Are all bad drivers created equal? Not in Seattle they’re not, where the city attorney has made it his goal to reduce prosecutions of drivers caught driving with suspended licenses by 90 percent. Apparently going after drivers with suspended licenses is racist “because blacks and other racial minorities are more likely to be poor than Whites and unable to pay their fines.”
You might think that driving with a suspended license is a matter that endangers everyone of all races, colors and creeds. Last year two women in Seattle were killed by a driver with a suspended license who was driving while high on methamphetamines. Both the perpetrator, George A. Ross, and one of his female victims, Kiana Cormier, were African-American.
In 2004 the big issue in Seattle’s city council elections was ending the impounding of vehicles from drivers caught driving with suspended licenses. Councilman Richard McIver said that impounding a vehicle was similar to “taking someone’s shoes for jaywalking.”
Despite a study which showed that drivers with suspended licenses were 2.5 times more likely to get into accidents, Seattle’s city government continued pushing a “driver’s license optional” policy in the name of racial and economic justice. But where is the racial and economic justice when young black women like Kiana are killed because the authorities would rather pander than enforce the law and do their jobs? As usual the first victims of liberal social justice are the very minority groups they claim to want to help.
But in Seattle, one police officer is speaking out against the tyranny of political correctness.
Officer Pomper wrote an article in The Guardian, a Seattle police newspaper put out by the Seattle Police Officers Guild, titled “Just Shut Up and Be a Good Little Socialist,” which addressed the socialist hegemony that officers were expected to endure. “Employing the Race and Social Justice Initiative, the City of Seattle is actually deciding on which people do or do not ‘merit punishment’ for a crime, based upon their race, ethnic heritage, and/or socio-economic status. So far this only applies to DWLS3, but one has to ask, what’s next?”
Seattle’s Mayor Mike McGinn responded to police criticism by saying, “I just don’t think there is room for in this city for police officers who think issues of race and social justice aren’t important… and who think addressing the issues of race and social justice is unwarranted.”
Although Pomper wrote his article off duty as a private citizen and not as a representative of the SPD, repeated attempts were made to keep him from speaking out against a policy that amounts to racial profiling. By treating a disparity in racial offenses as proof of intolerance, the City of Seattle is racializing even an item of law as objectively color neutral as whether a driver has a valid license or not.
Pomper pointed out that not only has the city attorney decided to reduce prosecutions of suspended licenses, but unlike other traffic offenses which are dealt by the officer, the city attorney has routed these cases through his office to “determine who merits punishment.” If “merit” is determined by race, rather than offense, than “Driving While White” becomes the real crime.
The only way to make crime rates racially equivalent is to juggle enforcement in ways that make “Driving While White” into a serious offense or to stop enforcing the law on classes of offenses or areas with a larger proportion of minority offenders. Neither one can be described as upholding the law. Both amount to racial profiling at the grand statistical level, as officers are being guided to make fewer arrests and prosecutors are being taught to file fewer charges to balance the racial scales.
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