Cops and the Crisis of Confidence

On Capitol Hill on Thursday, Republican Representative Trey Gowdy spent the morning probing FBI Director James Comey to explain the contradictory logic that led him to implicate Hillary Clinton in recklessly endangering American national security but not recommending her indictment. In Gowdy’s view, Comey had led Americans to conclude there is a “double track justice system” in the United States; one for the powerful and famous and another for the rest of us. The presumption of a two-tiered system is a familiar one for millions of African-Americans. Rightly or not, many black Americans fear that they or their loved ones may become the targets of unnecessary police violence simply because of their backgrounds. These are two chapters in the same story—it tells a tale of a society-wide crisis of confidence in American institution and leadership.