Thursday, October 21, 2021

Cory A. Haywood: White Privilege Makes Poor Neighborhoods Dangerous

White Privilege is the problem (Getty)
Protesters march against racism in Brooklyn in 2020 / Getty

*Over the last decade, a new problem has developed in California. Rich, white people, wanting to ease their conscience have been hiring lobbyists and special interests to pass laws that reduce criminal punishment. It has resulted in what we see every day, repeat violent criminal offenders being charged with lesser crimes, the reclassification of violent felonies, eliminating bail to keep dangerous people on the street, and the lack of prosecution of those that commit crimes

These wealthy elites call this criminal justice reform. But what they fail to understand is that hard-core criminals are not being released into their gated communities behind the hedges of wealth. They are released back into our neighborhoods, where crime is on the rise, good people are scared, and now trapped.

These people of privilege in their multi-million-dollar homes behind gates and walls are destroying urban communities by supporting policies that make communities of color less safe and rob families of justice.

Politico recently highlighted four wealthy white women—Patty Quillin, Quinn Delaney, Elizabeth Simons, and Kaitlyn Krieger— who with their large amounts of money are fueling the overhaul of California’s criminal justice system like Proposition 47, zero bail, and funding the campaigns of nation’s most liberal district attorneys.

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Proposition 47 reclassifies certain offenses. It ensured that criminals stealing less than $950 can only be charged with a misdemeanor, no matter how much theft they commit within a 24-hours.

You’ve seen the viral video online of two men brazenly walking out of a TJ Maxx with the merchandise they stole in broad daylight. Comedian Adam Carolla tweeted the video on July 21 with the caption, “Thanks to Prop 47, thefts under $950 will not be prosecuted, so cops will not bother showing up. Just a reminder that you get what you voted for, California!”

The Los Angeles Times found that Prop 47 “downgraded drug possession and some theft crimes to misdemeanors, made good on its pledge to reduce prison and jail populations by thousands of inmates.” But people like Semisi Sina has “kept sheriff’s deputies busy in the last year. He has racked up 16 arrests. And he says a new law has made it easier for him to commit crimes.” “‘Now, you can get away with it because of Proposition 47,’ Sina said recently in an interview at his parents’ home.”

And where do these people go when these policies turn them loose? They don’t go to the mansions. They go back to their old neighborhoods. The good people in those neighborhoods who don’t have the wealth and means to move their families someplace safer must live under these criminal’s thumb.

In conjunction with criminal justice supporters who want zero bail—which reset the bail amount to $0 for people arrested for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies—you have the perfect blend for crime increases.

For example, a story from ABC News shows one criminal suspect, Dijon Landrum, was arrested three times within a 12-hours under the state’s zero bail policy. Each time, he was arrested, issued a citation, and promptly released.

The California Judicial Council, headed by the California Supreme Justice, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, found that of the out of 2,779 individuals who were released with some level of supervision, 30% (841) failed to appear for trial, and 40% (1,108) were arrested for a new offense between the time of their release and their scheduled court date.

The progressive push from Quillin, Delaney, Simons, and Krieger also helped elect some of the most liberal district attorneys in the United States. The four donors spent $3.7 million alone to elect Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. He rode the social justice wave that swept over America last summer to unseat incumbent Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey in November.

And guess what? Gascón is now dealing with a recall effort from crime victims saying his policies have abandoned them, and he even faces lawsuits from his prosecutors.

Gascón decision to forbid his prosecutors from alleging special circumstances in murder cases stops murder suspects from facing the death penalty or life without parole. This leaves people like Tania Owen, the widow of a murdered police sergeant, or Desiree Andrade, whose son was killed, feeling betrayed, angry, and with no closure.

What’s contributing to this increase and pain? Laws like Prop 47, zero bail, and white privilege.

I am sure when these wealthy women go to their book club meetings or the private country club, as they sip on their champagne, they brag about how much money they are investing to “help the poor Blacks and Latinos.”

The ego-driven, self-important work these four women have done with criminal rights has left a cascade of murders, shattered families, rising homicides and crime rates, and an ever-growing homeless population. For many in our minority communities, we now have a vicious cycle of crime, heartache, and poverty. And we have law-abiding citizens trapped in their own homes, unable to leave.

Cory Haywood
Cory A. Haywood

Cory A. Haywood is a Southern California based writer. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blog: www.enterthehat.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood

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