It must be difficult for members of an organization with unquestioned authority and free rein to use force to hear that a higher power is going to review and reform their tactics. That is precisely why, even before two New York police officers were brutally murdered, the NYPD was angry with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. The NYPD’s ire was nearly out-of-control when de Blasio reacted like any respectable human being at the decision to praise the officers responsible for strangling unarmed Eric Garner for the high-crime of selling loose cigarettes instead of holding them responsible for Garner’s untimely death. Now, after turning their backs on the Mayor when he eulogized one of the slain officers and booing him at a graduation ceremony, they are staging a serious work slowdown the New York Post is equating to a work stoppage.
Since the shootings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) and the police unions called for the slowdown to protest the Mayor’s alleged assault on the NYPD. Apparently, the unions are upset over what they perceive to be anti-police rhetoric by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio because he failed to praise their racial profiling tactics or the killing of Eric Garner. According to the PBA and unions, the work slowdown is a protest against de Blasio and frightened protestors asking the police to act like public servants; not German Brownshirts. In an attempt to assuage the NYPD’s petulant anger, the mayor and NYPD Police Commissioner Bratton are holding an emergency summit with the leaders of New York’s five police unions to try to mend a rift between the city administration and police rank-and file.
Although the PBA and the unions have told their members not to do their jobs out of safety concerns, many cops claim the work slowdown is to protest de Blasio’s response to the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police involved in the strangulation death of Eric Garner. Because of the police job slowdown there has been a dramatic drop in arrests in New York City after union leaders and the PBA called for a work “slowdown.” According to the New York Post, arrests are down 66% overall, drug arrests are down by 84%, and summons and tickets for minor offenses are down by 94% since last year.
PBA president Patrick Lynch is an echo chamber for Fox News and right-wing racists who have politicized the two slain officers and pointed blame in the direction of Mayor de Blasio, Ferguson and New York protestors, President Obama, and Attorney General Eric Holder. Police were furious with de Blasio before he was mayor because he campaigned, and won, on reforming the NYPD’s racist tendencies to relieve tension between law enforcement and the community after years of the purely racially-motivated practice of “stop and frisk.” Add to that Mayor de Blasio’s failure to give medals for bravery and heroism to the cops responsible for choking unarmed Eric Garner to death for selling loose cigarettes, and it is obvious why racist police officers went ballistic.
According to Lynch, “There’s blood on many hands tonight: those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.” Now, according to Lynch, the NYPD is a “wartime police department” that will “act accordingly.” He has called on the rank-and-file to sign an emotionally manipulative letter that would ban their ultimate boss, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, from attending the officers’ funerals; it is not the first edict demanding the Mayor stay away from police.
Since Lynch’s tirade against De Blasio, the Mayor has faced open hostility from some NYPD police officers and their unions. On Saturday, disrespectful police officers outside Christ Tabernacle Church for officer Ramos’ funeral turned their backs to the church as de Blasio spoke. The NYPD Police Commissioner rightly denounced the protest of rank-and-file officers saying the officers’ actions were completely inappropriate and highly politicized the slain officer’s funeral. “This is a mayor who cares very deeply about New York police officers, cares very deeply about the divide in the city and is working hard to heal that divide;” but that is exactly why a preponderance of the NYPD is so angry at de Blasio. The police want the divide firmly in place with them in a position of unquestioned power, and that includes over the Mayor, Police Commissioner, and anyone they even think may get in their way. They are after all, according to their own power and stated objective a “wartime police department” and they “will act accordingly.”
To be fair, not all NYPD officers hold the majority opinion that African Americans exist as targets for law enforcement. It was reported here a few days ago that many African American officers fear other (white) cops, and one spoke at length about an issue that served to enrage white NY police officers. Officer Adhyl Polanco reiterated what Mayor de Blasio shared with New Yorkers about having a conversation with his son in how best to deal, or fear and avoid, interaction with police officers devoted to racial profiling.
Officer Polanco said, “How can a parent who has a black child, how can a parent that has seen millions of kids being stopped by stop-and-frisk, how can the parents of kids see black kids get killed by police over and over, how can parents that see kids being summonsed illegally, being arrested in their own building for trespassing, and getting treatment that they don’t deserve that they get from the police department, how can you not responsibly have that conversation with your son? You have to. I’m a police officer. And I’ve been thrown against the wall off-duty, because they have the same mentality that Patrick Lynch has, and as an officer I’ve been shown no respect.”
Polanco ended his emotional tirade disabusing many police officers, Republicans, Fox News pundits, and racists of the idea that protestors, President Obama, Eric Holder, or Mayor de Blasio are anti-police. He said, “People are not protesting against police. People are not protesting people who go out there and do their job every day. They’re not saying these officers shouldn’t be in the street. People are protesting against bad policies that have been in this country for many, many, many years.” Clearly, it is those bad policies that many, many, many police officers are fighting desperately to keep in place which is why PBA President Patrick Lynch issued the warning that the “New York Police Department is now a ‘wartime police department’ that will ‘act accordingly.'”
As many Americans have already witnessed over the past six months, it appears that the preponderance of local law enforcement believe they are “now wartime police departments” and they have already “acted accordingly” as Americans were unfortunate to see in Ferguson Missouri. Mayor de Blasio should do the right thing for New York residents and summarily terminate, with extreme prejudice, any officer clinging to the notion that they are engaged in a war against their superiors or law-abiding citizens, and not public servants paid to protect and serve; not assault and dominate.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.