It’s Time to Play the Game: All-In on a STRESS-free Detroit vs. Rudy’s Post-Dinkins NYC

PK Note: Sunday, the long-awaited article on Atlanta and The Walking Dead will be released on Sunday, in honor of the return to AMC of the hit zombie apocalypse show. Many of those who reside in the seemingly never-ending suburbs of the greater metro Atlanta-area exist in a momentary state of peace, though this safety is fleeting.


Since it’s Black History Month, a return of Black Fictional Heroes will commence on Thursday.

Your average cop in Detroit, post-STRESS

You may have noticed a trend growing here at Stuff Black People Don’t Like: an all-out assault on Detroit, the greatest representation of Actual Black Run America (ABRA) available for study.

No, not the Detroit that has come to symbolize the Big Three Automakers, entering our lexicon as some synonym for the combined fortunes of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. We aren’t talking about the Detroit that has been rebuilt in the Whitopia’s surrounding the city, a place where commerce lives on, school systems produce college-ready graduates, and innovation is a daily reminder of what was lost to The Motor City once the Black Riots of 1967 turned a majority white city, majority Black in less than five years.

Any discussion about the decline of Detroit – not the fortune of the Big Three motor companies, but of the 82 percent Black city – must have race at the center of the discussion.

Consider that 20 years, New York City under its first Black Mayor David Dinkins appeared headed to a similar fate as Detroit. It took the election of a proto- fascist Rudy Giuliani, who basically worked to resurrect the policing methods once implemented in cities with horrible rates of Black crime (hmm, think Detroit, where Black people in 1960, though only 26 percent of the overall population, were responsible for 65 percent of serious crime) to once again ensure that the City that Never Sleeps could rest peacefully when its citizens dared shut their eyes:

The book Violence in the Model City: The Cavanagh Administration, Race Relations, and the Detroit Riot of 1967 by Sidney Fine reports this on page 15:

It was crime and its association with blacks that triggered a major crisis in race relations in Detroit in 1960. Four days after the Civil Rights Commission concluded its hearings in the city, the Detroit News noted in an editorial that although blacks constituted 26 percent of the city’s population, they were responsible for almost 65 percent of its serious crimes. Asserting that the black community bore “a share of responsibility” for this fact, the News complained that the black leadership had “not pressed as hard” on this issues as it should have. “A wave of murders, rapes and purse snatching,” with blacks identified as the perpetrators, culminated that same month in the murder of a white nurse’s aide, a twenty-eight-year-old mother of three.

The policing methods implemented as a last ditch effort to maintain law and order in Detroit – where Black crime was tearing apart the social fabric of the city – were epitomized in a unit called STRESS: Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Stress:

In the 1960s and 1970s the Detroit Police Department was notorious for its violence, particularly against minority youth. One police unit, dubbed STRESS—Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets—carried out the execution-style killings of a more than a dozen black men in the space of a few years.

Coleman Young, the city’s first black mayor, was elected in 1973 by pledging to disband STRESS and integrate the police force. Young and other Democratic officials oversaw the appointment of black police chiefs and the hiring of thousands of minority officers. But as social inequality grew in the 1970s and 1980s—particularly as the mass layoffs and plant shutdowns in the auto industry turned Detroit into the poorest big city in America—Young strengthened the powers of the police and embraced the politics of law and order.

The Black Police Chiefs in Detroit, after the Black Riot of 1967 ended with the white abandonment of the city

Nothing like a little affirmative action to shake-things up, and make Detroit a STRESS-free city. Of course, Detroit became one of the world’s infamous cities for murder, crime, and other mayhem – courtesy of Black elements within the majority Black population – but had the fictional Black Detroit Detective Axel Foley of Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Beverly Hills Cop III (portrayed by Eddie Murphy) helping out the PR effort for the city.

As Detroit quickly became a majority Black city, a study was commissioned in 1973 by New Detroit, an organization founded in the ashes of the 1967 Black Riot, that showed 78 percent of white Detroit citizens approving of STRESS; 65 percent of Detroit’s Black citizens disapproved of STRESS.

