Who Let the 'Racist' Police Dogs Out?

For this reader, the headline on the Drudge Report simply shouted out for a click: “‘Racist’ L.A. police dogs only bite Latinos and African-Americans.”  I didn’t know which website the click would take me to, but I was sure of what the story would say.  I would not be disappointed.

And sure enough, the link took me to a story at the website for The Independent, a newspaper in the United Kingdom that in an editorial earlier this year described itself as “proudly liberal.”  And I read on to discover that in the tradition of proud liberals on both sides of the Atlantic, The Independent ran a sensational headline above a story that elevated leftist ideology over serious reporting.  “Police officers in Los Angeles have long faced accusations of institutional racism,” the story begins, “but now it appears their dogs may be unjustly discriminatory, too.”

Yes, everyone knows about the racist cops in L.A., but these guys even have racist dogs.  The depravity!

Accompanying the story was a photograph of a Los Angeles Police Department officer holding a dog on a leash.  Just out of frame, the reader might presume, is some unfortunate black or Latino quivering at the immediate prospect of being served up to this racist beast.  But as I continued to read, I learned that the story was not about the LAPD and its snarling pack of hounds (but you know theirs are just as bad), but rather about the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  That the photograph depicts an officer and dog from one department while the story itself concerns supposed problems in another indicates that the editors at The Independent either don’t know the difference between the two agencies or don’t find the distinction meaningful.  Either way, it’s sloppy journalism, but just a hint of what followed.

The story described the findings contained in a report (PDF) issued by the Police Assessment Resource Center, a Los Angeles-based non-profit group devoted to “advancing effective and accountable policing.”  The president of PARC is one Merrick Bobb, a man I described some years ago as “every liberal’s favorite police ‘expert.’” Mr. Bobb, despite a complete lack of police experience, has for many years made a respectable living providing “oversight” to various police agencies, including the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.

The authors of the PARC report are in dismayed wonderment to discover that the great majority of criminal suspects bitten by Sheriff’s Department dogs are black and Latino.  The report begins to explain why this is so – or appears to – before eliding the facts behind the disparity, facts from which the liberal mind recoils.  “[T]he vast majority of the canine deployments occurred in high crime areas.  Accordingly, the likelihood for deployment may be crime related.”

Sounds reasonable, no?  But then we get this:

We observed, however, that large swathes of LASD’s jurisdiction, encompassing generally affluent areas with smaller minority populations, had few [canine] deployments or bites.  Crime rates are lower in these areas, but the stark disparity leads us to wonder why canine deployments seem to occur disproportionately in less affluent areas with larger minority populations.

In this passage we see the liberal mindset that obstinately refuses to acknowledge the correlation between race and crime in America, a correlation no less obvious to the impartial observer in Los Angeles than in any other city one could name.  One must attend graduate school to be rendered so pitiably oblivious to the obvious.  The “stark disparity” in dog bites is roughly proportional to the similarly stark disparity in crime rates among areas patrolled by the Sheriff’s Department.  In those areas where crime is highest, which, to the discomfit of liberals, happen to be those areas in which blacks and Latinos are most concentrated, deputies make more arrests, occasionally calling on the assistance of canine units to make them.