ACLU: Minneapolis Police Are Racist, Should Do Less Policing

The Minneapolis Star Tribune cites a report by the American Civil Liberties Union on race and law enforcement in Minneapolis:

People of color are more likely to be arrested for low-level crimes in Minneapolis compared to their white counterparts, according to a detailed study released Thursday of thousands of arrests made by city police. …

Picking up the Pieces: Policing in America, a Minneapolis Case Study shows that blacks were 8.7 times more likely than white people to be arrested for minor offenses, which are violations that are punished by fines of $3,000 or less and/or a year or less in jail. Native Americans were 8.6 times more likely than white people to be arrested. Among young people ages 17 and under, black youth were 5.8 times more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses than white youth; for Native Americans, this figure was 7.7.

Low-level offenses include dozens of crimes such as driving an uninsured vehicle, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle, panhandling, consuming alcohol in public, public urination, and many more. The ACLU report is here. This chart sets out the basic data:


Observers of the urban scene probably won’t be shocked by these numbers. But one thing may already have jumped out at you: while the ACLU report goes on and on about “people of color” being victimized by the police, not all people of color are, apparently, created equal. Note that the disparity between population and arrests is greater for Asians than for African-Americans and Indians, only in the opposite direction. Asians account for 6% of the population of Minneapolis, but only 1% of the low-level arrests.

Why might that be? Astonishingly, neither the ACLU report nor the Star Tribune story on it ever mentions the Asian “disparity,” even though the ACLU casually assumes that “[t]he numbers show a startling disparity in the way police enforce low-level offenses.” Would the ACLU have us believe that the Minneapolis police are conspiring to cover up low-level crimes by Asians? Presumably not: it is obvious that Asians are “under-represented” among such arrests because they rarely commit such crimes.

But if that is true, the whole racism hypothesis falls apart. How do we know that blacks and Indians are not “over-represented” in low-level arrests because they commit a disproportionate number of such crimes? In fact, it is a well-known and easily documented fact that these demographic groups are over-represented in the criminal population. The ACLU report never mentions this uncomfortable fact.

The report makes just one effort to show that the relatively large number of low-level arrests of African-Americans is due to racism:

One of the more interesting disparities the ACLU’s analysis of low-level arrests by the Minneapolis Police Department uncovered was the greater likelihood of Black drivers being arrested for what we call “active driving violations” during summer daylight hours than at night. The category includes offenses like careless driving, failure to use a turn signal, speeding, and unlawful acceleration.

The Black/white racial disparities for active driving violation arrests in June, July, and August were worse during daylight hours and lower at night through the early morning. At 2 p.m., when officers are more likely able to identify the race of drivers before pulling them over, a Black person was over 9 times more likely to be arrested for an active driving violation than a white person.

By contrast, at 3 a.m., when visibility is limited and officers are less likely to be able to identify the race of drivers before pulling them over, the Black/white racial disparity is far lower, with Black drivers twice as likely to be arrested. This suggests racial profiling by law enforcement.


Actually, this chart suggests the opposite of the ACLU’s interpretation. I don’t know why the “disparity” in active driving arrests is four times as great at 2 p.m. as at 8 a.m., but it isn’t because the police officer can see the race of the driver. Eight o’clock in the morning, in Minnesota in the summer, is broad daylight. A police officer can see the driver as well at 8:00 as at 2:00. So whatever the explanation might be, that isn’t it.

The report also includes data strongly suggesting that the racism hypothesis is wrong. A low-level arrest can end in one of two ways: the offender can be booked and processed through jail, or he can be cited and released. If one assumes that Minneapolis officers are wrongly arresting African-Americans out of racial animus, then we should also find that African-Americans are treated worse post-arrest. But the report admits that this is not the case:

[A]lthough Black people were arrested for low-level offenses at far higher rates than white people, of those who were arrested, there was not a significant difference in how frequently police officers booked Black arrestees and white arrestees. It’s one data point where the police treatment of white and Black people in Minneapolis was relatively the same.


The ACLU’s conclusion: “to be a person of color in the city is to be over-policed.” So how does the ACLU propose to remedy Minneapolis’s disparity in low-level arrests? In large part, through less policing.