Knowing that the dwindling Black population is resorting to vigilante justice or the hiring of private security firms – mercenaries – to stop criminality from being the No. 1 vocation and avocation in Detroit (with the embarrassingly inept affirmative-actioned majority Black Detroit police force incapable of providing even the basic fundamentals of protection), you have to wonder how many Black citizens would favor a return of STRESS.

How bad was affirmation action in Detroit, and what role did it play in dismantling the police department’s overall effectiveness? Well, the answer shouldn’t surprise you:  

Many police department entrance exams, especially in the prelitigation years, were aptitude tests akin to the verbal SAT. Detroit administered
a three-hour I.Q. test (the “Otis”) to applicants in the 1960s and into the 1970s.4 Over the same period, the District of Columbia used a civil service examination designed for positions in the federal bureaucracy. This test comprised 80 questions on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and analogies. These questions clearly measure aptitude, but are not related in any obvious way to police work.



African American applicants, historically as well as today, do not perform as well as white applicants on police department entrance examinations.  For example, in the Detroit, Michigan,exams of 1967 to 1971, the African American pass rate was 44.3 percent, and the white pass rate was 80.7 percent. The Memphis, Tennessee, tests administered from 1981 to 1989 had a similar impact on black applicants. The pass rate for whites was a high 96.7 percent, but that for African Americans was 69.2 percent.

So these tests might not have been related to police work, but judging by the inability of the majority Black police force in place in Detroit now (all of whom were afforded the right to their position based on their race, and not their sterling academic credentials) you can see they were important.

But what was most important for Mayor Coleman Young was the removal (in his quest to remake the Detroit police in his own corrupt image) of the nefarious applicant tests that potential Black police officers – all across the nation – had trouble passing:

In New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, New Orleans, San Francisco, and other cities, theyfiled lawsuits on size and height requirements for new recruits, on the content of entrance and promotion examinations, and on patrol assignments. They demanded to be hired in greater numbers. Their gains were impressive: in 1972 there were only 7 women in the United States assigned to patrol work; by 1974 there were 900, and women made up 4 percent of police forces in cities and towns throughout the
country. Advocates of affirmative action on the basis of race claimed even more success. In Chicago, for example, the percentage of blacks on the force climbed from 13 percent in 1962 to over 20 percent by the late 1970s. In Washington, D.C., it went from 13 to 42 percent, and in San Francisco, from 2 to 20 percent in the same period. In the 1970–1990 period blacks accounted for 41 percent of all new police hires nationwide. By the end of the 1980s, 130 cities in the United States had black police chiefs, including New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Houston.

Now you can begin to understand why crime is so bad in all of these cities. But in Detroit, it all goes back to STRESS and what Mayor Coleman Young – that fighting Tuskegee Airmen – did to the city’s police force. In Bridging the River of Hatred:The Pioneering Efforts of Detroit Police Commissioner George Edwards, author Mary Stolberg practically orgasms in writing about the removal of embedded white racism in the Detroit police force, and its replacement of an affirmative-actioned, Disingenuous White Liberal (DWL) approved Black force:

Wayne County Sheriff Roman Gribbs replaced Cavanagh in the mayor’s seat. After tow years in office, Gribbs instituted a controversial undercover, anticrime campaign called Stope the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets (STRESS). Critics complained that the STRESS program’s unorthodox tactics, including the use of decoys, unfairly targeted African-Americans. Other problems exacerbated objections to STRESS. As author William Rich wrote, “During a thirty-month period in the early 1970s, there were an estimated four hundred warrantless police raids and twenty-two related deaths (mostly of blacks). Detroit had the highest number of civilian killings per capita of any American police force.” Just as they had in 1961, police excesses galvanized the city’s African-American voters behind Coleman Young, who won the 1973 mayoral race. 


