We still have three daily newspapers here in New York — the Times, the Post, and the Daily News. I subscribe to the first two, but not to the Daily News. And I almost never read the Daily News either. From my occasional encounters, my observation is that the Daily News has completely gone over to wokism, and is just a cut-rate, slimmed-down version of the Times, pushing the progressive narrative on all issues without concern for evidence or facts.
But like the Times, the Daily News can sometimes, undoubtedly inadvertently, shine a bright light on the twisted thinking of the progressive mind. Such was the case with a piece that appeared a few days ago (September 24) and that I came across because it was linked at RealClearPolitics. The piece has the headline “The NYPD’s arrest practices are still starkly discriminatory,” The author is Robert Gangi. Here is a picture from 2017 of Gangi announcing his candidacy for Mayor in that year’s election. (He didn’t get far; but then, the guy who won, de Blasio, essentially shared Gangi’s perspective on the issues):
Gangi begins his Daily News piece by identifying himself as running an organization called the Police Reform Organizing Project. PROP makes a thing of sending representatives into the New York criminal court “arraignment” parts to observe the goings on. According to Gangi, “Over the last eight years, PROP volunteers and representatives, numbering more than 100 people through the years, have observed more than 7,000 cases in the arraignment parts of New York City’s criminal courts.” As a result of observing these arraignments, PROP has collected quite a lot of information on the nature of the crimes for which people get arrested in New York, as well as on the races of the people arrested.
PROP is just out with a big Report with the title “Where’s the Outrage: The Persistence of Racist NYPD Arrests.” The Report covers the period January to July 2022. Gangi’s op-ed in the Daily News summarizes some of the information from this latest Report.
The conclusions of the Report are as indicated in the headline of Gangi’s op-ed and the title of the Report itself. NYPD’s arrest practices are “starkly discriminatory” and “racist.” You might find that a little dubious for starters, given that both New York’s Mayor (Eric Adams) and Police Commissioner (Keechant Sewell) for the period in question are black. But Gangi’s op-ed doubles down and elaborates on these themes:
The skewed numbers and harsh human reality we regularly observe in our city’s criminal courts are not an accident. They are a function of NYPD policy and practice going back many years entailing targeting and criminalizing large groups of marginalized New Yorkers: African-Americans and Latinos and the unhoused, drug-addicted, mentally ill and other vulnerable individuals.
The NYPD is “targeting” and “criminalizing” the “marginalized” groups. The remainder of the op-ed gives several examples selected by Gangi to illustrate his thesis. Presumably, the examples he has selected — out of a universe of thousands according to his own account — should be expected to be among the most compelling to prove the point. OK, here are his main examples:
A Black woman in Brooklyn is arrested on a petty larceny charge. She was in a grocery store with her two daughters, who attempted to leave the place with fish hidden under their coats. Apparently not knowing where her girls are, she seems distraught. The judge releases her with the directive that she has to return at a later date as her case continues to be processed by the courts.
A disabled and elderly Black woman is arrested in Manhattan, also on a petty larceny charge; petty larceny is the NYPD’s second most common misdemeanor arrest. The judge releases her, and, with the aid of a cane, she hobbles out of the courtroom. We follow her and ask about her case. She says that she had taken a package of ham and eggs from the Pathmark in Harlem. We ask why. Perhaps surprised by our question, she explains that she was hungry.
Just curious about the reaction of readers to the news that these two incidents led to the arrest of the perpetrators. My reaction is, of course they were arrested. Both were engaged in blatant shoplifting, known to the criminal laws as “larceny.” Nothing in Gangi’s article suggests in any way that the arrested parties didn’t commit the crimes, and indeed in the second incident the perpetrator admits to the crime, while attempting to justify it on the grounds that she “was hungry.”
Gangi thinks that we should all be “outraged” that these incidents — and thousands of other similar but likely less sympathetic ones — led to arrests. But somehow Gangi is oblivious to the fact that fundamentally what he is advocating is that black people are too stupid or incompetent to be held to the normal standards of behavior that govern society. If they “are hungry,” they should be privileged to steal whatever they need from whatever source they can find. Any attempt of the police, or presumably anyone else, to stop them is “racist.” Because his article is limited to a few instances of theft of food (those being incidents that might give rise to reader sympathy), we don’t find out his attitude toward thefts of other items. Does Gangi think that black people should be privileged to steal expensive sneakers? How about high-end TVs? Jewelry? Cars?
If Gangi has given any thought to the collateral consequences of the criminal justice policies he advocates, he gives no indication of that in this op-ed or Report. Those collateral consequences are of course devastating for black people, and include things like making shopkeepers highly wary of any black customers entering the store; making stores catering to large numbers of blacks unprofitable and leading to dearth of stores in black neighborhoods; making prices higher at stores in black neighborhoods, because the stores must charge the paying customers prices that cover the losses from theft. None of these things makes life better for black people.
Gangi is just a vile racist, and yet unable to see it in himself. In that he exemplifies a wide swath of the progressive movement.