The ACLU’s recommended reforms include:

* Ensuring that MPD officers are evaluated in a way that does not reward them based on the number of stops and low-level arrests they make; and that they face discipline for unnecessary uses of force;

* Making information public about what methods are used to determine when and if an officer will face punishment;

* Improving MPD’s current policy that explicitly bans racial profiling and other discriminatory behaviors;

* Prohibiting officers from asking people if they can search them if they have no legal reason;

* Keeping data, and making it publicly available on a regular basis, in a format that makes it more accessible and includes information from all interactions with the police including ones that do not result in an arrest, but were merely suspicious person stops, frisks, or searches;

* Ensuring that raw data is analyzed by an independent party on a regular basis to identify disparities that negatively affect communities of color or other marginalized communities;

* Establishing an empowered civilian review body that has authority to discipline officers when necessary…

You get the drift: ease off on offenders and crack down on the police, the approach that has worked so well in Baltimore. This is foolishness, but foolishness that perhaps follows inevitably if you assume that every disparity (or rather, every convenient disparity) is per se evidence of race discrimination.

Clinton’s Benghazi emails confirm her lack of post-intervention plan for Libya

As John has explained, Hillary Clinton doesn’t just have a Benghazi problem; she has a Libya problem. More than anyone else, Hillary Clinton pushed for, and helped effectuate, the overthrow of Moammar Qaddafi. As a result of his overthrow, Libya became a playground for terrorists, a haven for ISIS, and a failed state.

Clinton’s recently released Benghazi emails confirm her leading role in creating the Libya fiasco. They confirm that, in the words of her deputy chief of staff, Hillary was “instrumental in securing the authorization [to intervene in Libya], building the coalition [that intervened], and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”

The emails also confirm that Hillary had no real plan preventing the chaos that ensued in Libya following the overthrow of Qaddafi. She had ample warning that chaos stemming from the rise of Islamist militias and terrorists was a distinct possibility. Sidney Blumenthal’s reports from the ground, which she read and distributed, discuss this potential problem.

What, then, was the State Department’s plan for coping with it? The recently released emails, especially ones written by Clinton aide and confidant Huma Abedin, show that the plan was to encourage the emerging Libyan government to be “inclusive” in order (as Abedin puts it) to “nurture its legitimacy.”

To make sure that the government didn’t let Abedin and Clinton down, it would sign a pledge.

Apparently, then, Hillary Clinton’s plan was this: tell the new government to be nice and secure its pledge to do so. A college dean would be embarrassed to have come up with something this naive and jargon-ridden for dealing with, say, fraternity misconduct.

Is there more to Clinton’s approach than comes through in the emails? Conceivably. But her book, Hard Choices, suggests not. Her chapter on Libya ends with this:

I was worried that the challenges ahead would prove overwhelming for even the most well-meaning transitional leaders. If the new government could consolidate its authority, provide security, use oil revenues to rebuild, disarm the militias, and keep extremists out, then Libya would have a fighting chance at building a stable democracy.

If not, then the country would face very difficult challenges translating the hopes of a revolution into a free, secure, and prosperous future. And, as we soon learned, not only Libyans would suffer if they failed.

Worrying isn’t a strategy and neither is “if.” Will Clinton be permitted to walk away so casually from the “suffering” — not only by Libyans, but by four Americans including an ambassador — her policy produced?

She will, I fear, if the mainstream media has its way. It grills Republican presidential candidates about the decision to go to invade Iraq in 2003, even though none of the major ones had anything to do with it (but Hillary did). It seems far less interested in Clinton’s central role in the Libyan intervention.

It will be up to the Republican presidential candidate to drive home the connection between the Clinton inspired intervention, the absence of a serious plan in its aftermath, the Benghazi attacks, and the rise of ISIS in Libya

Coming Soon: A Live YouTube Event for VIP Members

On Wednesday June 3, at 5 Pacific, 7 Central, 8 Eastern, all Power Line VIP members are invited to participate in a live YouTube event featuring the PL crew. We will email a private link to all VIP members, and you can follow the link to watch the live discussion on YouTube, as well as submit questions or comments to which we will respond–all live!

