Model this New York City police force

Last night, and some previous nights, many storefronts in Manhattan were trashed, there was looting in Soho, or how about this description from Rachel Olding at The Daily Beast?:

Hard to describe how rampant the looting was tonight in Midtown Manhattan and how lawless it was. Complete anarchy. Literally hundreds of stores up and down Broadway, Fifth Ave, Sixth Ave. Kids ruling the streets like it was a party.

Now, those are among the most visible and “high value” spots in the whole city and the NYPD has over 38,000 police to draw upon.  So what is the best model of why all that trouble happened and indeed was allowed to happen?  I see a few candidates:

1. Those police are not sufficiently well trained.

2. Those police are trained but they are afraid of confronting protestors and so they don’t do it.

3. The mayor de facto doesn’t want the police to be too involved, as that might be unpopular with swing voters in the primaries or even the general election.

4. The police union insists, de facto, that not many police be sent directly into such confrontations.

5. There is a general lack of accountability, and so there is failure at multiple levels, and so many good things simply do not happen, but for reasons which are not always entirely concrete.

6. The police do not have the right technology to handle these kinds of problems.

Which is it, and which other hypotheses am I neglecting?

As a more general observation, if this problem cannot be solved, complaining about Trump holding the Bible and the tear gas on the way to the church ultimately will fall upon deaf ears.  Ultimately the American public are not going to side against “the thin blue line” (i.e., the police), so to win all those important civil liberties victories you also need the police doing the proper job effectively. Maybe I picked the wrong Google terms but “why didn’t New York police stop rioters” does not in fact yield anything substantive on the question I am asking.  How can that be?  While you’re at it, model that too!

Addendum: One reader hypothesis is to send a signal to the mayor for criticizing them. Another is here: “Similar to Baltimore, the police in Minneapolis will make it clear that looting and widespread private property destruction will be tolerated for the remainder of the protests as a way to conflate protesters and looters and “teach a lesson to” their liberal civilian bosses


3, 4, and 5.

3,4 Protesters still vote when it is all over.

He was able to achieve his goal of winning $20,000 from
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after a riot in meester rogers neighborhood(over-rated)
the first thing fred would do is find out -what were the orders given to the police. then meester rogers would be able to test Dr. Cowens theories we are unable to assess the police performance unless we
know what their orders were.

Maybe 3, but not 4 or 5.

I love how white people categorized the marginalize as “looting” but when white people loot continents and build an empire off the backs of poor people, their preferred term is “freedom fighters” and "discoverers."

After 400 years of looting black bodies they have decided to stand up for once and are merely reclaiming what is owed to them.

I can't find the original, but Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones hits the nail on the head when she suggested that "“And so when we think about someone taking an act to take something from some big box name store, it is symbolic,” she said. “That one pair of shoes that you’ve stolen from Foot Locker is not going to change your life. But it is a symbolic taking.”

This gets at the heart of the pyschological underpinnings of what is happnening. If you can't see that this is about something bigger, than you're lost.

we noticed you girls never wanna talk about the arson

In LA, I've seen arson used as a cover for looting. They loot, and burn on the way out, which uses up more police forces and chaos. Meanwhile, the looters are on to the next store where the police are not located.

This. Saw it, too. The arson is done to distract resources.

You are making a big mistake if you conflate looters with protesters.

+1 postmodern&grandiose
the writer claims if we don't believe a riot is actually a bigger issue (shoe fantasy) then we are "lost"

Civil unrest is a part of the democratic process, so the rioting may be a good thing. It’s still looting though, when viewed through the lens of American law. Just like Floyd’s death was murder.

If you think that people should be able to create their own law based on being victimized, you’re probably not considering the unintended consequences. Really what we need is a change in police culture. Apparently, the unions are too strong so officers like the one that murdered Floyd can have 15+ complaints and still lead lynchings in daylight.

Looting and breaking stuff is small consolation. It just lets people get it out of their system. It doesn’t lead to substantive change. It just makes people feel better until the next victim.

Truly, it is a poorly coordinated response that won’t result in any change. I’d rather have social change than a TV I show off to my friends, “we got it over on them!” ... as more die from police brutality because of a racist police culture.

Ask organizational psychologists how to change culture, and then implement the changes ruthlessly. Rioting might be a start or it might be expensive in the opportunity cost of a precious sort of energy fueled from the murders.

> Civil unrest is a part of the democratic process, so the rioting may be a good thing.

Historically, rioting is a lot of fun as long as its not your city. From Ferguson to Baltimore, things are worse for the residents after the riots. Baltimore residents have seen murder rates jump 50% since 2015, and they aren't coming down. An extra 100 kids per year are gunned down by other kids since 2015. Not cops. Other kids.

Protesters rioted over the life of one, and in return they have gained 500 additional deaths in the years since. Property values have plummeted, stores never rebuilt and stores have left.

If you had a threadbare selection for shopping in 2014, it's much, much worse in 2020 in these places.

Do you think there are more or less resources for marginalized people in a city that has suffered riots? Less. A lot less.

Rich people love riots--feels so empowering! But only when it's not your city. Riots are devastating for cities that are already struggling. But hey, it gives Nike a change to say "We're with you" in commercials. And rich people love that too.

In the link below, look at the difference in a tweet from a former ESPN writer. When it's someone else's building, he loves the cause: "Burn that shit down! Burn it all down!". But 2 days later when they are climbing over the gates in his neighborhood, it's a totally different story "Get these animals TF out of my neighborhood. Go back to where you live"

As if Arabs, Asians, Africans, and Native Americans did not invade their neighbor's space, plundering their goods and enslaving them.

This. Plus this "white people" claim is highly racist and dumb? Which Africans did all the slavic people exploit? Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, and Ukrainian people did not do any significant African colonisation. Scandinavian, Austrian-Hungarian and Swiss colonisation of Africa was really insignificant. Even German and Italian colonisation of Africa was super short and cost Germany more than Germany benefitted. So at the end it with just the English (remember the Irish, Scotting and Welsh were colonised by the English), Belgians, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, French. But then for the latter three I could do the same Spiel as the people who say "white people colonised": these countries got colonised for hundreds of years by Africans, so they were just defending themselves. So you end up only with the English, Dutch and Belgium. Which are not more than 5% of the European people. Why say all "white people", i.e. implying Europeans?

7. Police Safety. There is safety in numbers, especially with multiple cases of police cruisers being blocked in and destroyed. Police are clumping up at rally points, leaving coverage very high in specific points, but non-existent in places that were typically patrolled.

This was a strategy developed when looters ran with the marchers. Looters changed tactics and want the police following marchers so they can loot somewhere else. took awhile for police to react, at least in Los Angeles.

You are making a big mistake if you conflate looters with protesters.

Yes. 7) Police Safety is correct.
It is a variation of hypothesis 2.

I saw a riot several years ago in a university town. A few hundred people were standing around drinking beers. Police surrounded the group. One idiot from the crowd climbed onto a wood fence and started destroying it. The police should have sent in a group of four cops to arrest this idiot who didn’t have support from the crowd. But they didn’t act. On the other side of the crowd, a zealous cop waded into the crowd swinging his baton wildly. He clubbed an innocent girl who didn’t run away fast enough. This turned the crowd against the police. They threw rocks, cans, and bottles at the police. Police tear gassed the crowd and everyone went home.

Contrast this with the effective crowd control techniques I observed at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Police formed groups of four and mixed in with the crowd. Violence and destruction of property was dealt with immediately, and the offender was handcuffed and arrested. The police did not surround the crowd and remain outside of it, which can cause an us against them mentality.

Police need to be in groups for safety but the groups should be small and spread out to stop violence and looting before it starts.

Police who have been isolated from the group in Chicago have been attacked by the mob

I live in NYC and work for the city. I believe the answer is 5, and possibly others as well (especially 3).


Checked on our apt today. Entire block is smashed to sh*t. It’s 5. With a bit of 3 mixed in

The police are clearly not afraid of confronting protestors (lots of evidence of this), because the protestors are anti-police. The police realize that looting and lawlessness will raise the status of the police, so they will confront protestors, but allow a certain amount of looting to happen, to encourage people who are on the fence to call for more policing.

That's a great point. Furthermore, In terms of incentives, police collectively benefit from failing to control the looting, whether it is their concious decision or not.

I saw a similar point elsewhere, and think this could be a factor, but also wonder to what extent it might backfire. "..the police cant even stop the looting, why are we letting them beat up protesters" or alternatively, "why are they *beating up protesters* when there is all this looting going on?"

7. They want the public to see these "high value" things been destroyed to justify a draconian response later.

this and 3, which are very close

Another potential factor - The store owners are not pushing hard to be protected. Many of the ransacked stores are owned by major national / multinational corporations (Microsoft, Nike, Macy's). They are insured against this type of damage. They are terrified of being perceived as racist / anti protester and so they don't want to be seen pushing the police for the protection. If they complain about the looting they fear people will think they care more about a pair of shoes than the lives of black people.

Nike has no reason to complain about its store in NYC being ransacked, since it has been siding with social justice warriors for some time.

You are making a big mistake if you conflate looters with protesters.

"They are insured against this type of damage."

Are you sure, my guess is the insurance companies have a clause against insurrections and riots and in any case large corporations, self insure to a certain extent.

" They are terrified of being perceived as racist / anti protester"

This seems more likely. It's better for a large corporation to take a small hit than the PR damage. A smaller business owner may well be wiped out of course, if his insurance policy doesn't cover damage from riots.

From this link it appears that businesses are covered if they have loss of income coverage, which is:

"Only 40% of businesses have business interruption coverage through a standalone policy or BOP, and 44% of small businesses have never had insurance"

Most of these national chains and high end stores would have coverage for rioting, but they're still taking a lot of the risk themselves. First, they may have a substantial deductible and second, their rates will increase next year. The insurance helps smooth the risk more than it transfers the risk.

Did you read Kyle Smith in NR this morning? How about #8: It is time for brick-and-mortar to turn physical assets into insurance checks and get out of town.

Nope, riots are covered by insurance.

It is convenient to cash an insurance check and maybe get out early of a leasing contract. After all, the store has been closed for some weeks. Why not take the cash and run away?

State can designate anything they want. Insurance possibilities specifically exclude damages consequent from riding, war, and civil unrest. One can buy policies for those events, but they are quite expensive as unlike a natural disaster it is very hard to estimate the risk.
In any case, Insurance is not free stuff that falls from the sky. Time, skills, and materials from many different people have to be put into the job of repairing the vandalized structures and replacing the goods, which may be looted again. All of that effort is just to get back to the pre-riot condition, not to create any new goods.
Insurance checks don’t create more specialized skills, more hours in a day, or more of scarce and unique materials.

There isn't a market for law enforcement in New York right now. The mayor doesn't want it, the stores don't want it, the media don't want it, perhaps the median voter doesn't want it yet. The police know that tastes are cyclical and expect anarchy to go out of style. Until then, might as well close up shop for a bit.

Of course, locals want it and locally-owned businesses want it, but that is completely overwhelmed by police heavily gaining from "look at the rioters they really demonstrated why we need cops" headlines

You missed 6, pretty obvious. The police hate de Blasio and are trying to maintain power for the police union. Looting adds support for them.

Came here to say a version of this. Looters make them look good and build sympathy for their side.

I was going to say that perhaps after seeing a police station burn in Minnesota the NYPD prioritized protecting their own property over the rest of the city, but you may be on to something here.

Yep, unions are the issue here.

