One day last fall, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, appeared on “Meet the Press” to talk about the tense relationship between many African-American communities and the police departments charged with protecting them. In Ferguson, Missouri, the governor had declared a state of emergency as a grand jury considered whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American. (In the end, Wilson was not indicted.) Chuck Todd, the host, asked about white officers patrolling African-American neighborhoods, but Giuliani wanted to talk about crime, not punishment. “I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that ninety-three per cent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks,” he said, adding, “It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.” The next day, on Fox News, Giuliani said that protesters who chanted “Black lives matter!” should be supporting police officers, not demonizing them. He suggested that the people who really valued black lives were people like him, who worked to reduce the African-American murder rate. “When I came into office, thousands of blacks were being killed every year,” he said. “By the time I left office, it was down to about two hundred.”
These comments inspired a backlash, but they were not, in themselves, surprising. Giuliani has never evinced much sympathy for critics of the police….