It was a deadly holiday weekend this Fourth of July in two of Louisiana’s most populated cities. Multiple shootings in Baton Rouge injured six and killed two. In New Orleans, nine separate times gunmen opened fire, ending the lives of four. Then on Monday, a couple of other shootings left two more dead in the Crescent City.
“These incidents are unfortunate and tragic,” said NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson. “NOPD investigators are working diligently to solve each case. As always, if you see something say something.”
But few will say something. Most New Orleans’ murderers get away with it. The Washington Post reported from 2010 to 2017, nearly 7 in 10 New Orleans’ homicides resulted in no arrest. The paper also reported close to 90% of homicide victims during those years were Black. In many cases, police knew the killer’s identity but were unable to get a witness to cooperate, according to The Post.
The paper found Baton Rouge fared slightly better, with 54% of the city’s homicides resulting in arrests between 2011 and 2017. 88% of homicide victims in the capital city were Black.
According to a New York Times report Monday, New Orleans has the third-highest increase in homicides in the nation of the cities the paper looked at. Homicides are up 36% in New Orleans this year.
On Friday, before the deadly Fourth of July weekend, The Advocate reported homicides are up 40% from this time last year in East Baton Rouge Parish. That means Baton Rouge had the second-highest increase in homicides in the nation. Both Louisiana cities saw an increase in homicides greater than Chicago’s 34%.
I’m disappointed in these numbers. June was one of our worst months,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul. “I am worried.”
Shootings were up this past holiday weekend in other big cities. In Chicago, 70 were shot, killing 17. A 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were among the dead. In New York City, six more children were killed in a series of shootings.
In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp dispatched National Guard troops to Atlanta after a series of shootings injured 31, killing 5 over the holiday weekend.
“This lawlessness must be stopped, and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first,” said Kemp.
Eight-year-old Secoriea Turner was one of the Atlanta fatalities. She was shot Saturday night after two gunmen opened fire on the car in which she was riding. They shot at her car after it drove through illegal barricades set up by protesters near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police.
“You can’t blame this on a police officer. You shot and killed a baby,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat. “We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force. If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement then we can’t lose each other in this.”
As of June 22, The Washington Post database showed police shot and killed 14 unarmed Black suspects and 25 unarmed White ones in 2019. The number of unarmed Blacks’ shot is down 63% from 2015. The 14 unarmed fatal shootings of Blacks represent only 0.2% of the 7,300 African Americans killed by a gun in 2019.
“If put into perspective the data on police-involved shootings, it does not fit the narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Attorney General William Barr, a Republican.
There are, of course, problems with police abuses that are not captured in the shooting statistics, and we need to listen when Black men like Republican Sen. Tim Scott, of South Carolina, say they have been targeted by police, even at the U.S. Capitol.
Still, the anti-police narrative so prominent these days is not without consequence. Common sense would dictate the unfair rap makes the job of being a cop even that much tougher. It’s not like anyone’s getting rich being a cop. The job’s dangerous, thankless, and often comes with abuse, disrespect and ridicule from an untrusting public.
Whatever happened to the days where the cops were the good guys? Most still are.
Email Dan Fagan at Faganshow@gmail.com