Unions are also the issue with sending covid+ to nursing homes. The unions wanted the revenue.

Why go out on a limb to confront looters--whose looting will be rationalized much more than crime committed during more normal periods--when the mayor doesn't have your back?

There is also bad blood between de Blasio and Cuomo.

The excuse for all this violence is that a cop used too much force. So naturally, here comes Tyler to ask why NY cops are disinclined to use force. Sigh.

And by the way, to the morons who predicted Floyd would be found to have meth in his system: He had fentanyl AND meth in his system. Nice try, haters.

That cop is going to jail for manslaughter. Fact.

In a fair trial, it probably would mean he won't go to jail. Here is the question that any competent trial attorney is going to ask any medical examiner testifying- "Can you assure us beyond reasonable doubt that Floyd would have died if they had just gotten him into the police cruiser the first time?" From the published reports, the answer is going to be, "No, I can assure you of that."

That being said, Chauvin is going to be convicted one way or another. It will take an appeals court to eventually free him.

Groucho comes to mind - Men and women of the jury, who are you going to believe, a highly paid defense lawyer, or your lying eyes after watching that video?

He's going down for manslaughter. If not, it's another OJ-style miscarriage of justice, and the riots after will be 10x today.

Yancey probably thinks OJ did it but this cop did nothing wrong.

This guy is half right. The next set of riots will be 10x as bad as this one, especially given that they will happen after Trump's inevitable re-election.

There's about a 50% chance the cop gets off completely given that Floyd was on fentanyl (which shuts down your breathing). And there's about a 40% chance he gets a slap on the wrist. There's about a 10% chance he gets significant jail time -- but even then, the AssHats of the world will declare it "not enough."

Riots Round 2 are a given, children.

Wow he actually was on those drugs. I think you're right that there is actually a chance the cop gets off... which is very very bad news for American cities.

The good news is I saw a snapchat video today of black chicks in NYC holding a sidewalk sale of looted goods. Made me laugh and be proud that even after the world ends, capitalism will always reign.

Is there no travesty, no stupid war, no unconstitutional SC judge blocking, no obvious police misconduct that can make your side say "ok, yeah, that was a mistake"

It's so obvious that this cop (and his supporting officers) fucked this up, They did. That's bad policing, and it's all on video. This guy is going to jail, as he should. It's not murder. Through total incompetence, someone died. That's the definition of manslaughter.

if he's guilty of anything or not, he must be sacrificed to satiate the blood lust of the crowd.

He's obviously guilty of manslaughter. Not any other way to see it. All he had to do was get off his neck.

I’m not sure what Yancey is arguing, but the official autopsy says he didn’t die of strangulation and suggested it was heart failure, which the defense may argue was already in progress (Floyd collapsed prior to Chauvin putting his knee on his neck). If they can make a reasonable case that 1) it was his heart condition and not strangulation (which seems likely) and 2) that the cardiac arrest wasn’t induced by Chauvin but already in progress, then yeah, they’ve got a case that one can’t attribute death to Chauvin beyond reasonable doubt.

Mind you, I’d still expect him to be convicted of a lesser charge like assault (I’m not sure what all they’re charging him with). I would not want to be on that jury. If indeed there is a real possibility that the evidence doesn’t justify a murder manslaughter conviction, they face the decision of whether convict him anyway to save the country from another round of probably way worse riots. If the 92 LA riots after that acquittal are a premonition, then it may not seem worth the cost in human lives to be principled in one’s verdict in that scenario.

Terrible, awful, criminally negligent policing, all on tape. That guy is going to jail, as he should.

Well then! That's great! Talk about justice!

Sounds like we can call off all this rioting and murder then, eh?

I agree we should call off the rioting.

I believe it’s multifactorial but indeed the cops are presently in a no win situation. You cannot stop a determined group of people without projecting more force than the group is willing to face. I’m not saying they should project that force but their is no manic wand that “stops” a riot without doing so.

This seems to rely on an error of composition. Some protesters are rioters, and some rioters, are looters, but the groups are not identical.
Some protesters are willing to stand up to force, as are most rioters, but not looters. The looters are there to "get paid" and get out, and will not stand up to any police presence.

7. Protecting businesses is a secondary priority for police compared to corralling protestors. I have heard in my area that the police were all deployed around the main mass of peaceful protestors and the looting actually began a few blocks away. The police continued focusing on where the massed protest was and not where the looting was.

The lack of explicit orders to shot to kill when looting occurs is a breach of the social contract.

This "we live in a society" bullcrap is used to justify coercion and redistribution and spending beyond for the common good, but when push comes to show, politicians are too afraid of their image to order justice, which is to decide my small store, which is my livelihood is worth more than the life of someone who is ready to destroy my livelihood.

This leads to mass violence and anarchy. And more colloquially, this is an asshole thing to say.

It’s not wrong though. Central to the libertarian critique is that all laws are ultimately enforced with guns. I hope you would agree that at some point the riots MUST be stopped because they are inflicting unacceptable damage to social resources.

If I have a choice between rampant looting and machine gunning looters, I start to favor arbitrary levels of violence against the looters relatively quickly in the grand scheme. Perhaps we’re not there yet, but somewhere between people attacking my family and burning my car I start thinking send tanks and shoot anything that moves is the right response. That has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the protestor’s complaint.

Now you added "attacking my family". No doubt you should protect that, and use violence if necessary.

I was responding to Viking's 'my livelihood is more important than your life'. If that position was adopted, everyone's life is worth less than property, so killing you for property is justified. Just my livelihood I am enhancing by taking yours.

Sure, the looting has to be stopped. I strongly support the Los Angeles police new tactics to thinly watch protests and go after looters. It is still hard, due to the 'fog of war' issues, so will take a while.

I just object to the obnoxious 'shoot them all'. I understand the sorrow at the stores ruined and jobs lost, and the visceral thrill of 'getting the bad guys'. But civilization exists only when those instincts are reigned in. It costs some property, some livelihoods, and some heartache--devastating to those affected. You will not have a free society if you take the measures needed to stop it from happening at all. Nor a society worth living in as all its resources go to police.

And that is the generative seed for people with the position 'let's fix the cause of this desire to 'burn it down', the cause of the amoral glee at looting.' I see a lot of wasted time and effort in those regards, but I understand the effort.

And please appreciate the irony of someone saying 'I can kill you to protect my livelihood' when one might consider the protests efforts to protect one's life at all---who is really in the superior position?

The distinction between killing people to protect property acquired through normal economic activity and property you are seeking to steal is obvious, so this argument:
"If that position was adopted, everyone's life is worth less than property, so killing you for property is justified. Just my livelihood I am enhancing by taking yours" is nonsensical or in bad faith. You can obviously take a position that it's fine to shoot as many people as necessary to protect legitimately acquired property and illegitimate to shoot anyone to steal from them (which is in fact something close to my position with the proviso that the property I would protect with guns is less than any property at all but more than no property whatever).

As to the rest, mob rule is a tyranny as sure as any other. I agree there is a balancing point between fascism and anarchy, but if you've ever lived in or visited countries with too little public order being provisioned by the state, it seems difficult to imagine you think that the real inequities of American life are worse than being ruled by rival gangs or moderately wealthy people needing to buy armored cars and pay private security contractors to walk around the streets with them.

"Maybe I picked the wrong Google terms but “why didn’t New York police stop rioters” does not in fact yield anything substantive on the question I am asking. How can that be? "

Try Bing, the results are not the same.

Duck Duck Go also has much better result than Google.

That is interesting.

Remember when tens of thousands were injured by cops, illegally detained, and murdered during Occupy?

How about back during the 'Nam era?

Don't worry, nobody in my friend group remembers any of it either.

America is a police state. We have been for some time. The cops are planting bricks in areas to get necessary amounts of looting to justify future shootings. One hand washes the other. The stock market goes up.

I'd like to believe the right is secretly assisting the radical left in order to discredit the moderate left. But history shows that the left reliably makes worst possible tactical moves all by themselves.

"The cops are planting bricks in areas to get necessary amounts of looting to justify future shootings. "

This is bizarro conspiracy land commentary.

Agree with JWatts. Please apply same reassonable standard to the bizarro conspiracy theories coming the other way.

The alternate explanation is that the police are confronting the large groups of protestors and this is being done by other groups, basically the criminal equivalent of a flash mob.

'The alternate explanation is that the police are confronting the large groups of protestors"
But why would police need to 'confront' protestors? It is perfectly OK to protest... that is in the Bill of Rights even ahead of gun rights. If the cops feel they have to 'confront' protestors, then I think the problem is defined right there.

Saying that the protesters are different from the looters doesn't answer why the police didn't stop the looters.

the protester/looter dichotomy is a postmodern sociology scam
looters protest& some protestors loot

Your comments are batting .000

+1 nice mixed metaphor
-for 50 years the liberal left has been shrieking
by any means necessary & defended looting, monkeywrenching& arson as political protest
-are you seriously claiming leftist looters/protestors do not rationalize property damage as political protest?

"Saying that the protesters are different from the looters doesn't answer why the police didn't stop the looters."
But that's nothing to do with the point I made. It's that the cops see the protestors as 'enemies'.
As for your question - in the case of Minneapolis it is because they were overmatched on the early nights. The State admitted this. The governor criticized the mayor for 'giving up the police station' and came out a day later to eat crow after he had promised that the State was going to 'take control'... and couldn't.

Imperfect information and coordination of action problems are other plausible issues.

+1, best response so far

A policeman who acts responsibly cannot expect support from those in authority over him if his actions are later judged contrary to fashionable thinking.

"Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) said Monday he has fired Police Chief Steve Conrad after the police-involved killing of a local restaurateur overnight Monday.

David McAtee, the owner of a Louisville barbecue restaurant, was shot and killed amid what Louisville officials said was an exchange of gunfire near an intersection after midnight Monday that involved metro police and members of the Kentucky National Guard.

Fischer said multiple investigations are underway into McAtee’s killing, and that he fired the city’s police chief upon learning that the police officers involved in the shooting had not activated their body cameras.

“This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said during a Monday afternoon news conference. Deputy police chief Robert Schroeder would assume duty as interim chief, he added.

Or like this as a counter example from the same article, which is what prompted much of the Louisville protests - "McAtee’s death comes two months after Louisville police officers shot and killed another black resident, Breonna Taylor, 26, as she slept in her bed, after the officers burst into the home to execute what city officials call a “no-knock” warrant.

At Monday’s news conference, Bashear invited Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, to the lectern where she called for justice, but not violence.

“I don’t think I’m asking for too much. Just justice for her,” Palmer said.

Taylor’s family is still calling for the officers who shot her to be fired and face charges — an absence of accountability that residents said has added fuel to the anger over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, and McAtee’s on Monday."

American policing is comparable to the American health care system in effectiveness and efficiency.

>American policing is comparable to the American health care system in effectiveness and efficiency.

You'd say world class and leading in many categories, to include capacity?

Because he would never say say world class, finding America's health care system basically worse than the NHS. Or a health care system that makes even the NHS look good. Not to speak for him, but his comments over the years are not exactly Straussian in this regard.

Prior's response proves dearieme's point: the trolls will always try to distort what the public hears, by lumping good policing together with the bad.

Tell that to the Louisville protesters, who have little problem recognizing how the Louisville police killed an EMT asleep in her bed or local business owners next to their restaurant.

One business owner, to be accurate.

I love how a guy selling food without a permit out of the trunk of his car suddenly becomes a "beloved Louisville restaurateur" and "owner" of a "popular local BBQ restaurant." The only Louisville restaurant without a Yelp entry.