At least that’s what we think will happen; Joe assures us that all systems are go. So, if you are a VIP member, please save the date and participate in our first live VIP event. Assuming it works as planned, there will be more. If you are not yet a VIP member, you can join, for the shockingly low price of $4 per month, by going to the VIP box in the upper right hand corner of the site.

JOE adds: This event is going to be pretty crazily fun. (If it works.) Here’s a sneak peak of how it will look:


You know you’ve always wanted to see Steve pilot a drone in live 720p resolution. You can watch the special PL broadcast from anywhere in the world, on desktop, on a mobile phone, or even on your Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV.

Become a VIP today for an invitation to join in the live broadcast.

JOHN adds: That’s a really terrible picture of Scott!


Behind Science Fraud, Chapter 6

Chocoloate copyDid any readers take note of the recent stories appearing in the news media that eating chocolate is actually good for weight loss, such as the June issue of Shape magazine which ran an article entitled “Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily”?

Yesterday on the science website, German molecular biologist Johannes Bohannon explained how he pulled it off with a statistically weak study that several science journals accepted with minimal or perfunctory review:

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. . .

The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Bohannon goes on to explain how he pulled it off, how several journals accepted the study for publication with little or no review at all, and why he expected journalists to spot a weak or phony story a mile away, but of course didn’t. Clearly he underestimated the credulity of reporters. He did reach the realization that “The key is to exploit journalists’ incredible laziness.”

His explanation of how basic statistical methodology is frequently abused is useful:

Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a “statistically significant” result. . . Whenever you hear that phrase, it means that some result has a small p value. The letter p seems to have totemic power, but it’s just a way to gauge the signal-to-noise ratio in the data. The conventional cutoff for being “significant” is 0.05, which means that there is just a 5 percent chance that your result is a random fluctuation. The more lottery tickets, the better your chances of getting a false positive. So how many tickets do you need to buy?

P(winning) = 1 – (1 – p)n

With our 18 measurements, we had a 60% chance of getting some “significant” result with p < 0.05. (The measurements weren’t independent, so it could be even higher.) The game was stacked in our favor.

It’s called p-hacking—fiddling with your experimental design and data to push p under 0.05—and it’s a big problem. Most scientists are honest and do it unconsciously. They get negative results, convince themselves they goofed, and repeat the experiment until it “works”. Or they drop “outlier” data points.

Gee—if only there was some kind of quality control mechanism for science publishing and journalism, like qualified peer reviewers and knowledgeable editors.  Oh, wait. . .

This seems like a good time to re-post my three-minute interview with science journalist Ron Bailey from three years ago about science fraud:

Oh what the heck:

Science Says copy

The unmaking of a mayor

City life has not improved in Baltimore since the indictment of six Baltimore police officers. Some residents have gone on a murder spree targeting other residents. Innocent bystanders have the reasonable fear of getting caught in the crossfire.

Drudge has compiled stories here (Juliet Linderman, AP, Baltimore gets bloodier as arrests have dropped), here (Juliet Linderman again, residents are scared to death), and here (Derek Valcourt, CBS local, mother and 7-year-old son murdered).

Rich Lowry observes: “Baltimore was an obsession of the BlackLivesMatter crowd and of the news media after the death of Freddie Gray from a terrible injury suffered in police custody. But now that 35 people have been murdered in the month of May, the highest in a month since 1999, the response has been muted.” Rich titles his column #SomeBlackLivesDontMatter.

As Marvin Gaye asked back in the day, what’s goin’ on? That’s the question FOX News Channel’s Leland Vittert addressed to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at her weekly press conference on Wednesday (video below). The mayor had no answer to the question. She didn’t even appear to be in a condition to answer the question. Her handler [?] interceded to call off Vittert. If it would have been a fight, he would have had to throw in the towel.

Against the shibboleths of the day, Rich Lowry draws the moral of the story:

The implication is clear: More people need to be arrested in Baltimore, not fewer. And more need to be jailed. If black lives truly matter, Baltimore needs more and better policing and incarceration to impose order on communities where a lawless few spread mayhem and death.