Significant change in the department also came with passage of the City Charter of 1973, which gave more impetus to Edward’s belief in civilian control of the police department. Under the new system, the commissioner was replaced by a board of five commissioners appointed by the mayor and approved by city council. A chief replaced the superintendent. To appease worried white Detroiters, Young appointed Douglas Fraser of the UAW to chair the police board. He also retained FBI Agent Phillip Tannian as police chief. To meet supporters demands, Young appointed Frank Blount, an African American, as deputy chief. Three months into office he disbanded the STRESS program. 


Like Edwards, Young recognized the importance of recruiting and promoting more black officers. In September 1975, he appointed Detroit’s first African-American police chief, William Hart. In 1991, when Hart was convicted for embezzlement and sentenced to prison, Young replaced him with another African American, Stanley Knox. 


Young also moved quickly to hire black officers. The department opened recruitment offices in inner-city neighborhoods and scrapped test that smacked of racial bias. (PK NOTE: one that Black people disproportionately failed, like in Dayton, Ohio now)

Young also called for enforcement of the city’s residency requirement and instated an affirmative action program that required promotion of one black officer for every white officer promoted. His efforts eventually bore fruit. By 1990, Detroit was far ahead of of the nation’s other large cities; its force was 58.7 percent African American. The next closet was Philadelphia, where 25.7 percent of police were black.

Wait a second: doesn’t Detroit’s proud majority Black police force still lead the nation in both rates of police brutality and police killings? The only variable that changed was Black police officers shooting Black criminals, instead of white cops shooting the Black criminals that made so many DWLs and representatives of Organized Blackness irate.

So STRESS wasn’t that bad after all. It was just a last ditch effort to save the city from the Black criminality that now occupies all seats of government power, frightens away investors, and, more importantly, keep Black criminals on the streets in check.

NYC faced a similar crisis back in the earlier 1990s.

Isn’t the application of STRESS in New York City basically what saved the city?:

New York’s Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani waged his successful campaign in 1993 on an aggressive law and order platform. A former federal prosecutor, he denounced the Democratic incumbent, David Dinkins, as soft on crime. In office, Giuliani’s proudest boast has been the declining crime rate, which he attributed to his “get tough” policy.

By the way, getting tough on crime means getting tough on racial minorities, because they represent the groups most likely to be criminals:

The color of murder and gun violence in New York

Lo and behold, Capehart learned something he apparently hadn’t known before: Blacks and Hispanics commit essentially all the violent crime in New York. They are also the most likely crime victims.
Capehart quoted the report for 2010 directly:
“Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter victims are most frequently Black (67.0%) or Hispanic (28.1%). White victims account for (3.2%) of all Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter victims while Asian /Pacific Islanders account for (1.8%) of all Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter victims. The race/ethnicity of known Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter suspects mirrors the victim population with Black (65.3%) and Hispanic (30.6%) suspects accounting for the majority of suspects. White suspects account for (1.8%) of all Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter suspects while Asian/Pacific Islanders accounted for (2.4%) of the known Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter suspects.
“The Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter arrest population is similarly distributed. Black arrestees (53.8%) and Hispanic arrestees (36.4%) account for the majority of Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter arrestees while White arrestees (7.1%) and Asian/Pacific Islander (2.2%) arrestees account for the remaining portions of the Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter arrest population.”[PDF]
Seeing the news so starkly distressed Capehart. He writes:
“In short, 95.1 percent of all murder victims and 95.9 percent of all shooting victims in New York City are black or Hispanic. And 90.2 percent of those arrested for murder and 96.7 percent of those arrested for shooting someone are black and Hispanic. I don’t even know where to begin to describe the horror I still feel looking at those numbers. But the word ‘hunted’ comes to mind.”
Detroit’s police force is the Blackest in the nation (thanks to affirmative action): Police usage of lethal force didn’t change

New York City could have ended up like Detroit (though the only criminals left in NYC – it seems – share a common bond with Detroit’s majority population), but instead of capitulating to ABRA, the citizens of The Big Apple rejected it.

For those failing cities where Black crime is driving away white residents, businesses, and investors – think Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, Birmingham, Richmond, etc. – understand that being STRESS-free is only a precursor to becoming another full-fledged Detroit.

It’s that simple.

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