I think health care is the wrong comp. Public schools seems like a better analogy.

So true.

But more likely this is (3) combined with no pushback from the police due to their hatred of De Blasio. You can’t expect the police to risk anything for the explicitly anti police mayor.

The American public may remain on the side of law and order, but that simply means they will not re-elect a malignant buffoon to cower in a bunker before holding up a Bible right after the tear gas clouds clear.

People can see for themselves what sort of leader Trump is, and even Republican governors like Hogan don't want anything to with him.

Or Arlington County police, for that matter, as reported by WaPo - "Arlington County officers who were supporting Park Police at Lafayette Square were ordered to leave downtown after county officials realized they had been a part of what they called a presidential publicity stunt.

“The mutual aid agreement is not put in place to allow for a blatantly political act,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “Crowd control is a far cry from assisting someone to stand in front of a church.”

"A new poll shows a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans who think that in dangerous and difficult situations, police officers are more likely to use excessive force against black people than white people.

The Monmouth University survey finds that 57 percent of Americans today believe police are more likely to use excessive force against blacks. That represents an increase from the 34 percent of registered voters who said the same in 2016 following the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and the 33 percent who said so in 2014 after a grand jury did not indict a New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

Roughly half of white respondents say police are more likely to use excessive force against black people, up from 25 percent who said this in 2016. Majorities of both Democrats and independents now say so, also showing increases of more than 20 points from 2016. The view increased among Republicans from 11 percent to 24 percent, though they are least likely to view police as using excessive force more often against blacks."

They are opinion polls and worthless.

And in a few years, the polls will show they want more police presence because things got out of hand the other way.

Some are in love with the 60s, But are bringing on the 70s.

And it was pre-planned and funded.

The mafia seems like an attractive alternative security force in this equilibrium.

7. They are still outmanned and so cannot be everywhere. Yes you mentioned they have 38,000 but in a city of millions that's not enough to make a difference.

This is the best answer.
I'm reminded of when my street flooded a few years ago after 16 inches of rain. You could ask why the storm sewer system didn't handle it better, but the reality is it was never designed for a deluge of that magnitude.

Great analogy. 38,000 is not a big number in the context of NYC. Also the police may just be exhausted. And those looters are young men who can run fast.

This is a big thing that people don't realize. If you are a cop right now, you are completely exhausted. Possibly battling PTSD from all this.

Agree. And, it is hard to coordinate resources when there are many existing and potential fronts.

I mean, i know nothing about crowd control, but since this is a comment section...are there *that* many looters? What if they swept down 5th avenue firing tear gas and and rubber bullets? Would that quell any of the looting? Block by block? Street by street? Most of them will disperse. Some will be caught.

The Metropolitan Police in London have a similar size force covering a similar population.

They had a lot of difficulty stopping looting during the riots of 2011.

Tackling individual outbreaks of disorder requires a large group of officers to be gathered.

Small groups of officers confronting looters can rapidly find themselves in a riot.

The police also need to stay in a cohesive group whereas looters (unlike protestors) can readily disperse and operate in small groups.

The officers that are on active duty at any given time won't go very far if they're forces to operate in groups of 50.

The best answer IMO is "fog of war" again.

I'll take the starting position that "most people are good," and that includes both police and protesters. But in the situation, everybody gets confused, even if they are trying to do the right thing. This little clip from Van Nuys illustrates it nicely/sadly:

People trying to do the right thing, and just suffering adrenaline rush and information overload at the same time.

Trying to do the right thing by setting buildings on fire and looting.


I really wonder where you're coming from..

Are you feeling so emotional that that's the best you can do?

Or are you consciously trying to divide the nation by spinning things in the worst possible direction?

Obviously even when most people are good there can be bad apples on either side.

Emotional? Nah, just simply incredulous about the naïveté.

Looting, burning, and smashing. Not one of these has anything to do with police violence, other than it provides an excuse and decreases the likelihood of being caught to zero.

What happens when you reduce the cost of looting to zero? Follow the demand curve....

If anyone was actually concerned about police violence there would be liberal city mayors and state governors actively discussing eliminating police unions and qualified immunity.

Hypothesis: on January 1st, 2021, no major city or state government will have eliminated police unions.

Public Choice wins again.

I said most people, on both sides, are good.

You are making the very emotional counter-argument that bad things still happen.

You don't need any newfangled theories of public choice to understand that. It is as old as the world.

Yes, most people, police and protester, left and right, can be mostly good. And bad things can happen because it doesn't take that many spoilers.

Now, in your comments do you really think you are a helper?

Skeptical, are you saying the actual policemen and women do not want to be in a union? Are they not allowed the same rights as other workers?

It is just an arbitrary litmus test.

I say most people are good, including policeman, and Skeptical comes back to say no liberals are bad, especially if they won't do things that I want them to do.

Liberals are bad if they won't implement my laundry list.

I was simply asking about his suggestion that police unions be made illegal.

Unions are one thing. Unions that protect the knee cop and the other oft-disciplined officer in the foursome that killed George Floyd are another.

If those two officers had been fired years ago, as they should have been, one man still would be alive and the members of the local police force would have a better sense of the parameters of appropriate behavior. Minneapolis would not have been looted and burned.

Unions of professionals -- cops, teachers -- do their members no favors when they cover for abusers or incompetents in their midst.

Note that Brooklyn -- where there has been more protesting than Manhattan -- has essentially no looting but a huge police presence. This suggests that the police are focusing on the protestors rather than the looters. That is because the police do not view their job as defending property or lives but rather as countering the message and aims of the protestors.

Fox Butterworth anyone? Occam's Razor suggests there's no looting because the police are there, not the other way around.

?? i live in bklyn. Don't make it too complicated. Residential vs commercial property. Home owner/tax payer vs anonymous insured corporate. Why did the robber rob a bank? Cause that's where the money is.

Brooklyn has commercial neighborhoods, they haven't been looted. I walked down Fulton Street, Brooklyn's very highest rent commercial area, this morning, and every store was intact. No glass was smashed.

Yes, you could say, the looters loot where police aren't, but this has been a pattern now across multiple nights -- the looters last night started just where the looters left off the night before. Plus, there were, in theory, twice as many police on the street. Surely if they had wanted to stop looting, they could have made an educated guess about where the looters were going to be!

The large number of protestors have drained police resources making preventing the looters impossible. In many cases trying to identify the looters from protestors isn't easy. In others the looters are mobile and able to fight a guerrilla war. And attempts to stop suspects without clear evidence brings negative consequences for the police. They become more cautious.

Police are neglecting to protect high value locations to increase bargaining power with the public - "look what happens when we don't protect you". This is why #4 is occurring. It also is a result of #5.

"This is what happens when you don't let us 'do our job'" is exactly the message. See also the "work slowdown" in Baltimore following the Freddie Gray protests. The police want to blur the line between police misconduct and legitimate police action and claim that you can't have the latter without tolerating the former.

Wasn't there a problem when the police went on strike in the 1919 in Boston and effectively destroyed the city, which forced Boston and the federal government to institute bans for police striking?

Same thing here. Ban the unions.

2* and 4, with a caveat - the police aren't afraid of protesters, but maybe are worried about aggressively confronting looters. Protesters are generally unarmed and run or offer passive resistance when challenged, so it's safer for the police to move on them. Looters are more willing to use force or carry weapons; it's more dangerous for police to go after them. Police and their representatives prefer to prioritize their personal safety over confronting looters who might fight back.

Good distinction there: the difference in cops confronting protesters vs. how they confront looters. I watched a number of instances here in Minneapolis of the cops letting loose with the gas and rubber bullets on non-violent crowds as a means of 'moving' them. If not for having the State Patrol involved (which generally behaved much better) we'd have had some disasters.
In this city we have an entrenched police federation which openly encourages cops to defy orders of the mayor and the police chief and we have not had the balls to root them out. So now we have a burned precinct station.
Can there possibly be any clearer sign that you are not serving the community than to have them burn you out????

The police deal with violent criminals every day. The protestors are privileged white liberals who act like school yard bullies confronting police in a way that hey would never have the balls to attack a stranger on the street. The protestors are a drain on resources that a violent element mixes in with to cause havoc. Children acting out.

"Privileged white liberals"?

You have not been in these protests. At least not in Los Angeles.

Police use of force in complicated situations is a political decision. In a polity in which any moron on the street might be armed, there is some judgment that savings lives - whether those of the police or protesters or observers - is more important than saving property. Makes no difference whether you call it pragmatic or high-minded. Police clearly have no problem using excessive force when they know they are in control - that is what the protests are about. Some of us remember Chicago '68, and that did not enhance the image of the Chicago police. You remember the Bundy standoff in Oregon - not the police, the feds, but why use excessive force when all that will do is enflame, particularly if (as is likely) someone is killed? Occasionally it is good to remember that having power means not having to use it. Once you use it, you are on equal terms with the other side. There are plenty of tools available for control of mobs - water cannon, pepper spray, rubber bullets. Those and more were used in the US and in Hong Kong in the last year. Just what exactly would you propose the police do?

"complaining about Trump holding the Bible and the tear gas on the way to the church ultimately will fall upon deaf ears."

This is why Tyler is not a multi-billionaire as head of his own trillion dollar social media empire. Stupidity spreading on the internet is wildly and disgustingly profitable. Having a serious discussion only wins the admiration of autistic dorks on MR.

You tell us that ultimately, Americans will side with the thin blue line and reelect Trump if the crisis gets big enough. Doesn't that provide an answer to your question?

It is in the interest of the existing political structure, both elected officials and police, to conflate daylight peaceful protesters with night time looting mobs. And as the number of peaceful protests grow world wide against America's thin blue line, it becomes ever more urgent to have the looters become the focus of media reporting. The problem till now being that having the police shoot and beat and arrest journalists is not helping the story line get the proper resonance..

This says he's wrong, and most Americans see through pumping protest to excite the base:

I'm sure with state television he could make it work. But we don't have state television.

And it should worry Tyler and you that it has come down to that.

I meant that as an answer to "Zuck" above.

There is nothing, short of shooting people, that police can do to contain the rage of young people locked in their homes and out of work for more than two months.

Any provocation would have conflated the personal frustration/rage, and a police killing of a black man who also said, "I can't breathe," in a city that hasn't forgotten Eric Garner was just about the perfect provocation.

There's no question the riots are fueled by the long lockdown and high unemployment. Floyd sparked them but without the preconditions we wouldn't be seeing this.

I'm surprised the police even show up for work anymore given the lack of support from the NYC administration.

The tweet you linked to is absurd. People are obviously not going on and on about a Bible. They are going on and on about the President of the United States ordering the military to attack peacefully protesting Americans. The fact that it was done so he could awkwardly play around with a book he's never read before in front of a church whose clergy he just had tear gassed just makes it that much worse. Where are all the Republicans who were freaking out about the made up Jade Helm crap?

But your broader point is taken. I watched Fox News for a bit right after that happened and they didn't mention the fact that Trump had just ordered an attack on Americans at all. Just a bunch of blathering about how Trump was retaking the land or some nonsense. I'm sure today they won't mention it at all either and will only show videos of the looting. So all those voters who only watch Fox News will, as you say, not really care what Trump did (or even know that he did it).

...You know the order was never given right?

And it wasn't given for that reason either....

Come back to reality.

The military just happened to clear the exact area Trump was about to walk through 15 minutes before it happened. Total coincidence.

