Myrtle Cole unfairly criticized over racial profiling

By Dan Lawton | 5:30 p.m. Aug. 4, 2016

San Diego Councilwoman Myrtle Cole’s recent comments about black-on-black violence and racial profiling have spurred debate and some criticism. Troy Orem

San Diego Councilwoman Myrtle Cole has two traits that many elected officials in San Diego don’t. 1) She is an African-American woman. 2) She has years of experience as a police officer.

And so to me it came as no surprise when, recently, she said this at a community meeting in her district: “Black on black crime is an issue ... That’s why when someone says, ‘Do you think there is racial profiling?’ Yeah, because blacks are shooting blacks ... . They’re going to stop an African-American ... . Those are the ones that are shooting.”

Two views

Myrtle Cole unfairly criticized over racial profiling
Myrtle Cole fails constituents, should resign

Pious wails quickly emerged. The loudest came from the Rev. Shane Harris. His wails were predictable. Ms. Cole should resign. She has lost touch with her community. And so forth.

What garbage. I am sorry. I have grown tired of the endless demands for “dialogue,” the nothing that happens afterward, the elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention for fear of being booed off the stage and called names.

No one denies that police shoot and brutalize too many unarmed young people, many of whom are African-American.

No one denies that some of the police responsible are criminals who belong in prison themselves.

But there are some other things that are undeniable too.

Some of them are statistics.
Per the FBI, in 2012, white males (38 percent of the population) committed 4,582 murders. In the same year, black males (6.6 percent of the population) committed 5,531 murders.

African-Americans committed 52 percent of the homicides in America during the period spanning 1980 and 2008. This is despite comprising only 13 percent of the population. The percentage of blacks murdered by other blacks in 2013 was 90 percent. That percentage varies 1 point from those for the prior four years.

These data are true. But you’ll never hear them mentioned at any meeting of those who condemn Myrtle Cole. The reason you won’t is simple: Saying it would hurt too much. The main problem is not racial profiling. It is too much homicide, committed by too many young males, many of whom are young black men from non-intact families with absent fathers. As to this reality, Ms. Cole’s few critics are struck silent.

Would anyone complain if we had fewer homicides but more racial profiling? Perhaps Rev. Harris would. But what an awkward press conference that would be.

Last month, FBI agents and San Diego police arrested a serial bank robber, the “Hipster Bandit.” Part of the police work was what the Rev. Harris himself, if being honest, would call “racial profiling.” Surveillance photographs showed that the robber was a white male who wore a red T-shirt. Detectives learned of a man matching his description. They went to the man’s apartment. There they arrested him. Prosecutors have since charged the man with robbery.

Should the police have disregarded the evidence that the “Hipster Bandit” was a white male and gone looking for a black male instead? If they had, Barney Fife himself would have had a good laugh over it. Maybe the Rev. Harris would even laugh along with him. (Nah. He’d profess outrage, of course.)

Instead, law enforcement followed the leads they had. Those leads led them to a white male fitting the “Hipster Bandit’s” description. Today, he’s in jail. Good for them. Good for us.

Like many of us, I watched the seven bereaved Mothers of the Movement who spoke at the DNC convention last week in Philadelphia. What they said about their dead children was powerful. But what they didn’t say was powerful, too. Here it is: “We stand here tonight because our children were taken away from us wrongly. It’s too late to ask their fathers to be here for them now. But, to the other fathers out there, hear this. Be there for your sons and daughters. The idea that your kids will grow up without you in their lives and still succeed is provably wrong in most cases. The chance that they will fail, get in trouble, or be killed, because you weren’t there to teach them how to live right is provable too. Intact families with present fathers are what it’s all about. So be a real dad. Then you’ll help all of us in a way that Myrtle Cole and Hillary Clinton never could.”

I haven’t heard Rev. Harris give that speech yet. I wonder if it’s time he did.