Two men who teach about criminal justice are speaking out about the use of the word “looting” to describe the ongoing crime spree by groups of individuals who are breaking in o luxury retailers in California to steal merchandize – claiming the term is a racist.
“Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something,” Lorenzo Boyd, a professor of criminal justice & community policing at the University of New Haven and a former police office, told ABC 7.
“We tend not to use that term for other people when they do the exact same thing,’ Boyd said.
Martin Reynolds, co-executive director of the Robert C. Maynard Institute of Journalism Education, also lashed out at using the term because it signals “the depiction of the flash mobs running roughshod through the aisles of Louis Vuitton and other retailers.”
Owen reacts to recent footage of looting in California and analyzes the criminal psychology taking place in Democrat cities.
“This seems like it’s an organized smash and grab robbery,’ Reynolds said. “This doesn’t seem like looting. We’re thinking of scenarios where first responders are completely overwhelmed. And folks often may be on their own.”
The U.K.’s Daily Mail reported on the semantics debate:
Their comments come after at least seven robberies involving gangs with as many as 50 thieves ransacked California stores, and each individual could avoid heavy criminal charges due to the state’s 2014 law dictating that anyone caught shoplifting items whose value does not exceed $950 would be only charged with misdemeanors.
Some experts fear that the law is being abused by organized crime rings who might be the true masterminds behind the gang of thieves, paying the low-level criminals to commit mass crimes for them in exchange for a slap on the wrist.
The distinction in terminologies originates from the California penal code, which defines looting as ‘theft or burglary… during a ‘state of emergency,’ ‘local emergency’ or ‘evacuation order resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot or other natural or manmade disaster.’ The term ‘looting’ gained infamy when it was predominately used to describe black survivors of Hurricane Katrina who stole water and other basic goods from local stores to survive through the aftermath of the storm.