The New York Police Department is the nation’s largest and the most pissed off at their boss, Mayor Bill De Blasio. Following the killing of two cops by an assassin as they sat in their car, the police and their unions lashed out against De Blasio blaming him for creating a hostile environment placing their lives at risk. I get it the cops are angry at the mayor. What I don’t get is how with that anger, how the police can expect respect when they don’t show any?
De Blasio requested the protests to suspend so that the funerals would not be politicized. The police union should have done likewise. All protests aren’t nearly the same thing. Most protests have a point. This was a public tantrum by the cops as much as any sort of “protest.” There’s a right time and right place for everything. In this time and this place where contemptuous cops who exploited the funeral of Officer Ramos to turn their backs and show their asses wasn’t it.
This whole “it’s a cop thing and you wouldn’t understand” thing is a crock. Cops have the same rights as anybody else. They can protest to their little hearts content and when they do they can be called out on it.
Same. As. Anyone. Else.
Officer Ramos wasn’t even in the fucking ground before the cops decided to try to show up the mayor. De Blasio showed more respect and class for the slain officers than his supposed brothers in blue did by pulling the kind of stunt had Rev. Sharpton done it he would be roundly condemned for.
It might be relevant to go back to what was actually said by De Blasio that so royally pissed off the police unions. The flash point seems to have been the comments made by the mayor in the wake of the Eric Garner decision about “the talk” and his wife, Chirlane have had with his 17-year-old son, Dante on how to deal with encounters with the police.
This is profoundly personal to me. I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens. And I said to him, I did.
Because Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face. A good young man, law-abiding young man who would never think to do anything wrong. And yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we’ve had to literally train him—as families have all over this city for decades—in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.
And that painful sense of contradiction that our young people see first, that our police are here to protect us, and we honor that, and at the same time, there’s a history we have to overcome, because for so many of our young people, there’s a fear. And for so many of our families, there’s a fear.
So I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane’s had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities—crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods—but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.
That’s the reality.
That’s outrageous! How dare the mayor suggest even his son’s life is at risk?
The impression Bill de Blasio was trying to make is his son will be seen first as a Black male and that precludes all other considerations. The impression Dante de Blasio should be aware of is Blacks are stopped, searched, arrested and imprisoned at rates higher than other races. Dante should know the incarceration rate for Blacks is six times higher than the national average.
However, what Dante should really worry about isn’t so much isn’t simply being stopped and frisked, handcuffed, jailed and sent to prison as it is Black male teens are 21 more times more likely to be shot than a White male teen. These facts are shrugged off as an unfortunate side effect of Blacks simply committing crimes disproportionate to their numbers in the overall population. Rudy Giuliani on Fox News have referenced this phenomenon and the implication could not be clearer: White cops shoot Black suspects because so many Black suspects are committing crimes.
Where this oversimplification falls apart are the “crimes” committed by Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice or John Crawford were trivial at best or in the case of Akai Gurley, no crime at all was committed
Putting on a badge doesn’t grant any extra rights to the police and pointing it doesn’t make someone a cop hater for doing so. Some defenders of the cops are incapable of distinguishing between criticism and disrespect.
No cop who thinks his authority to kill makes him untouchable, unquestionable and above criticism deserves respect. In fact, they don’t even deserve to be a cop.
The protestors marching in the streets of New York didn’t kill the two officers. Ismaaily Brinsley did that but by latching on Eric Garner’s death as the excuse to commit double-homicide (and nearly triple as he first shot his ex-girlfriend), it provides an opening for anyone looking an opening to discredit the protestors and repudiate the criticism directed at the police to say, “Look what you made happen!”
Such shrill charges are bullshit. The protests aren’t happening in a vacuum. They are in reaction to grotesque acts of police brutality and a justice system which time and again declines to hold officers responsible for it.
In fact, I don’t consider the protests to be “anti-cop.” That’s generalizing. The protests are anti-BAD cop. Citizens unhappy with how they are being served and protected are well within their rights to air their grievances and demand bad cops be held accountable.
Any cop who doesn’t think they should be held accountable has an option: quit! There’s always work for security guards.