Conducting criminal justice practice based on ethnicity is a sure path to disaster, though the academic and political adherents of identity politics proclaim it is the road to cultural heaven.

Heather Mac Donald examines the issue in this fine article.

An excerpt.

Announcing his presidential bid this month, Sen. Rand Paul said he wants to repeal “any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color.”

Fulfilling this promise would require gutting murder statutes, and most other criminal laws, given the disproportionate black crime rate.

But whether or not Paul reaches the White House, a wide-ranging movement is already under way to transform the criminal justice system in order to avoid a disparate impact on blacks. This push will jeopardize the country’s two-decade-long crime drop.

The pretext for the current decriminalization movement is the half-dozen highly publicized deaths of blacks in encounters with police over the past nine months, including the recent case of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

That case triggered looting and rioting Monday. But every police killing has been leveraged to argue for less enforcement and less consequences for unlawful behavior.

In New York City, the City Council is crafting legislation that would decriminalize such public-order offenses as turnstile-jumping, public urination and public drinking. (New York’s top judge, Jonathan Lippman, expressed general support for the effort on Monday.)

The proposed legislation is a response to the death of Eric Garner during an arrest for selling untaxed loose cigarettes in July 2014.

Such quality-of-life policing, the advocates claim, unfairly burdens minority communities and leads to such horrors as the Garner death.

But the NYPD’s public-order enforcement is driven by community demands — and it turns out that 911 and 311 calls complaining of disorderly conditions come overwhelmingly from minority neighborhoods.

Minimizing the consequences for lawless behavior would require ignoring the wishes of the very residents whom the advocates purport to represent….

The criminal justice pendulum is swinging against personal responsibility and toward the use of race and poverty as an excuse for noncompliance with the law.

Perhaps the most egregious capitulation to lawlessness to date came Sunday, following smaller riots in Baltimore Saturday over Freddie Gray’s still-mysterious death.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that Baltimore authorities gave space to those who wished to destroy. Her office later said she was misinterpreted and was not sanctioning violence. Monday’s vandals didn’t get the correction.

Retrieved April 28, 2015 from