Here's reality:

But a senior White House official told Axios that when they saw the tear gas clearing the crowd for Trump to walk to the church with his entourage: "I’ve never been more ashamed. I’m really honestly disgusted. I’m sick to my stomach. And they’re all celebrating it. They’re very very proud of themselves."

Is Axios making that up? Has the White House released a statement saying that's not what happened?

The military did not “clear any area.”

This is false and would be illegal. The only time this law has been “overlooked” recently was Hurricane Katrina.

I have no idea if any "order" was given and don't really care. But the mantra that "it's illegal" to use troops in DC is false.

The ten square mile area that includes the White House and other Federal offices is defined in the US Constitution and is the exclusive property of the United States. It's neither a city nor a state. And even though DC has a "mayor," it is still owned by the federal government and they can most certainly deploy troops there to do whatever they feel the need to do.

Having said that, deploying troops of any kind in the rest of the states without them requesting it directly would require the President invoking the Insurrection Act.

Gassing agitators? I see nothing wrong with this and in fact look forward to see more of you degenerates running for your lives from rubber bullets and police dogs on the nightly news.

"Is Axios making that up? " Yeah, probably.

Stupidity on steroids. Protestors do not have the right to deny a lawful order to move. The actions of the mobs around the White House, attacking and injuring law enforcement, is not lawful demonstrations. The burning of churches is not a lawful act. Demonstrating that the streets no longer belonged to a mob, that at times has been violent, is a return to order. You seem to justify the protestors right to take control of the streets by force but rejective idea that elected officials can lawfully regain control of those streets.

During APEC 97 in Vancouver, a group of police received an order to clear protestors, immediately. The people giving the order didn't give any reasons why or ask that it be done nicely; the police cleared the protestors. Pepper spray was used. The point: these things can happen without malice on either the part of the givers or receivers of the orders.

They stay back deliberately because the looting shifts sympathies.

I think there's another reason. NYPD doesn't have the resources, manpower, to handle mass rioting dispersed around the city like this.

Their tactics for handling the looting are very manpower-intensive, for example dozens of troopers defending a single street corner. And they are reluctant to use force multipliers (i.e. shooting people).

7) It was allowed in the same way the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis was allowed; as a sacrifice to soothe the looters.

Well, no. It was primarily to save lives.
As a white, tax-paying Minneapolis citizen, I was not unhappy to watch the building burn. We have some true asshole racist cops entrenched in that department the we have GOT to get out of there. Their specific actions have resulted in deaths and now, destruction of parts of the very city that hired them to be peace officers.. not mercenary, occupying soldiers - which they think they are. This goes on THEM.

You should burn your own house, Wally. THAT'll show 'em!

I guess I don't see your point. It's not the cops who burned the precinct... why would me burning my house be a parallel?
If I had killed somebody and then my house was burned, that would be a parallel.

Please burn your own house down to demonstrate how sensible the strategy is. The police officer was arrested and charged. That is what we do with the worst elements in society. We offer them due process and resolve our conflicts in court. We don't Lynch. We don't revert to mob violence. Black on black crime kills far more in a week then police kill in years. Yet we do not run through these communities burning down houses to stop violent criminals. The stupidity of your comments is shocking

You are incorrect when you say that we 'resolve our problems in court'. Recent Minneapolis history is that we do not. And you are incorrect when you say 'we don't lynch'. It's right there on video that yes, we do. That's what set the whole thing off.

Clearly a significant portion prefers mob action. Minneapolis is competely controlled by liberal Democrats. They control everything including the hiring and supervision of the police. If your elected officials are failing replace them.

We treat unlawful actions by police the same way we deal with serial killers, rapists, and others. We arrest, charge, and give them due process. It is sad that so many are protesting the legal system and want it replaced with mob rule and punishing random people by destroying their property. Or better yet they want to punish people who look a certain way, hold a certain job, or just own something they want. The stupidity of the protestors is off the charts. And you are cheering and supporting the idiots

There have been about 81 police-involved shootings in Minneapolis in the last ten years. That is not a problem with police that is a crime problem.

I have to think that Wally would feel far more "unhappy" about watching that police precinct building burn if the follow-up to that arson had been burning and looting in Wally's part of Minneapolis.

That's why it was such a poor decision to have the police pull back and allow that building to burn: because it was highly predictable that doing so would lead to more widespread mayhem.

I am assuming that the "destruction of parts" of Minneapolis has not included the part where Wally lives "as a white, tax-paying Minneapolis citizen."

It is in my part of Minneapolis and I will be paying (through taxes) to do the rebuilding and have donated to the street rebuilding fund and helped at a food distribution site. I've been in that Target, bought parts at the AutoZone... so you make some bad kneejerk assumptions.
We've got some rotten cops in this city who have openly defied two mayors and two police chiefs. If this is what it takes, then this is what it takes. But you have to remember that first the cops publicly killed an unarmed, handcuffed man and, short of the public outrage would not be much bothered by the fact and, in fact, have already been defended by the head of the police federation who 'sees no problem'.

In that case, I stand corrected on my assumptions about where you live. My apologies.

Are you taking the position that the four officers would not have been fired and that Chauvin would not have been charged criminally absent rioting and looting? The former doesn't jibe with the timeline, as I understand it, and the latter is unknowable but strikes me as very unlikely.

I understand your position to be that there need to be substantial changes in the Minneapolis Police Department that will require something of a showdown with the police union. I fail to see how rioting and looting make the police union losing that showdown more likely. The key is justifiable anger created by Chauvin's actions, and in particular a video recording of Floyd's death.

Peaceful protests emphasizing that point can help that cause.

Wanton lawlessness and destruction of property carries a significant chance of being counterproductive, as it can be used for an argument that heavy-handed policing is needed to keep such scenes from occurring with some frequency.

(a) The protesters are protesting police practices. The police do not like this. But use of force against peaceful protesters is not popular, and doing so could vindicate the original complaints about police practices. To diminish/stop the protests and quell calls for reform, the police need a non-peaceful situation that can justify their own use of force. Looting is unpopular. If looting runs rampant, the public is galvanized in support of the police and their use of force, and the public is less likely to call for reforms.

(b) The NYPD does not want to cede institutional power or to be reformed by the Mayor or others. They have significant autonomy (and immunity) now and will not give that up voluntarily. This is a negotiation/threat. "If you don't back us, bad stuff will happen and we won't lift a finger to stop it. Get on board - we keep the peace."

One problem with your theory. How do the police cause looting? The police want a non-peaceful solution so how do they convince all these people to commit criminal acts. Without the criminal acts the police seem worthless and their inaction. would encourage society to disband the police. So the criminals are working with the police in some kind of mutual aid society. You must be a professor of sociology at a leading university.

I haven't claimed that the police "cause looting" and my response isn't predicated on it. The looting need not be something organized or instigated by police in order for it to accrue to their advantage.

Looting is unpopular. When it occurs, protesters lose support and the police gain support. Solve for the equilibrium.

So looting clearly demonstrates that the police are the only element that can control the criminal mob and make us safe. And anytime someone wants to reform the police, the police just let some riots occur and they stay in power without oversight. And the criminal element incentive in this drama? The police can control the level of looting how exactly?

"“Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth," Gregory said. "He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”"

Die for DeBlasio just doesn't cut it.

What was the probability of rain? Maybe cops were counting on weather to drive the protesters inside.

Is it better right now to let the shop burn and collect the insurance?

Why would the police involve themselves? There is only downside.

Its a miserable job, the people will hate you, the media will hate you, the politicians will hate you. Let the people live in the world they are asking for.

none of these arguments that defending property "will make the police look bad" make any sense, because they already looked bad to many people. Especially those that would complain about prioritizing property over people. And the handling of many of these protests are terrible optics.

"Let the people live in the world they are asking for."

The world where police don't murder subdued, unarmed citizens? Ok cool, deal.

Probably not though i bet he'd be pretty pissed if St Peter's got tagged or looted

Insubordination? Perhaps. What we are learning is that many of the protestors are agitators, many white supremacists dressed in all black to appear black. And to be direct, many in law enforcement are sympathetic to the right-wing extremists. My favorite small city in the low country suffered a night (Saturday) of demonstrations, violence, and destruction. My nephew, who resides there, told me that many of the young men (they are all men) were white, dressed in all black as to appear black, who were going from building to building breaking glass with hammers, and who attacked several restaurants by throwing bricks through windows as customers fled out the back doors in fear of their lives. Yes there was looting by young blacks, but mostly in stores where blacks shopped (like the dollar store). In the upscale shops, the whites dressed in black broke the glass fronts and helped themselves, including at the Apple store (which was cleared of all merchandise). We have spent decades militarizing and radicalizing the police, and now we are paying a very high price.

Do you have any evidence to support your claim? It appears to me more likely that antifa or others sympathetic to this cause are behind this. Burden of proof is on you when you claim insurrection- Occam's Razor and all.

"many white supremacists " Bullshit. Sounds a lot like the claims coming from the Minneapolis mayor, until he found out people could check. His 'outside agitators' went from all to 6/45.

Well technically Antifa likely does count as white supremacists, given they are causing minority businesses and neighborhoods to be burned down.

No, there are black Antifa members too, are they white supremacists? And there are white businesses being burnt as well, so these white supremacists hate white people too?

do you think this weeks princeton lawyer/molotov lobber is also a white supremacist?
doesn't most of the evidence so far suggest it is the left that is burning stuff?

Provide links for your wild claims about white supremacists, rayward.

As others say, the Occam's Razor answer is Antifa or similar groups, and that "what we're learning" is just that rayward likes to post unsubstantiated BS here.

Here is an indictment of a white guy handing out explosives: Do you think he acted alone?

Yes, he is a white guy. I do not dispute that many white people have been involved in rioting and looting, based on video evidence.

I also do not see any claim that this guy is individually a white supremacist nor affiliated with any broader white supremacist group. In any case, he's one person so rayward would have some ways to go to get to "many white supremacists". That is the point that I challenged from rayward. Noting an indictment of "a white guy" is not a meaningful rebuttal.

Fair point. That has not been established. You might look here for a summary:

Realist, you might also note that the indicted individual traveled with others to Minnesota:

Officers searched Rupert's car and found several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight, and cash.
One of Rupert's associates told police that he traveled to Minneapolis with a "group of individuals" in order to "riot."

Apple is set up so most of the products they sell that can connect to the Internet and cost more than about $100 can be "bricked" [rendered useless] if they're stolen and then turned on after the company credibly gets told they're stolen.


A few facts I was able to find:

- De Blasio has publicly opposed the idea of sending the National Guard to help out, so 3 is definitely a factor
- There were two violent attacks on police officers close to areas where looting was occurred and, as others have pointed out, police were focused on monitoring and controlling the bigger groups of mostly peaceful protesters. That was probably the right decision -- much better to deter the sociopaths and common criminals from joining larger gatherings.
- About 700 people were still arrested last night. Rikers Island has a current population of about 11,000.

This all suggests NYPD is under strain and the National Guard should be called upon to help stop looting.

We've seen many examples in Baltimore and NYC recently where, when the police feel aggrieved/attacked/criticized, they take a step back from basic law enforcement. A "we'll show you how much you need us" kind of thing.

I don't personally know if that's what's happening here, but it certainly seems like a plausible hypothesis.

"the police feel aggrieved/attacked/criticized"
As in, say, when criticized for killing an unarmed, handcuffed man?

