Ronald Wilson Aims To Unseat PBA's Pat Lynch -- Would Be First Black Cop As Union Chief

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Pat Lynch blind to the facts -- feeling the heat as another candidate seeks his job

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Last week, NYPD Officer Ronald Wilson announced he would be running to unseat the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch whose repulsive behavior has alienated many New Yorkers, and police officers, paving the way for the possibility that he could be unseated in June's PBA Union Elections.

Officer Wilson, 50, who is a 28-year veteran of the NYPD, declared last Thursday his intent to run for the position held by Mr. Lynch. Wilson stated the PBA leadership had “lost touch” with the needs of rank-and-file police officers. A major sticking point for many officers is the fact that Mr. Lynch has been unable to secure a new contract for them in several years.

A union does three things: better salary, better benefits and a safer working environment,” Wilson told The New York Daily News. He also claimed the PBA leadership “don’t come out to the precincts, only for elections.”

Ironically, like the empty lip-service given about supporting veterans, politicians talk a lot about “supporting our police officers,” but, apparently don’t see the wisdom with providing police with proper pay so New York City can attract the best most capable and responsible people to be police officers.

And the consequence of not having competent—and caring—people as police is evident in Black neighborhoods where young men are targeted and harassed, all too often, by trigger-happy bigoted brutes who eventually end up killing innocent civilians.

The behavior of both Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mr. Lynch— and their callous insensitivity to how Black people who’ve been abused, and killed, feel—is illustrative of why far too many White cops behave the way they do. These folks don'’t seem to realize the awful signals they send regarding how they view the humanity of Black people.

Those who represent the image of the NYPD should be people whose conduct are not so obviously objectionable.

Officer Wilson isn’t the only one looking to unseat Mr. Lynch. Recently, Officer Brian Fusco spoke to a gathering of police officers, at an Irish pub, in Queens about why he intends to topple Mr. Lynch. “"No one'’s hearing your issues,"” Mr. Fusco told The Daily News. “"No one'’s hearing your complaints."

”Officer Fusco, 47, has been a police officer for 27 years—and has been a union trustee for a many years.

The challenges now formulating in opposition to the presidency of Mr. Lynch, in power since 1999, may lead to a step in the right direction —but that remains to be seen. Mr. Lynch surely didn’t do rank-and-file NYPD officers any favor with his belligerent bully-boy behavior which wasn’t a good representation of the "“courtesy, professionalism, respect"” phrase that the NYPD likes to tout.In fact, Mr. Lynch'’s penchant for saying idiotically dangerous things doesn’t help elevate the image of the NYPD. For example, his moronic claim, after two police officers were killed in Brooklyn, about “blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor” was repulsive and ridiculous. The transparent attempts to silence peaceful protesters who want fundamental change to rein in violence-prone cops must be denounced.

It could have also been interpreted as a signal for some deranged police supporter to harm mayor Bill de Blasio.

Unfortunately, in recent months, we have witnessed several high-ranking NYPD officials speak in a manner that makes it clear they have no respect for the First Amendment rights of those who have good reason to protest the actions of cops who are killing unarmed civilians with impunity. Besides Mr. Lynch, Commissioner Bill Bratton also made the specious claim that the killing of the two police officers were a “direct spinoff” of the protests, which is clearly absurd.

And last month, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Edward Mullins said “"The mayor needs to be humble. He needs to realize that his philosophical view of coming into the role of mayor of New York [his] personal view is not the view of eight million people. And he needs to tone that in a different way, channel it into some type of an apology.”"

The mayor apologize when it was police officers who turned their backs against the elected commander in chief? How preposterous.

Sgt. Mullins, and his ilk, seem to forget Mayor de Blasio was elected by constituents who voted him into office to clean up things like the racist abusive practices that have unfairly targeted Black and Latino New Yorkers, under the guise of enforcing “law and order.”

They didn't elect him for more of the Lynch-Mullins callousness towards the communities most victimized by bad policing.

African Americans want secure neighborhoods and good policing; the trade off can't be tolerating police brutality or racist cops. It was Commissioner Bratton himself who last October denounced bigoted cops who shouldn't be on the NYPD.

But it’s crystal clear that the powerful forces in the NYPD want to continue the business-as-usual police practices that harass and criminalize African-Americans and, ever so often, ends up with an innocent Black man lying dead in the streets; as was the case with Eric Garner.

Some seem to be pushing for the elevation of Mr. Fusco to replace Mr. Lynch. However, we should keep in mind Officer Fusco has been on the inside of the police union for some time and we can only wonder how much different he would be in leading this union. Would his ascendance bring change in a real meaningful way to rank-and-file officers? Would his policy positions and posture make more New Yorkers—especially Black people—feel more confident and trustful of police officers?

The truth is: Black people in New York City have every right to question the integrity of those now running the NYPD. Think of it, who among the NYPD brass can we say carried themselves with honor and trustful integrity in recent times and during the recent protests? Commissioner Bratton? Mr. Lynch? Mr. Mullins?

The fact of the matter is until someone in the NYPD steps up and admits that there is a serious problem, with respect to racist policing, Black and Brown New York City residents will not be able to trust any of the rhetoric coming from the NYPD.

And, if the Director of the FBI, James Comey, admits racism has caused in terms of policing communities of color what's to stop Bratton on elaborating on what Comey spoke about?

Which leader on the NYPD have we heard honestly admitting that there is a problem with racial profiling? Do they really think they can just pretend or wish away the problem of police prejudice?

Some have been touting the "diversity" of the NYPD—, especially, from those times when it was dominated by White men, largely of Irish descent. The NYPD was 80% White 50 years ago.

Yet in reality the numbers still don't add up. While Black folk make up over 25% of New York City's residents they only make up 17% of the NYPD. What's more, of the recent graduating class of 891 new recruits, the ethnic breakdown was embarrassing: White 45%; Latino 20%; Asian 10%; and, Black 7%. Council Members Jumaane Williams and  Vanessa L. Gibson issued a statement deploring these figures.

And what about diversity among the police brass and among those who write police policy? Do they think token diversity is enough in New York City?

There have been several former Black and Latino officers that have been forthright in acknowledging that there is a problem in the NYPD with racism. But the accounts of these officers—some of whom have been victims of Stop-and-Frisk, and a few who spoke of having guns pulled on them—have been ignored. But would the concerns of these Black and Latino officers be ignored if New York City had real diversity among those who write policy in the NYPD?

If Officer Wilson were to become the new PBA chief he would become the first Black officer to achieve this. That reality alone points to the problem in of itself. And we should ask ourselves this: how many Blacks and Latinos are asked to sit at the table where the police hierarchy make decisions that affect the lives of all the people in the city?

It should be a forgone conclusion that New York City’s police should be diverse from top to bottom. There is a direct line between the racial policing problems that became visible because of the police protests after Ferguson and the callous and clueless people who we see as the face of police.

For that reason alone, it will be interesting to see if Officer Wilson can convince enough police to make him the next PBA leader.

 

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