Let's see some guts, Mayor Mitchell. The New Bedford Police Department is under attack by a left-wing collection of Boston-based social warriors. Will you stand with the police, or will you kneel?

The group Citizens for Juvenile Justice has released a report entitled "We Are The Prey: Racial Profiling and Policing of Youth in New Bedford" that portrays our police department as a collection of yahoo racists hellbent on picking on minority kids. CFJJ and the equally progressive Boston Globe say the local police, primarily 10 officers, most of whom belong to the gang unit, focus unfairly on Black and Latino youth.

CJJJ spokesman Leon Smith told the Globe, "There are clear and significant patterns of racial bias in policing in the city of New Bedford."

"That biased policing really creates an oppressive environment for young people who are growing up in that city and are being watched and surveilled constantly," Smith said.


The report cites 5,000 "field incident reports" as proof of this harassment but fails to mention, as New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro told the paper, the incident reports "are not necessarily indicative of a physical interaction involving the police; for example, they typically reflect observations conducted from a distance or even via social media."

The report is junk, designed to divide the city along racial lines. The Boston Globe was only too happy to share that junk with a titillating headline that suggests New Bedford cops are looking to make life miserable for minority youth.

The police go where the crime is. If more attention is being paid to Black and Latino youth in certain neighborhoods, we should find out why those communities are struggling with higher crime rates.

The people demand a safer city and a vigilant police department – and that goes for the majority in the poor and minority neighborhoods.

Citizens for Juvenile Justice is an anti-police, pro-illegal alien non-profit. They oppose School Resource Officers and want to end the Clinton Administration's policy of placing police officers in public housing, among other things. They even suggest that officials in New Bedford are attempting to drive minorities away through gentrification.

By attacking the police department, the CFJJ is attacking the people of New Bedford. The police officers come from and are a reflection of our neighborhoods. They are us. The image the CFJJ paints of the people of New Bedford is not who we are. Not even close. Groups like the CFJJ hope to create division in otherwise peaceful communities as a way to advance a radical agenda.

Mayor Jon Mitchell, I challenge you to stand up to CFJJ and stand with your police department. It takes one strong leader to reject the politics of division to set the dominoes in motion. Be that leader, Mayor Mitchell. Stand with your police department. Stand with your community and reject this CFJJ report for the garbage it is. This is not a time for kneeling.

Do you have the guts to defend your community, Mr. Mayor?

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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