The same day someone threw a firebomb into a car where four NYPD cops were sitting, DeBlasio attacked the police. My guess is that the NYPD is concerned that at this point, any steps they take to stop the rioting will expose them to criminal charges.

Probably explains him saying this about Trump and his use of the police - “There is no right to riot,” Republican senator Ben Sasse said. “But there is a fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

...Why is this misinformation being posted everywhere?

"“Police injustice — like the evil murder of George Floyd — is repugnant and merits peaceful protest aimed at change,” Sasse said, adding that “riots are abhorrent acts of violence that hurt the innocent.” Both messages should be heard as Americans work to end violence and injustice, Sasse said."

Looks like the National Review was fooled too.

Nebraska Republican senator Ben Sasse issued a statement on Tuesday morning criticizing President Trump’s visit to St. John’s Church Monday night as a “photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

“There is no right to riot, no right to destroy others’ property, and no right to throw rocks at police. But there is a fundamental — a Constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” Sasse said. “Every public servant in America should be lowering the temperature and that means saying two basic truths over and over: (1) police injustice — like the evil murder of George Floyd — is repugnant and merits peaceful protest aimed at change; (2) riots are abhorrent acts of violence that hurt the innocent. Say both things loudly and repeatedly, as Americans work to end the violence and injustice.”

Sasse presumably wants to draw Nebraskans' attention away from the looting in Omaha.

As I watched the live TV feeds of looting, I also wondered why police didn't stop the looting. If the camera crews could find the looters, then why not the police? On the other hand, I believe the police response to theft even during normal times is to arrive after the crime and take down a crime report. If there are many thefts occurring simultaneously during a riot, then it would be require that many more police to stop them. So, maybe the police department isn't actually structured to stop that much crime preemptively.

You have the wrong model. The police strategy is to let the looters loot while attacking the BLM protestors. The objective is not order but discrediting BLM.

What evidence to you have police are radicalized? Here in Atlanta, the police are mostly black and mostly polite. Sure, they pulled me over for an expired tag that was a week past due, but the cop was very nice about the $200 ticket.

Aren't we all glad they are militarized so they can contain these riots?

Because of COVID closures a lot of stores were emptied before anyway

It took me about a microsecond to realize that your list was laughably incomplete. It is hard to believe you've seriously considered the question. (sorry if I'm just getting on the band wagon - the comments are tl;dr). How about 7. The police were exactly where they should have been. 8. The police allowed the rioters to destroy/loot property because the alternative was violent confrontation and likely more lives lost. (how many lives were lost? how many people were physically harmed because of last night?) 9. The police didn't have (don't have) the logistical capacity to handle the number of law-breakers. ... Based on the post, there is pretty good evidence that TC isn't serious. I mean is there really any question about whether the NYC PD is "sufficiently" trained? (I wonder if TC ever stopped using weasel words if his blog would be as popular?). 10. The harm caused by mass incarceration caused covid-19 spread would cause far more harm than the riots themselves. I could continue but why bother? I doubt much thought went into the OP here.

Ther have probably been 50 people killed by looters.

If the first looters in Minneapolis were killed by police, how many of these 50 could have continued living?

If the SOP is to kill looters on sight, much less looting will happen.

mebbe this will help
the northern liberal elite strategy is- keep the president of the u.s.
from leaving the white house without a fight

I'm reminded of Skeptical's point that America has become a low trust society.

The legitimate protestors don't trust the police and will do anything to undermine their authority.
The police don't trust the politicians and thus revert to tribalism (police unions, protect their own back, ect).
The media are busy in tribal politics feeding stories to whatever side they affiliate with.
The politicians are much the same, pandering to their respective base, with no care for the big picture or reaching across the divide on either side.

Things will get worse before they get better. Perhaps significantly worse.

The police infiltrate, harass, kettle, provoke, bully, mace, fire-hose, beat, kick, billy club, tackle, push around on horseback, zip-tie, shoot with rubber and real bullets and tasers, coat with slime and infra-red and audio weapons, and otherwise herd around and occasionally attack the generally peaceful and unarmed protestors - including senior citizens, nuns, hippie chicks and the media - because they can.

Meanwhile, they stand off from looters most of the time, just as they stand off from armed right wingers who force their way into public buildings.

This continues until the protests loose steam, or the cops & National Guard devolve to the point that they start shooting.

It does not require rocket science to observe. It's been going on since King George first bent his knee on the Colonists' necks.

Episodes like these make clear that most of the law and order dingbats on these forums who bleat most loudly about liberty, the regulatory state, and the Constitution don't actually have the slightest clue what oppression or freedom actually look like.

It also makes clear why we have a second amendment. Alas, it's most vocal advocates haven't a freaking clue what freedom actually means, and cheer the Police State just so long as it is directed at someone else.

Tell you what tough guy, why don't you go out and stop some looters

are you suggesting that our police are not up to the task?

seems to me that’s what some community members and store owners have concluded

Now that you are clueless and a tough guy at a keyboard

The Ferguson Effect.

Blacks are sacralized beings. There is no manner in which a cop can interact with a black kid and not end up out of a job or in front of a grand jury on his way to prison. Best to stay far, far away.

If a cop sees a black kid being naughty who needs to be arrested, he will discover that the kid declines to be arrested. Next thing you know there are four or five cops there having to execute a forcible arrest while smart phones are recording video that will be judged by effete elites who have never physically grappled with an uncooperative person in their lives. Oh my, where is my fainting couch!

(it's not but for the sake of argument) this case, George Floyd, the cops fucked it up. They did their jobs really badly. Their lives are ruined, as they should be. The riots are about much more than just Floyd, that was the spark. The lockdown is a big part of it, if there were no Covid I don't think we see this level of rioting today.

In reference to the addendum, and the related arguments in comments [looting is deliberately allowed to happen]
This would go along with some of the curfew enforcement behavior in minneapolis. People have been forming impromptu security details to police their own neighborhood and prevent arson and looting. The police have been arresting some of these people for violating curfew, some of who have simply been on their front or back porch, keeping watch over the neighborhood. To me, these actions communicate a few things (not exhaustive).

- The police are the only authority allowed to provide security.
- You should continue to be afraid of the police, we are not backing down
- if you are allowed to prevent looting in your neighborhood, there will be less looting to point to, and people might wonder what we're doing.
- If you are willing to violate curfew, you are a threat and this is what will happen to you.

Like I said; the loudest advocates of liberty are the worst students of freedom.

The police will absolutely and vigorously put down all challenges to their monopoly on control and sanctioned violence.

Looters is a minor concern compared to the threat large scale protests by everyday people, and experiments in self-policing poses to the entire structure of our police system.

As always and everywhere, true grassroots peaceful democratic movements in reform and self-governance will be put down without mercy and with as much violence as required. Without exception.

Armed right wing whiners are tolerated, not just because they might fight back (there's no evidence they actually would do so with any depth), but because their protests in no way threaten the power structure. For example: the Michigan dufouses were whining about a democratic governor in a GOP state house, about public health orders endorsed nationwide by leaders from both parties, and egged on by a GOP POTUS. Pointless spectacle. Those same meatheads are now cheering at the TV as the cops bust heads.

Clarification: some armed right wing groups will indeed fight back, including committing paranoid suicidal self martyrdom.

Just not the majority of them. There is no evidence that the majority of those, espceially those who come out and do public/publicity stunts, have got enough cajones to face down even the same cop tactics faced by BLM protestors.

Do you have like... links or stuff to support "As always and everywhere, true grassroots peaceful democratic movements in reform and self-governance will be put down without mercy and with as much violence as required. Without exception."

The state has the monopoly on laws, because we as a society long ago agreed to offer due process to the worst of us. We settle things in court. This officer was arrested and charged.. We don't lynch or turn to ob violence. Taking to the streets to demand what you want with threats of violence ends the monopoly and the social contract. We all go into armed camps and become ruled by warlords. Great vision of the future moron.

nice reducto, moron

you missed the part of my vision where we are reduced to listening to kpop

George - what you deride as a "pointless spectacle" in Michigan was also a protest that remained just that: a "protest" that did not devolve into opportunistic looting and rioting by some fraction of participants or hangers-on.

LOL. Yeah! People are looting and rioting, but let's figure out a way to blame the cops for something else. COVID is probably their fault too.

Probably a combination of

1) It's unsafe and provocative for police to enter a riot zone without sufficient numbers to protect themselves.
2) The main police presence is at the peaceful protest, which has larger absolute numbers of people.
3) The violent rioters are deliberately avoiding the peaceful protest and any significant police presence.
4) The violent rioters can move more quickly than the police because of 1).


5) If the police presence at the peaceful protest were too small, it would become a target for the rioters, which would have the potential for lots of people getting hurt.

The looting and the rioting will continue as long as it is safe for the rioters and the looters to act, or until there is nothing left to steal or destroy. This is what happened in Ferguson, MO, and apparently is going to happen in every city with politicians who fail to stop it in its tracks.

Tyler, as usual tries to overthink the issue. The answer is fucking simple- the politicians are refusing to stop this because the rioters and the looters are part of their constituency and supported by the rest of it either explicitly or implicitly.

Certain people ask why the rioters and the looters don't go riot and loot in the whiter and more conservative suburbs? Are they really this clueless, or are they just playing stupid.

none of this makes sense...I am pretty sure that rioters and looters are not a voting constituency. And there are countless people in these neighborhoods who explicitly want the looting to stop *and* want to reform the police. And midtown manhattan is a white neighborhood, is it not? Also, looting seems like a low hanging fruit activity. Going to the suburbs takes *some* amount of forethought and research. Which mall do you go to? Also, it is presumably safer for looters to stick to areas where other looters are already operating and the police are distracted by protests. Suburban police presumably have far fewer distractions and can respond more readily.

Wow, MDL, what a load of horseshit. Yes, the looters and their families fucking vote- to not understand this is mind-boggling to me. And, yes, so far, the majority of the voters in these cities approve of not confronting the rioter and the looters and stopping them. I am not sure the city dwellers will ever reach the point of putting the blame in the right place- they are just pathologically altruistic and/or stupid.

I don't give flying fuck about how white Manhattan is- they vote Democratic overwhelmingly, so they are DeBlasio and Cuomo's constituency, just like the rioters and the looters. At the very least, today it looks like Cuomo might be awaking from his slumber, and perhaps the pain is finally starting to penetrate the thick skulls of the people who live in New York City, but I will have to see action now, not talk.

Finally, the riots and looting don't spread to the suburbs mostly because the population is armed to the teeth compared to the city centers. There, the police will either act to stop it, or the citizens themselves will do so. And the rioters are smart enough to know this- they won't be planning how to do it, they just won't do it- no plan needed.

Let’s assume that there have always been two groups that took to the streets in response to the murder of George Floyd: a legitimate disenfranchised group that has mostly been disserved by the police as well as a radical element that would like to abolish the police or civil society.

The objective of the second group is to amplify the protest through destruction and looting. In this manner they wish to at minimum engage the police in order to photograph and film them in an objectional way, and provide a scenario for more violence. The narrative (undoubtedly premeditated and well-rehearsed) used to engage normally law abiding citizens to perform unlawful acts is: 1. Accuse anyone trying to stop the looting as valuing ‘things’ over ‘life’ and 2. Pointing out to the average protestors that everything is insured so nobody is really suffering a loss (‘free shxt for everyone’ was written all over Lake St business’ exteriors).

These two triggers were all over Minneapolis twitter Thursday and Friday. By Saturday public officials, and religious leaders, and community organizers denounced the fires and looting, I assume with the support of their constituents.