* * * * *

It is wrong for the police to shrink from doing their job, but the last month in Baltimore shows how important that job is. This is especially true in dangerous, overwhelmingly black neighborhoods. They need disproportionate police attention, even if that attention is easily mischaracterized as racism. The alternative is a deadly chaos that destroys and blights the lives of poor blacks.

It is a paradox that a figure who is anathema to the BlackLivesMatter movement, Rudy Giuliani, saved more black lives than any of his critics ever will. He did it by getting the police to establish and maintain basic order in New York’s neighborhoods and defending the cops when the likes of Al Sharpton maligned them.

Now that Mayor Bill de Blasio has pulled back, shootings are trending up in New York City. But it’s OK, as long as nameless young black men are the ones being shot at. For progressives only some black lives matter.

Rush Limbaugh has more here, including a transcript of Vittert’s questioning of the mayor.

Related: “Mosby’s favorites.”

Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll stands and delivers Psychotic Ninnies, Circa 1975. She writes:

Last Friday I referred to the Psychotic Ninny Wing of the feminist movement. In the beginning they were a relatively small part of the legitimate push for equality and expanded opportunities for women. But they always existed. In a meeting I attended in 1970, a certifiably-insane woman waxed rhapsodic about how “when we hang all the men they will emit sperm and we can collect that and reproduce without men.” The logistics of that scenario alone were daunting and the image tough to erase. I thought, “Holy crap! I will sit here quietly and hope her spaceship picks her up soon!”

I’m about to describe another incident which was an early precursor to the hoaxes, disgusting “rape culture” slander and tedious anti-male bigotry on campus today. Since virtually every legal equality has already been won, and the saner feminists have retired from the field, victorious, the lunatic fringe has more influence in a smaller pond.

It is ever thus in every “social justice” movement. The more obvious it becomes that virtually all impediments to success have been removed, the more furious the professional “victims” become that nothing much has changed in their lives. And the more resentful of others whose life decisions and discipline have catapulted them to success.

Individual success is anathema to a victim class. It does not inspire; it refutes the linchpin of their victimhood: that the deck is permanently stacked against them all. Those who profit from their professional victim status cling to it like a Titanic survivor to a piece of driftwood. Michelle Obama springs to mind: an obscenely-rich professional vacationer and Food Scold who claims to be dissed at Target and unwelcome at museums in the racist country that elected her unqualified, incompetent husband. Twice.

On the particular day I would like to discuss, my friend and I wheeled our toddlers toward Castro Street and decided to stop in to a women’s coffeehouse for a cup of herbal tea. Though The Full Moon called itself a coffeehouse for women, it was only for the right kind.

We quickly became aware that all the other women were what Robin Williams called “women in comfortable shoes” and what I called “The Hairy Armpit Crew.” Now, I am completely neutral on whatever people’s personal preferences are for body hair. I’m told that some men even find it appealing. Whatever. But in the early 70s, not shaving your legs or armpits became a STATEMENT, a furry I.D. Badge for being at minimum a radical feminist.

My friend and I were clearly breeders, our Strollers of Shame advertising our cavorting with the enemy. The hostility could be cut with a knife. We got our tea and sat down. Within minutes, a large unhappy woman with the mandatory bushy armpits and a crewcut approached us and asked about our babies. “Are those boys?” she fairly spat. Both toddlers had longish curls and were – in my utterly unbiased opinion – extraordinarily good-looking.

We admitted that they were boys. She then ordered us to leave because – and who could forget such a statement even 40 years later? – “some of the women are feeling rape vibes.”

I’m pretty sure there must have been a time in my life when I was more enraged, but I can’t think of when it might have been.

My friend, of a less combative nature, immediately got up and fled, expecting I was behind her. I stayed put. Cursed with a slavish devotion to Logic, I said, “If you had to ASK if these were boys, those vibes must have been pretty weak. I paid for this tea. If you want me gone, you’d best call the cops. I am going to finish my tea with my beautiful boy and if you touch one hair on his head, you will find yourself in court. After you come out of your coma.”

