you think you can police better than the police without shooting everyone you come into contact with by all means…

How many people cried out about an injustice or race when Richard Matt got into a police shoot-out and subsequently died this past summer in NY? Why didn’t the police try to reason with him or shoot him in the leg. I am sure they could have done something other than kill him…right?!?!?!? In fact how many of you know if the officer who shot him was white or black, mixed race, Asian, Hispanic? Better yet, did anyone care? No, because Richard Matt was white and had already been convicted of a crime.

No one cared about any of that and here’s why, Richard Matt was serving a life sentence already and escaped. So in our minds he had already been found guilty of a crime and just wanted to escape so he is guilty. Are we saying police must already know of a persons innocence or guilt when they approach a criminal in order to clear the cop of a shooting if it were to occur in the event the criminal, black or not is killed trying to evade arrest?  It sounds a lot like that is what we are demanding.

The fact today is that I see a lot of police hesitation and they shouldn’t be forced to do that because of the media or society. If a killer gets away today because an officer hesitated then said killer, killed your loved one (s) we’d want the officer’s head on a silver platter just the same because we would find fault in the officers choice not to chase or shoot said killer. If the officer were to be the one killed we somehow still manage to place less value on his life than we would if the killer had been, and if the killer had been black.

Police corruption is everywhere but it’s not a white or black thing. IT’s a cop who shouldn’t be a cop got in thing. We need to stop making police shootings more than they are, we need to stop making them a race thing and we need to stop seeking out ways to condemn the actions of a cop who was just doing his job one night. If we all really wanted racism to stop, we’d stop pulling that card and see things as they really happened.  Use statements like, “A person got shot during the commission of a crime, it’s unclear if the person had a weapon, was reaching for the officers weapon, a struggle ensued…” Ahh but then no one get’s attention, money or advertisers that way… At the end of the day if it were you, or me like I said, race isn’t even a factor if I am trying to save my life.

Society doesn’t want an individual held accountable without the benefit of a trial or the ability to blame someone other than the very individual who committed a crime or did something wrong. Cops are not fit to to be cop, Jury, Judge and Executioner all at the same time.  At least in our minds yet, we expect them to be if it were our very lives that hung in the balance, just not that cops life. We expect them to shoot if they feel our lives are in danger but when it comes to the life a cop, we’d rather condemn them for trying to protect their own lives regardless of the assailants color or race. We always manage to find faults in an officers response to anything.

Fact is, if you break down the number of police involved shootings by city, state, municipality and then took a hard look at race really being the determining factor as to why the cop shot, you’d see quite clearly that, it wasn’t.

Cops aren’t super hero’s, they aren’t Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, or Batman, they are people too and they make judgement calls more than any of us do. The problem is, we never want to admit that if it were us in those shoes we would have made the same call at that point and in that very same moment.

The race card is being over used and it’s being used to excuse the actions of individuals rather than correct that individuals behavior. Each time the race card is used in the place of looking at an event that warranted what we call police brutality, murder or mayhem, it’s only purpose is to further oppress.

Cristal M Clark

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