If the NYPD does not have the support of their public(s), if they are not seeing the values in the same way, then they are walking into a trap by addressing the scenario described above.

I am open to an argument like this, but find it limiting. There seem to be more vectors adding up here. So far, there seem to be at least the following groups acting "badly"
- people who burning shit out of righteous indignation
- agents of chaos, people who just like to see things burn
- people who think they are "helping" the cause by turning up the temperature, so to speak, to get more attention overall
- people who wish to make the protesters look bad and/or discredit BLM
- bored youths with nothing better to do
- common criminals seeking opportunity where it presents itself

to the extent that the radical element is trying to "bait" the police into looking bad, it seems like the police are taking care of that all on their won. No need to bait them into ugly interactions. Besides, considering the amount of looting, they dont seem to be taking that "bait" if this vector is at all operative.

- add to the list - semi-professional criminals who are taking advantage of an opportunity.

7. Compared to the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, there has not been much violence- that was one city, 6 days, 63 deaths, over 3000 buildings burned. In the past couple decades it has become common for gangs and the police to have informal channels of communication so that the gangs understand when they will be left alone and when they would be crossing a line and law enforcement would have to step in- it might have been similar in the Mafia days, I don't know.

A conspiracy theorist would note the looting of (insured) luxury retailers with easily salable black market inventory, combined with certainly very angry but relatively low-violence protests, and wonder if those channels of communication are working as intended.

Bookstores, bodegas, and affordable housing have been put to the torch.

But, by whom? Antifa? White supremacists. Look at the indictment just handed down in Minneapolis: The FBI does a good job, and I am sure there is more to come.

2, 3 and 5, with a specific focus on police fear of ending up on camera, coupled with the lack of clear orders giving officers mission command to suppress the riots. Minneapolis was looted and burned until the governor gave clear orders to under no uncertain terms arrest the rioters. Police are afraid of enforcing the law because the political elite that lead these cities are genuinely confused on whether or not they want the law enforced.

NYPD made 700 arrests last night, the biggest number yet since this whole situation started. That's hardly evidence they are standing down or lack an understanding of what they are supposed to be doing. I think they are outnumbered and focused on crowd control for the large gatherings of people as well as preventing physical violence.

Right. No police forced is sized for two cops in front of every store.

My hope is that everyone is just tired of it now. They (good people and bad) have done their thing, and will stay in tonight.

When the mayors let cities burn, they are opting to transfer the money of property owners to looters. Very generous of them. In return, the mayors are hoping to earn some goodwill from the rioters. In other words, mayor's are selling your stuff and accumulating all the benefits of the transaction. You get nothing.

My neighbor lets me keep a key to their house in case something goes awry while they are gone.. Maybe I could rent that out their house as an AirBnB party house next time they are gone. My neighbors suffer the wear and tear while I reap the benefits and cash. Sweet arrangement for me.

I don't know how much it applies, but when I see this kind of things I always think of an interview in which an old Italian politician gave advice to his successors on how to use riots in order to shut down demonstrations:

“Maroni should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior. University students? Let them do what they want. Withdraw the police from streets and universities, infiltrate the movement with provoking agents ready for anything [“agenti provocatori” is the Italian term] and let them devastate shops, put fire to the cars and put cities to the sword for ten days.
Then, strengthen by people’s support, the sound of the sirens from ambulances will have to overwhelm that from the police and carabinieri [italian military police]. Law enforcement officers should pitilessly beat the shit out of protesters and send them all to the hospital. They should not arrest them since the courts would free them immediately, but they should beat them savagely, and they should beat savagely as well those teachers that incites them: not old professors, just the young school teachers.”

The interview in Italian (reproduced in full by a different journal)

It doesn't take a microsecond to realize that you fail to address why, if the NYPD lacks the capacity to crack down on the looters, the mayor has refused to request that the governor send the national guard. How many lives have been lost in Los Angeles by calling in the national guard?

In response to Neurotic above/

I don't know about NY but when I watched the happenings in Long Beach CA for a few hours on Sunday it was obvious there were two separate groups of people. Protesters of all ages marching and holding signs. And groups of young men and scattering of women -teens and early twenties - looking for something to break into and loot. Sometimes the groups would intersect and mix but then it looked like the young men would see a new opportunity and break off. So they are not the same groups. One is principled the other is opportunistic.

One provides the cover for the other, Don. If the "peaceful" protesters had any thought at all for the cities they are marching in, they would stop so that city officials could focus on stopping the non-peaceful ones.

I know the peaceful (and I now use this without scare quotes for a reason), don't like to get smeered with the actions of the miscreants, but they increasing bear a good part of the responsibility for what is happening.

Sorry, but that's a catch-22 for the peaceful protestors.

If they stay home to avid providing "cover" for looters, they are guaranteed that nothing will change.

Many protesters started going after taggers and window breakers. But, most looters were straggling out of sight of police near marchers.

Not that any of those numbers might not be there, especially that if anything goes sideways, the mayor will not be in any cops corner, no matter how blameless one might be, there is one other meta reason.

Scribal class people generally underestimate how hard real jobs, like policing in a riot, are. Scribes often don't seem the realize just how low degree of difficulty scribbling is and as humans naturally do, think that what everyone else does is as easy to get right as what they do. Policing during a riot is a real hard thing to do, and impossible to do perfectly.

5. Lack of accountability has become a dominant theme of American life over the past 10 years. We see this with the federal response to coronovirus, we see this with police brutality, we see this with looters and city government, we see this with political discourse at all levels.

It does not bode well for liberty.

Perhaps the police are concerned about contracting COVID-19 by approaching the large gatherings of people. Remember the virus and the public safety issues it poses, Tyler? You used to write about them.

And considering the ongoing chaotic situation in the U.S., he will undoubtedly be writing about them again. Maybe when the EU and China and South Korea and Japan and New Zealand etc. force all American visitors into a mandatory 14 day quarantine if the U.S. can not get a handle on a viral pandemic.

If China had a handle in the first place, was open and above-board instead of hiding everything....

Covid is now pg 17 news

- DeBlasio has repeatedly called for cops to be fired for what he deemed excessive force.
- Everything is on video. Why would a police risk life and liberty any more than needed?
- Definitely not enough police. There may be 38,000 but they can't all work at the same time. National Guard should have been called in, and I predict they WILL be called in at some point.
- Covid lockdowns have put many people out of work. What do they have to lose by rioting and looting? Also, Covid makes wearing a mask acceptable, so much easier to get away with crimes.
- There were many predictions of unrest this summer prior to last week. This is the spark that set it off.
- It's not about George Floyd. The cop who killed him is in jail charged with murder. What else do people want, for him to be turned over to the mob immediately?
- All of this unrest will result in police pulling back somewhat from here on out. This is what the protesters want. And it will of course lead to increasing murder rates, same as after the BLM protests during Obama's tenure. If you side with riots and looting, you have to acknowledge that there will be more deaths, not less. Not in rural, white settings, but in urban, black settings.

What else do people want? They want power. They want to crush their political enemies and hear the lamentations of the women. They want to blast their political messaging over and over and drown out rival messages. As long as their political messaging is politically effective, and not triggering a big backlash, they will blast it as loud and as hard as they can.

If Democrats want to change Police practices in Minneapolis, they can do that now, without advocacy or protests. They own all the offices of power in Minneapolis. The City Council has zero Republicans. All the police practices were written by Democrats. All the police hiring was overseen by Democrats. Democrats have full authority over police policies in Minneapolis and they know it. Instead of just changing the rules they object to and already have full authority to change, they opt to wage culture warfare.

The solution is simple:

Overwhelming military force
And the supplanting of local authority
So as to bring "Law and Order"

Just as China does with respect to Hong Kong
Donald J. Trump plans to do with any state
Where governor he disagrees with him.

Why did Netflix stop mailing CDs?
The demand for riot exceeds the demand for order. In the coin of career, legal, and reputational consequences, police do better to let the rioting and destruction have free rein. America currently wants happy rioters more than it wants peace or property. That will change.

Shorter: the Median Voter Theorem.

Shorter: Median Voter Theorem.

Imagine you found a coupon error or a price mistake in a ecommerce Website like Amazon, Target, Walmart etc. Would you not take advantage of that? How many people that are reading this can resist the temptation to order and hope that the order doesn't get cancelled? Even last Black Friday there was a glitch in Amazon that enabled some users to order high end DSLR cameras for very cheap. Amazon cancelled some orders, but few got shipped.

Definitely a need for multivariate analysis.

whats missing?
-all 6 of the hypotheses frame the riot as primarily a police problem
against a large somewhat unwieldly/rude crowd-that's not what is going on
-are harvard sociologists still afraid to suggest impairment as a
contributing factor to riots ?

Imagine suspending regulations and allowing adjusters from "outside the state" to do adjustment work! All hail the coming libertopia!

"Lara also will be making a determination on whether to issue an emergency declaration that would allow insurers to use out-of-state adjusters to speed the process, he said. This was done in 2018 following the Camp and Woolsey fires, when the scale of the damage overwhelmed insurers."

why didn’t New York police stop rioters? Simple: because of a progressive political culture glorifying the cause and motivation of the rioters and the looters and demonizing the police.

Cowen himself reacted to the first riots in Minneapolis with a post of the history of white-on-black grievances, and the legitimate grievances and causes for anger of black people against police and society at large. He didn't explicitly condone the violence and looting, but he sure implied that there was a very sympathetic and noble cause in doing so. And he sure didn't express any criticism or horror at the looting and bad behavior on public display and those encouraging it.

In a sane world, Cowen would be right: the public would side with the police against looters and arsonists terrorizing American cities and burning churches. The cynic in me thinks we live in a bizarro world where the public will side with, not specifically violent looting itself, but with Biden staffers and Hollywood celebs paying bail money to arsonists and violent looters, and with op-ed news working to glamorize the cause of the looting and violence and incite anger at white people and police.

> 2. Those police are trained but they are afraid of confronting protestors and so they don’t do it.

They're not afraid of the protesters. They are afraid that interacting with protesters will require them to exercise escalating force that someone far away will deem excessive. At a minimum, they might be looking at a civil rights
lawsuit. If the escalated force causes real harm, they could be looking at jail. A single blow to the head in the scuffle that knocks a person out accidentally can cause them fall, hit their head and die.

George Floyd was a ticking time bomb. Bad ticker, taking lots of drugs, and driving a $70K car while fentynal was in his body. He was driving that car tripping and paranoid. Your standard cop doesn't have the IQ or training to separate someone strung out on drugs from someone in a true medical crisis. Cops taze people having seizures for failing to comply.

From your average cop-on-the-beat perspective, engaging isnt' worth it anymore. They will keep going after the rich person that is speeding. But not a chance they will go after risky efforts that could land them in jail.

We are seeing the future the left has wanted before our eyes: Decriminalize most everything, combined with a police force that will only arrest wealthy people.

Next step: The cities will empty over the next decade. Employers have said you can work anywhere now. Companies will leave Manhattan in droves. Restaurants that relied on them will close. Anyone with money will get out. Rents will plummet. The poor will come because of generous services and low rents. But the services will go away because the tax revenue will collapse. The cities will only host the very poor that depend on the government.

It runs in a 50 year cycle like clockwork.

I'd like to see a big city mayor given training and then be asked to put someone 4" taller and 50 pounds heavier into handcuffs. By themselves. And if he/she fails, the perp gets to beat the crap out of them--lost teeth, crushed eye sockets, the works.