It was a ludicrous threat; the woman was twice my size and I had a baby with me, never an asset in a donnybrook. But, being a very small person, I was forced to learn at an early age that bullies are always caught off guard when you fight back. She looked into my eyes, and wisely chose to stomp back to her coven. Like Mean Girls everywhere, they resumed looking daggers at me.

It’s not easy to drink Red Zinger when you’re shaking like a leaf. But I dragged it out as long as I could. And left, with as much dignity as could be mustered by a person on the verge of stroking out. When I was a few feet from the door, I yelled, “If you hate men so much, how come you are trying so hard to look like one?” Mind you, I was a card-carrying left-wing Democrat at the time. But you don’t associate my 18-month-old baby boy with the worst crime after murder and expect me to just take it and slink away.

I do not know if that den of discrimination is still there; I suspect not. Most establishments don’t last for 40 years. But anti-male bigotry lives on and thrives. Now it is backed up by the giant truncheon of the state. On campus, at the highest reaches of multi-culti government, The Psychotic Ninnies and their pet eunuchs rule. It is long past time to fight back.

Trigger warning: Run! Or grab your Teddy Bear or Play-Doh. Here are the scary boy babies who invaded the Safe Space for Psychotic Ninnies.


Megyn Kelly takes down Rand Paul on the Patriot Act

John has flagged Rand Paul’s ISIS whopper — the claim that Republicans are to blame for the rise of ISIS. When Republicans controlled the White House, ISIS was, as John says, little more than a dream in the minds of a few fanatics. The dream was realized not because of Republicans, but mostly because President Obama reversed President Bush’s policies and prematurely withdrew American forces from Iraq.

But Rand Paul’s struggles with the truth aren’t confined to ISIS. During the debate over renewing the Patriot Act, Paul has wildly exaggerated the extent of the intrusion of privacy that occurs under the Act.

A few days ago, Megyn Kelly called the Senator on this. She told Paul:

Your critics accuse you of overstating the case. For example, one of the things that you’ve said is that the NSA is spying on all your phone calls. And that’s not true, and it doesn’t have cell phone data in almost any case.

Paul responded:

That’s actually not what I’ve said. I’ve been saying the NSA is collecting all of your phone records, and by connecting the dots of your phone records, they can determine your religion 85 percent of the time, who your physician is most of the time, what medicines you have. They can even tell when you go to the doctor, by interference, maybe what kind of procedures you’re having at your doctor’s office.

To this nonsense, Kelly replied:

How? The Wall Street Journal had a report that said the NSA is collecting records of at most 20 percent of U.S. calls. And in general, they do not look at cell phone records.

In other words, Paul’s claim that the NSA is collecting all of our phone records is bull. As for “connecting the dots,” Kelly added:

This program, this is what the critics outline– you get no names, no addresses, no personal identifying information, that the NSA doesn’t know you exist. They just have phone numbers and only look further if the terrorist calls the number.

Instead of defending his statements of alleged fact, Paul invoked the Constitution:

The Founding Fathers didn’t like the idea of general warrants: warrants that didn’t have specific names on them, that were not individualized, that didn’t have any suggestion of suspicion, and that weren’t signed by an independent judge. That’s what the Fourth Amendment is about.

Paul’s constitutional analysis is shaky, as Andy McCarthy argues. But the point I want to stress is that Paul had to back away from his claims about the nature of what NSA is doing under the Patriot Act because these claims are false.

Nearly all major politicians at times exaggerate and/or misstate things. But the Patriot Act is a bulwark against terrorist attacks on our homeland. Thus, it is hugely irresponsible to attempt conjure up claims about invasions of privacy that aren’t occurring in order to scare Americans into supporting restrictions on the government’s ability to collect information on terrorists.

Concern over privacy in the context of the Patriot Act has become Paul’s signature issue, particularly since he is now reluctant to show his full isolationist colors. The issue is worthy of legitimate debate.

But the debate isn’t legitimate when the main debater willfully disregards the facts. Rand Paul’s irresponsibility in the realm of national security should disqualify him for consideration for the presidency.

Below is Kelly’s interview of Sen. Paul.