Monday, August 22, 2005

Cops, Stops, and Coleman

Nick Coleman actually has a good, non-shrill column out. He talks about the crime problem in North Minneapolis. But he misses the mark on part of the cause and part of the solution.

In the early part of this decade, police were indirectly (and directly) accused of racism in various studies of "racial profiling." As Powerline's Scott Johnson reports in his Murderapolis series, the response of the police was simply to make fewer stops. This meant they were arresting fewer outstanding warrants and discovering fewer illegal weapons. Coleman misses this point, which has clues to both the cause and the solution.

As a liberal, Coleman had a Sister Souljah moment during his days as a St. Paul Pioneer Press Columnist. Even Coleman realizes that charges of racial profiling in traffic stops presume that the police know the race of the driver. Check out this portion of his August 12, 2001 account of a police ride-along:

Payne Avenue, corner of Jenks, 1:35 a.m. on a drizzly Saturday on St. Paul's East Side. Police officer John Linssen has stopped a blue 1987 Chevy that is traveling slowly -- too slowly -- with its bright lights on.I have been riding with Linssen, playing a ride-along game, trying to guess the driver's race and gender each time Linssen stops an errant motorist. I have been wrong almost every time, sometimes comically.

Nick, time to read your old clippings!

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