Question: Have the murders increased because police are backing away from aggressive law enforcement for fear of being prosecuted?
Yes, I think so. Even the worst of the thugs has some degree of self-interest, an awareness of the level of deterence that he faces. But even stronger, I suspect, would be a "social sanction" and a "moral sanction." The BlackLivesMatters movement adds to the social environment surrounding an anti-cop attitude and gives a sense of belonging for those thugs. They become brothers and sisters in a movement. And even the president himself has spoken of blacks as victims, and of law enforcement as a system suspect of institutional racism, and this entire progressive use of race as an element of identity politics generates a sense of "moral sanction" for those thugs. Progressivism is guilty of using race - of generating racial division - of agitating and angering many in the black community - all for votes. They choose to use law enforcement as a wedge issue in their pursuit of an angry racial base. Progressives do carry a degree of guilt.
I worked for Los Angeles County Department of Children's Services (child protective services) for about 5 years. Most of my cases were in the worst areas of South Central Los Angeles and in some of the ugliest of the projects. I was stunned at how totally ruined some lives were: crack whores, ex-cons, zombie-like addicts, angry tatoo-covered gang members, etc. When you got to know them a bit you could see the regular person deep inside - often they didn't seem like a monster anymore.... more like a life gone beyond repair. But the vast majority of the people in the exact same neighborhood weren't just good people, but often they were more generous, and more upstanding than average. It was as if they had felt from an early age that "doing right" was of driving importance.
They remind me of the story the presidential candidate, Ben Carson, tells. He grew up in an ugly part of Detroit and his mother would force him to read books to occupy him so that he couldn't get into trouble and because she believed education was the key to getting out of the ghetto. He had to write a book report for each book and give it to his mother, even through she couldn't read. He credits her, and that start, with his ending up as the chief of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
The abused kids I worked with were mostly struggling with the question of "What did I do wrong? I promise I'll be good." That broke your heart. There weren't that many good case workers - they felt the stresses and burned out early. The ones that stayed on, for the most part, weren't very good. They avoided making a difference and focused on their retirement. It seemed that the higher you looked up in the chain of command the more you saw CYA behaviors and zero concern for really dealing with the problems. But, I'm rambing on.
What I wanted to say is that race, in black neighborhoods is like a fracture line each of the residents carries to some degree. Most work extra hard to strengthen a sense of personal worth. When you see that you feel admiration for that person, and a sorrow that they should have to deal with this idiocy of skin color. Others crack open by making bad choices and giving in to the neurotic defenses, the escapism, and uglier motives.
As a culture, we were nearing the point where being color-blind was on the horizon - we could see it - maybe only a generation or so away. Then the progressives come along with their base belief that no means is immoral if it moves them closer to attaining more power. They mine that fracture-line seeking any wedge issue that agitates, angers, divides, and create a more chaotic social/political environment for them to manuver in. They should be sentenced to live in one of those projects, on the welfare payments they've put in place, along-side the thugs and gang members and violence their policies have encouraged.