In what world would any mayor ever sign up for that? And yet instead of thanking the people that do sign up for that, the mayors curse them.

They--the cops on the street--understand this better than you can ever imagine. that cops have a very tough job to do, and are often criticized for doing it, in this particular case....they did fuck it up. Come on. There was ample time for the guy to just get off his neck. He had other cops there who could have said something. This was bad policing, all on tape.

100% agree in this case. Not saying there aren't any. But the protesters believe there are thousands and thousands of "bad shootings" each year, which is a million miles from the truth.

I've asked kids how many unarmed black men are killed each year. Some have answered "over a million."

I'd be marching too if it were a million or even a thousand. When they learn it is under 20, and that 25K black folks die per year from OD and and another 6K or shot are shot by black men, you can see the gears turning.

Unjustified police shootings are way, way down on the list of things harming the black community. And they aren't unexpected give the crime rates. Black and white unarmed deaths are about the same, in line with black violent crime rates.

Focusing on this means the problems facing black men and women, especially black men, aren't going to get solved.

It's not just about numbers. It's emotional, symbolic. I can't imagine what it's like to be black, but I sympathize with the rage. I understand it.

This one is so cut and dried, and there are still people blaming unions and De.ocrats and black people themselves. This unrest is hopefully another factor that will help us take on the police unions and get officers to think twice and not be so fucking stupid.

That cop needs to go to jail just for being too stupid to live.

> That cop needs to go to jail just for being too stupid to live.

Of course. But there are only 10 or so similar examples to what this cop did each year, and most those cops rightly go to jail.

5,5,5 and 5. The people in charge, mayor and police chief, whose job is keeping order, have abdicated. Those lower down in the chain of command take their direction. No accountability anywhere, hence the demons are unleashed. Everything else in nonsense and wishful thinking, or worse.

I am in the middle of the Fairfax and Hollywood situations the last few days.

The police definitely changed tactics yesterday. Prior days, they were heavily following/marshalling the big groups of protesters. This allowed the looters to slip behind and do what they wanted unmolested for the most part--see Santa Monica.

But yesterday, the police accompanying the protesters were thinned out, and mobile units went out and after looters in some sort of fashion. Thus, many times 20-40 looters were caught inside stores and arrested. The police also chased get-away cars (it's LA--looters are in cars) until they caught them. The whole scene changed, and looting was significantly limited compared to prior days.

A contact with LAPD says two reasons: (1) orders from above, so as not to risk provoking marchers (large number but almost always peaceable), and (mainly) (2) looter tactics not seen before. Took a day or two to realize with cell phones and cars, looters were not just cruising street alongside marchers, but instead were planning when and where to go away from police.

There are looters associated with many every large street gatherings, from Super Bowl celebrations to political marches. Here, you add the agitators (anarchists, 'eat the rich' people, I bet some white nationalist provocateurs) and things got more wild.

I'm glad the Los Angeles police changed tactics, and it worked going after looters quickly. Contrary to at least news reports, the LAPD, sheriffs, CHP, National Guard here are acting very professionally in tense situations. The watching and generally sympathetic neighborhoods are also appreciative of and supportive of police actions.

To clarify--"sympathetic" to marchers' cause

+5 i.p., informative

Very good assessment.

The question to pose is the following: In the future, we will have very large events again, including political conventions. Protests will be part of the program.

Unless the police figure out how to deal with looters who separate from the protests and loot, there will be more looting associated with police supervised or monitored events.

There is a self help issue here: merchants can hire private security with dogs. Or, large cats.

I can help with that last bit.

"So what is the best model of why all that trouble happened and indeed was allowed to happen?"

Before I say anything else, let me make clear that when I see damaged or destroyed businesses, I see poor people losing jobs. I'm skeptical about good coming from this.

You're asking the wrong question. What the last few days have shown is that when there's enough people on the streets, the police can't control it. If you want to prevent or control it, you have to start years earlier. By the time the looting starts, it may be too late. This is the product of social problems that criminal justice is incapable of dealing with.

Secondly, the situation is chaotic. You're asking why the police aren't in control of chaos.

As for why there was no police presence, they simply may have been too busy elsewhere. If you want to argue that this should have been prioritized, you have to explain how police leadership in the middle of a chaotic, constantly changing situation would be able to accurately know what to prioritize. Fog of war.

Further, maybe the police were properly prioritizing the use of their resources. Maybe there were more critical situations elsewhere.

Also, how long did it take to do this? Was this something that was ongoing for a long time, or did some people quickly smash and loot and move on? If it was the second, a busy police force would have trouble getting officers there before the looters had left.

In the video you linked to, I saw two cars of people looting a store. Everyone else passing by was staying out. Just judging from the video, it could have been a small count of people and happened quickly. The photo of smashed windows could have been a small count of people moving quickly down the street, smashing as they went. The video and photo aren't enough to judge the situation.

Just reread Alex Tabarrok's post from three years ago on Mastrobuoni and Rivers' research on Italian bank robbers. They model bank robbery as moment-to-moment optimizations. Applying the same idea:

A city full of demonstrators, a small percentage of whom are inclined to loot. Risk aversion and assessment of opportunities varies from one potential looter to another. The objective risk of being caught varies from place to place and moment to moment. If potential looters and looting opportunities are randomly distributed, overly risk avers looters won't loot, insufficiently risk averse looters will get caught, and some looters in the risk aversion sweet spot will find momentary looting opportunities that match their level of risk avoidance and will loot. Throw in the element of luck, and you get the video and picture linked to in the post.

Very good comment. You might also think about demonstrations that accompany political events. A counter rally arises, drawing an audience. Police are protecting one political event, and also persons in the counter rally, and looting then occurs.

Who is responsble--the initial political rally, the outside demonstration?

No, the looters who seize the opportunity of the police being tied down and distracted.

It doesn't have to be a political rally. I could be an NRA convention and a counter protest; it could be a Planned Parenthood convention and a counter protest by the Right to Life Crowd; it could even be a football game where the home team loses.

The market for looting has low barriers to entry under some circumstances.

"If you want to prevent or control it, you have to start years earlier. By the time the looting starts, it may be too late. This is the product of social problems that criminal justice is incapable of dealing with."

A huge part of this is the Covid lockdowns. Without lockdowns, do you think the scale of this whole thing would be anything remotely like what we're seeing? Most of the looters probably once had jobs but now don't. Nothing to lose!

And they're getting paid an additional $600 a week.

One more quick comment: In any sufficiently large group of people, there will be people who will steal if given the chance. I have stories about American middle-class tourists and US army personnel. My dad knows a few retired police officers who have stories about fellow police officers who didn't want to record all the money seized in some police action. Research among sex workers indicates that many have been robbed by police officers.

Police and protesters are both drawn from the general population and are evenly matched in the propensity to steal. Over the course of a lifetime, police probably have more opportunities. But police who steal don't do it all at once, as looters do, and they don't do it in ways that allow the loss to be documented.

Some very stupid comments on this thread.

People respond to incentives. The penalties for looting are too mild. The low bond movement has helped create a group of professional criminals who can make a good living as criminals without fear of jail. We have grown the number of people who view stealing as a low risk high reward enterprise. They are arrested and released without consequences. They and the police know it. It leads to a moral decay in the community.

The police do not have the manpower or the support of politicians in many of these cities. While they risks of being a criminal has declined the risk of being a police officer has increased. They can't deal with the widespread looting that is occurring because they just don't have the ability to scale a response and they are increasingly risk adverse. They need overwhelming force in order to minimize the criminals creating an escalating situation. Police with overwhelming force can use less violent measures because criminals see less chance of winning the confrontation.

We have incentivized a criminal element with a legal system that refuses to punish criminal acts. If it became a Federal crime to loot during a crisis with a five year minimum sentence without parole up to twenty years you would see a reduction in looting. But politicians would never vote for that. Amnesty after the fact is more common.

Ask yourself:
What would have happened last night had Rudy Giuliani been Mayor?

He would have claimed that
Hunter Biden was behind it
Along with
Some Ukrainians.
Maybe even Chinese.

Why not? Because the looters are suckers who can count.

I don't think the police management would expose citizens to crime as a protest or power grab. You could see individual,, unsupervised or unmonitored officer do so, but they move in pack and oversee each other.

The reason I think that they wouldn't do this is that there always will likely be an after action assessment.

That being said, Como would have the right to conduct an investigation as to the police response, and an announcement of that alone would keep people on their toes--both in being responsive as well as being compliant with the law.

It's good to have oversight.

A multi-ethnic group of youngsters calling itself a justice coalition - that didn't seem quite threatening or intense enough to rise to "antifa" - announced it would be holding a protest at a Target at such an hour that afternoon. In point of fact, they *actually* protested the Target. A semi-comic video showed a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, musing hopefully that those might be unmarked cop cars over yonder; the ringleader offering a defense of the notion, perhaps novel even to those gathered, that "Target is an enemy, you guys ... it's surveiling people for the government"; then the assembled marched in circles like Pip and Estella round Miss Havisham's bed, chanting "F*** up Target." They did eventually gain entry to the boarded-up glass doors of the Target (which but for that weakness otherwise seemed nearly impregnable, being a tilt-wall building). The news reported that a few arrests were made, presumably the less fleet of foot. The protesters declared victory, having "got what we wanted" from the store. No word on why there was no attempt made to pre-empt the damage to the store. No one except James Lileks loves a Target, perhaps.

Then you get a complaint a few years later how come there’s not a XXX in my area or “food deserts.”

Or the hopelessness of a home "decor" desert.

I think Great Britain passed a law that it’s ok to steal up to $500 worth of goods and I think some US cities did, too. It’s too petty a crime to bother the system with.

I guess we can look at it as just another tax or fee to live in certain places.

If you don’t have the support of your city, why open a business there?

DeBlasio's plan, obviously, is to let NY get so bad that Trump has no chance of winning the state in November 2020. It's genius!

You said this your head do you think NY is in play in any way for Trump? Man you're dumb.

The average police officer most likely is thinking about the overtime pay and is not going to risk their neck doing something unless they are ordered to. Unless the police feels threatened or is angered or you make them run or take risks. A white, friend, classmate, and neighbor of mine was killed in police custody (broken hyoid bone) after acting out in custody after a reckless driving arrest (off his meds) . Another white guy I knew was beaten severely and suffered internal injuries after trying to tried to outrun police on his motorcycle. And I watched police beat a white guy outside an apartment after they had to run and tackle him. The upper echelons of the police hierarchy are primarily concerned with their pensions and not getting scapegoats for following whatever plan the political come up with. The high level police in NYC were just being highly responsive to the mayor.

Agree about the pensions. Police are now highly motivated to just safely cruise through their 20 years and then collect a lifetime cash annuity. Why put your neck on the line and risk such a setup?

Copy of letter sent out from the union president of the NYPD to the police;

Markets for self help also work in addition to police:

I think you can also imagine a way to disrupt organized looting: place hidden location aware tags in your store property and track where the looter goes. And, announce that you have location aware beacons hidden in your products, so go ahead and loot and we will be able to track you down and put you in jail. Smile at the camera on the way out.

I was at the NYC protest last night that started on east 9th st. and proceeded downtown. The protest was peaceful, but I passed looters as I biked back home uptown through empty streets. So here's Option 7: the protests drew cops away from midtown, which was unusually empty because of the pandemic, giving looters a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I bet the NYPD will be better prepared tonight and looting less prevalent. Feel free to laugh at me if I'm wrong. But if I'm not, priors need updating.

