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O'Reilly: It's Anti-American Not To Support Racial Profiling Because Most Criminals Are Black

Reported by Ellen - May 21, 2009 -

“Hating America” was the subject of Bill O'Reilly's Tuesday (May 19, 2009) Talking Points Memo. Now let's play a little game here. Who are O'Reilly's haters tonight? I'm voting for ACORN. Okay, guy over there voting for GE/NBC News. Lady in the back going for Janeane Garofalo. Damn, we all lost. ACLU wins. Again.

Yeah, the ACLU (that “vile organization”) hates America because it wants the torture photos released blah, blah, blah. Oh wait, here's a new wrinkle. It's not about torture tonight. It's about the ACLU's America-hating attacks on something “right here in New York City.” All because the ACLU objects to the use of racial profiling by the New York City Police Department. With video.

“Once riddled with violent crime,” O'Reilly trimphantly declared, “New York is now largely safe thanks to aggressive policing instituted by Bill Bratton and Rudy Giuliani . . . the cops here are proactive, they try to stop crime before it happens by keeping close tabs on the bad guys. From the jump, the ACLU opposed that.”

Well, yeah, Bill, cops randomly stopping people on the streets who the cops think look a little shifty-eyed strikes me as a little violative of that whole civil rights thingie. What bizarro world do you live in where standing up for the Bill of Rights equals hating America?

According to O'Reilly, a study by the Rand Corporation concluded that 69% of New York City's violent crime victims “describe their assailants as black . . . 5% are described by the victim as white.”

“Recently the New York Chapter of the ACLU filed a complaint against the police charging they were stopping black people more than white people for questioning. The ACLU says that's bias, their usual charge,” O'Reilly brayed.

O'Reilly didn't do his homework. The class-action lawsuit, Floyd et al. v City of New York, was actually filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, not the ACLU, against the NYPD in January. What O'Reilly failed to mention is that the Rand Corporation was subpoenaed last week for data the NYPD gave it to analyze. As reported by citylimits.org, “The suit aims to stop what CCR considers the police department’s systematic racial profiling in the city’s African-American neighborhoods – an approach the plaintiffs claim can lead to tragedies . . . The RAND subpoena is needed to gain access to stop and frisk information compiled by the NYPD, which the attorneys will use to try to prove a pattern of racial profiling – and then force changes to these practices through the courts.” According to The Center for Constitutional Rights, the vast majority of those stopped and questioned in a two and a half year period weren't charged with any crime – in 2007 cops arrested only 5.8% of the 472,096 people they stopped, 80% of whom were black or Latino. Tsk tsk, O'Reilly, remember Google.

“So if you're investigating and trying to stop crimes, to whom would you be talking?” O'Reilly asked in all seriousness (Fox News translation: it's cool to target the black guy). “But the ACLU . . . believe(s) society causes some blacks to be violent, America's basic unfairness manufactures criminals . . . .” No, what the ACLU actually believes in is, “A serious anti-crime strategy must deal, first and foremost, with the root causes of crime--persistent poverty, lack of educational and employment opportunities racial discrimination and social alienation. Calls for "law and order" and the scapegoating of civil liberties are much easier than acting to ameliorate the conditions that foster crime . . . .” And nowhere does it say that criminals should run wild at the expense of citizens. Civil liberties, Bill, you've heard of it. (You can read more in depth about the ACLU's stance on crime here.)

“And,” O'Reilly continued, “most criminal justice experts say if you cut back on proactive policing, more Americans will die in the streets. I believe the ACLU is the most dangerous anti-American organization in the country and if clear-thinking Americans do not confront this group and their members, and their support system in the media, people will die.”

O'Reilly brought in Fox News Analyst Dr. Marc Lemont Hill to comment.

“So . . . folks in New York City, Doctor . . . they themselves say in 69% of the violent cases black people did it, 5% white,” O'Reilly began.

“There's two things that I would say,” Hill responded. “The first thing I'd say is, as a social scientist . . . self-report studies are notoriously unreliable . . . given sort of racial identification research that we have . . . when people are unsure about the race of their assailant they tend to err on the side of black and brown . . . but more importantly, the police aren't targeting criminals, they're targeting innocent people. 90% of the people who have been stopped and frisked in New York over the last two years have been innocent and the police have admitted as such, and so we're not stopping criminals, we're intimidating everyday citizens . . . .”

O'Reilly maintained that police stop and frisk citizens on the street whom they consider to, one, be a suspect, or two, be there for no explainable reason. “The cops just don't go around picking out black people and questioning them.” It sounds like that's exactly what they do at least 80% of the time. if cops decide that someone is, say, at a 7-11 for “no explainable reason.” I mean, the Slurpee in hand doesn't always cut it.

Hill argued that, “86% of the people who have been stopped and frisked are black or Latino, so either black and brown people are always in the wrong place at the wrong time or there's a racial component to this.”

O'Reilly disagreed, saying, “The reason they're stopping and frisking to try to find out who did what to whom.”

“But Bill,” Lemont protested, “You're saying that they're stopping and frisking people who appear to be suspicious or in the wrong place at the wrong time, but 90% of the time they're wrong by their own admission . . . .”

O'Reilly shrugged this off. “90% of the time they're wrong about blacks and whites.”

“I believe the Rand study, you don't,” O'Reilly said dismissively. “Do you believe . . . that the ACLU primarily thinks that society . . . that we Americans have caused the crime wave and that we can't take it out on the criminal . . . . do you subscribe to that?”

Hill said, “ . . . the idea of proactive policing to me is oxymoronic. If you're at the stage where you're stopping citizens, everyday, innocent citizens, you've already gone beyond the problem . . . the way they make their job easier . . . it's to create structures to reduce crime.”

“Would you like to go back to the way it was here in New York before Giuliani came in,” O'Reilly challenged, “ . . . so the proactive policing has brought that down. It's almost like the waterboarding in a tough enhanced interrogation kept us safe after 9/11, but now you guys don't want any of that so we're going to go back to pre-9/11 security measures . . . you can't have it both ways.”

Hill insisted, “I want responsible, sensible policing . . . .”

“It is responsible and sensible!” O'Reilly cried. “There's a very low rate of police corruption here in New York and police abuse here in New York . . . .” Despite Hill's denials of this fact, O'Reilly dismissed it and continued down his liberal-bashing road, by taking one more swipe at the ACLU. “If you're going . . . you and the ACLU and all of your other left-wing friends are going to object to all of the measures that keep Americans safe . . . you're going to have more dead people.”

“We just want to protect our civil liberties, Bill,” Lemont shot back.

So in O'Reilly and Fox Newsland, even if it only results in success 5% of the time, it's worth it to stop and frisk the blacks and Latinos, despite the violation of civil liberties and despite the fact that it gives cops free rein to practice bullying on a large scale. Somehow I think O'Reilly might have a different spin on this if the cops were stopping and frisking innocent white guys in Towncars.

If you can't view the videos below, here are the links to Talking Points Memo and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill.