A dozen years ago, City Journal, the quarterly magazine of The Manhattan Institute, published "The Black Cops You Never Hear About" by Heather Mac Donald, one of the sharpest, most eloquent, and zealous defenders of New York City's police department. As the ACLU and various media outlets claimed racial bias in policing, "minority officers, who might be considered ideal commentators on these matters," are ignored, she wrote. "So I set out to talk to black cops and commanders from eight police departments across the country about why they became policemen and how they view today’s policing controversies. What I found was a bracing commitment to law and order, a resounding rejection of anti-cop propaganda, and a conviction that racial politics are a tragic drag on black progress."
All these years later, it's clear that the conclusions she took from her 2002 reporting don't fully capture the beliefs of many black and Hispanic NYPD officers, as evidenced by many more recent assessments from "ideal commentators."
"Reuters interviewed 25 African American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of whom are still serving," the news organization reported in a recent article. "All but one said that, when off duty and out of uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime," the small survey found. "Officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping." These weren't one-off events. "The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them."