Standing Athwart Justice Reform

It wasn’t all that long ago that a broad consensus in favor of criminal justice reform characterized the political landscape. Quite unlike the 2014 grand jury verdict in Ferguson, Missouri and the ensuing unrest, both the right and the left united in discomfort if not outrage over the decision by a New York City grand jury not to indict the officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner. The arrest of the 43-year-old African-American for selling illicit loose cigarettes was captured on camera. It showed one of the arresting officers using physical force to subdue the heavy-set Garner, force that resulted in the alleged contraband purveyor’s death. In the months that followed, the Black Lives Matter movement was formed in response to a purported plague of urban police violence against black residents. Substantial unrest in America’s cities has compelled its predominantly progressive governing class to limit law enforcement’s rules of engagement. This is a luxury the nation’s liberal mayors enjoy due to the marked reduction in violent crime that has been achieved over the last twenty years, much of it a result of 1990s-era policies of “mass incarceration” that today so irritates the left. Still, even as American cities burned and progressives allowed the police to become targets (sometimes literally) of an enraged urban population, the integrity of the pro-justice reform coalition was preserved.

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Standing Athwart Justice Reform

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