The Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels once said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”, “for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie”. This is exactly what is transpiring in the ongoing accusations against the San Jose Police Department of profiling, unjust and illegal drunk in public arrests of “Hispanics”. The people that are promoting this lie have never provided one shred of objective academic, sociological or validated evidence to substantiate their allegations.
They and the Mercury News only provide emotional self-serving allegations and frivolous non-objective biased statistical comparisons with other police departments. The Mercury News recently quoted an Ad Hoc task force member as saying “I believe there is a credibility and trust issue between the SJPD, the city administration and the city at large”.
“It is real, it is persistent and it is growing.” What scientific evidence does he have to support such a serious allegation? Has there been a Gallup Poll, Harris Poll or Pew Research Center survey we have not been told about? They are only offering lynch mob accusations. I have never had a friend or relative of mine tell me they do not trust the San Jose Police Department.
Again they do not provide any academic objective evidence that there is a lack of trust. An NAACP spokesperson spins arrests statistics by alleging that a recent reduction in the percentage of drunk arrests as “proof” they were right in their accusations. What statistics would proof they are wrong? If they arrest rate remained the same? If the arrest rate increased?
No doubt they would have spun the statistics and claimed any rate of arrests as proof they are right. In my opinion, these “activists” believe that if they tell this big lie enough and intimidate the politicians, they can get people to believe it. Allow me to provide a few facts to shed some light on this dark lie.
1. There is academic and medical studies that conclude that Mexican-American males have a higher rate (up to 3 times that of non-Hispanics) of alcoholism than the general population and that they have a higher rate of binge and “heavy” drinking and associated problems (which would include getting arrested for drunk in public) when they drink. There are medical studies that report that Mexican-Americans have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.
2. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the New York Police Department significantly reduced crime by enforcing “minor” offenses which included public drunkenness which helped to reduce violent crime.
3. For six years in a row San Jose had the distinction of being selected has the Safest Big City in America. Not the other cities with “less drunk in public arrests”.
4. Mercury News did not publish any information on how the other police departments arrived at their statistics. Are they using the exact same criteria that the San Jose Police Department does? Is their violent crime rate higher than San Jose? Is there a correlation? If the other police departments use sobering stations and do not count drunk in public arrestees as arrested than they would naturally have a lower arrest count. The San Jose Police Department does not have access to a sobering station.
5. What is the statistical proportion of “Hispanic” males vs. “non-Hispanic” males downtown at the times of these arrests?
6. The San Jose Police Department did have access to a sobering station in the past. People that were taken there were allowed to sober up and offered anti-alcohol abuse materials and services and released when they sobered up. They were not charged with drunk in public. However many arrestees were not allowed and had to be booked into jail because of the sobering station rules that barred certain types of drunk in public arrestees from the sobering station. A few of the rules were that arrestees would be refused by the sobering station if the arrestee was a repeat offender, violent, aggressive or threatening the staff, so drunk he could not stand or appeared medically in danger. It was my understanding that the sobering station closed because they ran out of funding. This had nothing to do with the San Jose Police Department.
7. Just because the district attorney did not file charges of drunk in public does not mean the arrest was an illegal arrest or the person was not drunk in public. If you do not believe me ask the district attorney’s office.
I’am a Mexican-American and I have spent most of my life living and working in the “Hispanic” part of town. One of the major problems that reduced the quality of life for me was having to tolerate the never-ending problem of “Hispanic” public drunks in the “Hispanic” part of town. They make life miserable for so many of my fellow “Hispanics”.
I have not conducted a scientific study but I see them daily. They are in our parking lots, sidewalks, laundry rooms and businesses. Many of them are filthy, lice ridden, have defecated in their pants and urinate in public. They harass and scare fellow “Hispanic” women and children. They scare away customers from our “Hispanic” owned businesses that are trying to make a living.
Over the years I have seen many of them arrested repeatedly for drunk in public only to be released the next day and return to the same spot drunk. Many times these same drunks repeatedly cause the fire department, paramedics and police to respond. They are so drunk the jail will not accept them. They cause us to lose the services of those emergency personnel for real emergencies. They cause highly trained police officers to be taken off the street for hours to baby-sit the drunk at the hospital until he sobers up. This means fewer officers for the “Hispanic” part of town. Yes these “Hispanic” drunks drastically reduce the quality of life for fellow “Hispanics”.
In my opinion their suggestion to place a moratorium on arresting drunks is absurd and illegal. Trying to create a baseless racial discrimination issue over drunk in public arrests insults the memory of real victims of racial discrimination. They would better benefit the “Hispanic” community by using their energy to address the issue of alcoholism in the “Hispanic” community.
This Op-Ed is written by and the opinion of Steve Ferdin.