My son lives near Union Square and informs me that the White Supremacist Anarchist Drug Cartel is taking orders for AirPods. He didn't place an order, but understands their feelings.

He said he just got the new super AirPods and discovered he needed a special charging device.

He said he now understands why people loot the Apple Store because they are angry at Apple for having to buy a special charger.

My son reports that through Citizens app he is seeing looting near the Strand bookstore. He reports: "Think they are stealing coats. Coats!!!" My son implicitly understands in that statement, as an investment banker, that if you are going to steal something, it should a high value to volume ratio, and that if you are time limited in your operation, you should avoid bulky items so you can loot more stores.

These guys need to take a course in micro.

Perhaps you and your son should take a class in micro. Like traffic congestion or nickel beer night if you lower the cost to near zero the criminals will steal everything. The cost of stealing the coat is near zero, so they take it. If the cost goes up, in this case, fear of punishment they would leave the coat behind

Clearly you didn't understand my comment. Nor did you read my previous comment above where I commented on low barriers to entry in looting.
I didn't;t need to repeat the low barriers comment because it was obvious and said earlier.

I was trying to make a more sophisticated comment and a more sophisticated audience, for those who understand micro, and apparently you are not part of that audience.

Give you a hint Dan: The arms of a looter are capacity constrained and there is a time constraint ; to optimize the night haul, would you choose bulky coats or jewelry and iPhones; also assume a time constraint for your time to loot.

As you say, perhaps you should take a course in micro.

Ok, my comment is beyond your ability to understand the most basic Micro 101 problem. Not surprising. It has nothing to do with barriers to entry, not even close. (Indeed that comment shows how clueless you are on the topic.) It has nothing to do with the constraints on a single or multiple looters trying to play beat the clock. Hint draw a graph with declining marginal utility and an asymptotic marginal cost curve. What level of consumption do you get? You get looters who take virtually everything. It gives you an idea, or at least gives a reasonably bright person an idea, of the cost that the looters think they face from engaging in looting. And why they would take things that might have near-zero value.

You really don't understand Industrial Organization or higher level micro.

First, if you have entered the market, low barriers to entry are irrelevant, except for others who might enter increase competition.

Second, if you are now in the market of stealing, how do you optimize your revenue given time constraints, and the ability of you to carry stolen.

You pick the most valuable, least bulky item. (I could point you to a graduate micro textbook by Varian, Micro Theory by Andreu Mas-Collel (p333, 736 Intertemporal Production functions, and Baumol Economic Theory and Operations Analysis p333 and further; for IO, I prefer my favorite econ expert, Dennis Carlton's book on IO.

But, from what I can see, you would be a poor looter and unable to optimize given the constraints that would be imposed on you.

But, you do have the ability to claim that others should take a micro course without demonstrating your own understanding of the subject.

I used to work with Dennis. You are clueless.

Good. Then you should know better, and if you were one of the folks at Lexecon that were on projects I engaged them on, I would have pointed out your comments as a basis for some discussion on economics as well as civilty. By the way, I sometimes am still in email exchanges with Dennis on IO issues and may bring this up.

Quit insulting people.

By the way, Dan, I see that you did not respond to the optimization examples and sources I posted for the way a looter should optimize profit given constraints. Not surprising. Also, not surprising you wouldn't;t respond, and then assert "You are clueless"

You are scampering away hurling insults at people as you retreat.

Sam hired me there as a summer intern some years ago. So I assume you are a lawyer. Explains a lot.

This reminds me of when I was in an argument with a lawyer where I said they shouldn't argue economic theory in their cases. One they were bad at it. Second that they should argue the law and assume that the legislature or God forbid regulatory agency had that argument when they wrote the law. Later the lawyer sent me a letter where they sent me some case where Scalia made a similar argument. I wish I had saved the note, that lawyer is now on the Supreme Court.

Look I'm sure you are a nice person. Kind to children and animals. But you clearly have no idea what I'm talking about. Draw the graph and ask Dennis.

I told you above I might bring this up with Dennis.

And, your response also did not address the optimization problem with time and carrying constraints.

I am sure you like your dog too, but that does not excuse calling people clueless, not responding to questions re optimization and constraints, or failing to clearly state what your position is. If you want to cite to any book with your graph I will look at it. But, I doubt you will be able to do so.

Also, Dan, since I don't know what lines you are talking about, post below any micro texts where those lines are described.

What you described is a consumption function: "Hint draw a graph with declining marginal utility and an asymptotic marginal cost curve. What level of consumption do you get?"

What I described was a production function subject to constraints of time and arm carrying capacity.

I don't understand your argument. And, I don't understand why you don't understand my son's comment: "Think they are stealing coats. Coats!!" Would you understand it better if they were stealing 50 bags of sand? Or, stealing 2 large items worth only $200 and there was a jewelry store down the street.

You're not clueless, You are just embarrassed and don't know the difference between a production function and a consumption function and alternative uses of time and carrying capacity.

Post below any pages in Dennis's book so that I can raise your argument with him.

Post below.

Like trying to explain an elephant to a blind man. Read Gary Becker on traffic congestion and root causes. Or google marginal analysis of traffic congestion. Look at the root causes. Looters are not irrational. they respond to incentives. Taking coats is not irrational and simple analysis in most into Micro books explains this. Sometimes the same type of analysis was used to explain the dangers of dime beer night at a baseball game in, I think, Cleveland. It is used as a humorous way to teach college freshmen the concept. I fear it would be lost on you.

But ask Dennis, he is a nice guy and has far more patience than me.

I live in Manhattan. It's definitely the police trying purposefully allowing looters, to teach their enemy De Blasio a lesson and conflate protest with looting. The police union = mafia. Horrid.

Funny, in the middle of criminals looting New York liberals still find a way to blame the police. I wonder why the cops even bother to take the job.

The answer is #2, although you can expand quite a bit on why they’re afraid to confront the looters. I don’t think they’re afraid of the looters, rather their afraid the public/courts will turn on them if they confront the looters.

Understandable given the very public support that political and cultural leaders (not to mention the general public) have given to the looters.

Honest question - who cares ? The damage from looting is what, tens of millions? Hundreds of millions? We have spent trillions since the pandemic started. We are taking a fraction of a fraction of a percent. Is this really a big deal? In fact it may stimulate the economy as repair people etc fix the damage.

Let's destroy your house and your employer and put your theory to a test. After all, you will be better off.

Lots of tough guys here that would be quick to call the police if they ever needed them or saw their favorite Starbucks getting lit up.

It doesn't take a thought experiment to believe that cops don't want to sacrifice their lives or limbs for a sense of duty to a careless bureaucracy, and they may indeed 'slow roll' things to make it to pension age.

Same thought process in the military. They will protect their partner, colleagues, squad-mate, battle buddy, and conduct honorable acts for each other but not to 'defend the homeland' or follow abstract notion of duty.

But maybe the police should go on strike for day as an act of solidarity with the Left and we can test the better angels of ourselves hypothesis.

There’s no conspiracy to allow looting. It’s very simple here in Chicago. Someone lights a fire, 911 call goes out, and the firemen are under assault. Police go in to protect, then the looters hit the district that’s been left unattended. This goes on for hours, all night, all over the city. Some looters are in on this scheme, many are opportunistic. They’ve even go around with 2-channel radio to call out unprotected locations. There were 50,000 excess 911 call on Sunday night to this effect. Throw in the usual shootings and car accidents, and you just cannot cover everything.

Oh, and all those fancy gunfire detectors they put all around the city? Set off some fireworks, and you’ve tied up a dispatcher and squad car for 20 minutes.

If black folks want freedom from police racism they'll have to first admit to then deal with their crime problem.

This fails in so many ways...

Preventing indiscriminate looting and rioting is hard. I live in Paris and watched the yellow west protests last year. There were 20,000 police officers on duty that used huge amounts of tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and water cannons to stop the riots and could not do it. There were not enough police to control the entire city, so the police had to follow the protesters. As soon as the police moved in in large numbers, the protesters simply dispersed and moved to another area nearby. Moreover, even making a single arrest can pin down dozens of police officers for 20 minutes (a few who are needed to pin down the suspect and a much larger number that is necessary to protect their colleagues). So in a nutshell, as long as you don't want to use lethal force, even 20,000 officers are not enough to protect a city.

P.S: Central Paris (Arrondissements I-XI) is roughly the same size as Manhattan south of Central Park.

Prob. too late to comment, but Tyler's an economist he should look at the incentives. Not necessarily the macro incentives or the conspiratorial game theory of cops allowing the looting for various reasons already covered but also the micro-incentives of individual cops or small units.

They are tired (lot of overtime lately I bet, maybe a financial incentive not to wind things down to quickly, tiny effect if any I'm sure) and also in a no-win situation. This is age of social media, anything they do is going to be picked apart, video cut in the most unfavorable (and favorable light then argued about) and mob outrage amplified on the internet when any mistake (real or perceived) is made.

In one example I've seen the same video cut three different ways (one short clip emphasizing the violence of the rioters beating the shit out of someone, then one defending them by showing the same clip with an additional 10 seconds prior with the victim behaving aggressively, then the same clip again with an additional 20 seconds before that showing the original rioters violently instigating the whole confrontation, who knows what happened in the 30 seconds before that). I've actually seen less doxing of people then I'd expected though I'm trying to not pay much attention to the riots, but in this environment you're putting yourself and family at risk from all kinds of unpleasantness and for what? I'd be pretty risk averse / cautious in that kind of situation too. I can look busy following some peaceful looking protesters around, or I can play russian roulette with my career and personal life while everything is under a microscope grabbing looters.

Look at this other video, cops roll up to situation potentially turning, handcuff everyone sort it out then let the good samaritans (half seriously, would they be 'vigilantes' if they were white? they were armed...) go. All the takes on this I've seen have been negative, the cops were racist in assuming the black people were looters etc. as if they are supposed to clairvoyantly know the armed people are fine or which people shouting at them they should believe. Awfully tempting to just keep driving...

Minneapolis city council member Steve Fletcher recently observed (on Twitter) that "the crisis we’re in this week has been an implied threat hanging over the city during union negotiations, discipline proceedings, and budget hearings for years."

Crisis is a bargaining tactic. Perhaps the police tolerate looting in order to drive up the cost of the crisis, making it a more powerful bargaining chip. Later the cops shall say "Look how much it cost you last time. Better fund us if you don't want that to happen again." It's a protection racket tactic.

Not very puzzling. law enforcement knows (1) the media will portray any use of force as excessive; (2) the blue state politicians et al won’t back them up; so (3) it’s career suicide to take any action. The logic of bureaucracy has infected the cop on the street.

That might be an answer to a generic question of "why don't the police act", but it fails in the current context - where the police are already using force against others.

The fact that you had to add an addendum to cover an obvious scenario explains the difference between bias and intelligence. Apparently you didn't notice the Santa Monica police tending towards breaking up peaceful protests while organized professional looters ran amok a few blocks away. Wake up already. All the IQ in the world and no self-awareness, it says a lot about our phony meritocracy, too.

Our police forces are full of cowards. Let's hire some patriotic Americans to become our future police and fire the overpaid right wing crybabies that do not protect and do not serve. IOW, a large minority of white police officers should be purged and the people who cry about getting rid of fascist elements in our security forces should be blacklisted. In the fight for the soul of the nation, Tyler Cowen remains on the sidelines, as usual.

This is one of the worst incidents I've seen. We have got to get these people out of this line of work.

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