Abolish the Police? Harlem Residents Weigh In

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

If there’s one thing the mainstream media is good at, it’s creating an “us vs. them” narrative at whatever cost necessary. More often than not, that cost is the truth, so we’re lucky to have people like Ami Horowitz to suss out some of the finer details.

Recently, Horowitz asked people around New York City about the recent leftist move to abolish police. The first batch of interviewees are white liberals who are gung-ho about the whole thing– one man contends that the black community (because of course there’s only one) would be “infinitely” better without police, and another woman suggests everyone would be. So. . . I guess points for equality?

“I’d rather have something that doesn’t work without them than what we currently have, which is something that doesn’t work with them,” another man says. “I think that they are disgusting . . . I f***ing hate the police.”

Yeah, I’d be butt hurt too if I got fined for hitting a bong at a party in the woods (which this guy looks like he does professionally).

When Horowitz asked the same subjects how anti-police they think the black communities in question are, they seemed confident that they were on the same page. When one man is asked how people in, say, East Harlem feel about police, he responds, “Probably the same way I feel about them, you know? Probably worse.”

The consensus is clear: Abolish the police for the sake of black lives. But then Horowitz actually takes the important step that the media has unilaterally elected not to. He actually went to East Harlem and asked what they thought about police.

To say it is completely opposite from what CNN would have you believe is. . . an understatement.

“What do you think of people who say, oh, your community would be better off if there were police?” Horowitz asks, and the responses are resolute.

“I’d say their full of crap,” one man says, and the (slightly more diplomatic) woman with him responds, “I think they’re being somewhat ignorant.”

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“Crazy,” “havoc,” and “suicide” were other words used to describe the impact abolishing the police would have on the community. Words to describe the police included “necessary,” “respect,” and “invested.”

“My son, he’s eight now, he wants to be a police,” one man says. “I want to push him to be a police.”

“You’ve got some of them [police officers] that really care about the people and really want to help the people,” another says.

Now, obviously videos like this one are edited to create a cohesive narrative. I’m sure Horowitz talked to some white liberals who did not want to abolish the police and black Harlem residents who did. The people in this video don’t speak for their race or their community any more than the talking heads on CNN do.

But their voices are out there and they are valid. They should be heard. As unique individuals in complex communities across an enormous country, they should be heard. I’m glad we had the chance to listen.