Murders in Black, Latino Neighborhoods Go Unsolved; Law Enforcement Completely Ineffective: Report

Killers are arrested in less than half of homicides of Black and Latino victims — 46 and 48 percent, respectively, according to a comprehensive analysis by The Washington Post.
When the victim is white, arrests are made 63 percent of the time.

“Almost all of the low-arrest zones are home primarily to low-income black residents,” The Post notes.

Why the disparity? One detective, Marcus Kennedy, who is Black, summed it up to The Post: when his colleagues go to the streets, “they’ll piss people off real quick. Just with an attitude.”

When the majority of law enforcement is white (nearly 80 percent nationwide) serving a community with which they have “an attitude,” homicides will continue to go unsolved — and there is bound to be no accountability.

“In a city where 69 percent of those killed are black, 24 of 30 homicide detectives are white,” The Post reported.

Some police departments blame “witnesses who are unwilling to cooperate” for their lack of ability to solve homicides.

“The lack of cooperation is what we battle the most,” Deputy Chief Chris Bailey of Indianapolis told The Post.

“But families of those killed, and even some officers, say the fault rests with apathetic police departments,” The Post reported. “All agree that the unsolved killings perpetuate cycles of violence in low-arrest areas.”

Detective Kennedy, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, recalled one case where an officer upset a witness who then decided not to speak with law enforcement. It was Kennedy who went back to patch things up.

“I kind of charmed them and then went back the next day, and she said, ‘Let me see your notebook pad,’ and she wrote down who did it,” Kennedy said. That witness testified at trial, and a killer was put away.

But in most cases, there is no one like Kennedy to fix such a mistake. And there’s no data on how many times a poor relationship has been the deciding factor in a case going unsolved.

Some officials described a “hands-off” approach taken by some detectives. Kennedy said a lot of his peers are often at their desks.

John Skaggs, a retired 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, echoed that sentiment: “There are a lot of detectives in this country that love sitting at their desk.”

One official went so far as to suggest that some victims matter less than others.

“In many cases, these are not innocent victims,” Thomas Warren, a former Omaha police chief, said to The Post. “Unfortunately you’re not going to get a lot of cooperation if the victims themselves were involved in gang activity or drug distribution.”

Yet these same detectives will blame Black communities for not cooperating.

But would you stick your neck out to offer police information when you know, from living in the neighborhood, that nothing ever gets solved?

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