Can Cuomo And De Blasio Stand Up To Thuggery By Some NYPD Officers?

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Cuomo and de Blasio -- civilians must control the police not vice versa

[Speaking Truth To Power]

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said NYPD officers who turned their backs on him at the funerals of the two slain officers were “disrespectful to the families involved.”

If the mayor, rightly, sees this action by these officers, at the funeral of their fallen brothers in Blue, as “disrespectful,” what kind of behavior does he think these type of officers exhibit in their daily interaction with the citizenry—especially, those who are African-American.

At a Monday press conference, de Blasio issued his first public criticism at those officers who turned their backs on him at the funerals of Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu, both of who were killed on Dec. 20 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley—a mentally disturbed and suicidal individual.

"Those individuals who took certain actions the last two weeks, they were disrespectful to the families involved. That's the bottom line," de Blasio said at a police headquarters’ news conference. "I can't understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that."

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who is seemingly standing by Mayor de Blasio, claims he was “very disappointed” by the actions of the officers who engaged in protesting the mayor by turning their backs on him. Reportedly, the commissioner had asked the officers to refrain from turning their backs on the mayor.

"A funeral is not the place for that," Bratton said. "Come demonstrate outside City Hall. Come demonstrate outside police headquarters. But don't put on your uniform, go to a funeral and engage in a political action."

The conduct of these officers is in fact part of the reason why many are protesting for concrete fundamental change in the way police operate. We often see the moniker—and oath—that police are supposed to live up to: “to protect and serve.” In New York, squad cars are emblazoned with the words “courtesy, professionalism, respect.”

Those are beautiful words. But the reality is that far too many NYPD officers do not exhibit these qualities when they are dealing with those in the public who’ve been marginalized—especially if they’re African-American. And that is just an inescapable fact.

On Saturday, at the funeral of Officer Liu, Governor Cuomo said "We have to stop the fighting within the family, and we have to come together as the family of New York and stand strong."

But the awful fact is African-Americans have never been accepted as part of the “family”—and the police are often used as tools to remind Black America of that truth. As a “progressive” Democrat, we should’ve expected Governor Cuomo to summon some brutal honesty—something his father was sometimes known for—on the racial questions that confront Black New Yorkers. Sweet statements and speeches—devoid of substance—is just not good enough anymore.

Shouldn’t the governor tell us what he is doing to better the economic situation behind much of the crime problem in Black communities? Where are the programs to bring better economic development?

Ever notice whenever political actors, even so-called White “progressives,” talk about crime, with respect to African-American communities, that no serious sustained focus is ever placed on the bread-and-butter economic issues that plague Black America? As if those problems will just disappear and have no bearing on desperate conditions, and activities, in those communities.

Mayor de Blasio has called for healing. Does this “healing” include African-Americans?

If African-Americans continue to be abused and murdered by some White police officers—and no one in government remedies this—how is their going to be any healing without fundamental fairness and justice? Will Mayor de Blasio now be silent on addressing issues of racist police brutality by some cops because of the actions of these rude officers who turned their backs on him? Clearly they are trying to intimidate him.

The juvenile conduct of these officers highlights just how bad the problem really is.

If these officers can brazenly disrespect Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton—assuming you really believe Bratton’s claim that he’s against the actions of these officers—then why act surprised when citizens complain of their abusive treatment by the hands of NYPD officers?

If officers have no compunction in disrespecting the mayor, and police commissioner for god sakes, how do you expect them to behave when they are dealing with regular people?

Is this the kind of “courtesy, professionalism and respect” that the NYPD is proud of?

Mr. Bratton is, supposedly, not happy these officers turned their backs on the mayor. Is there going to be any disciplinary punishment taken against these officers? Some will say officers have First Amendment Rights too. However, everyday, across America, regular workers are fired for far less than what these officers did.

If Commissioner Bratton is really upset by the actions of these officers, shouldn’t we see, at the very least, an attempt to roll some of the heads of these officers? If these officers aren’t reined in what message does that send? That indiscipline and rebellion is acceptable?

But, let's remember something here: after the murder of these officers the commissioner claimed the killings were a “direct spinoff” of peaceful protests. This was also irresponsible on Bratton's part.

Commissioner Bratton now speaks as if there is no problem with racism in the NYPD. He has talked about issues of poor “training.” Isn’t it funny how this poor “training,” in the NYPD, only seems to have adversely lethal consequences for mostly Black people?

And hasn't he already forgotten his speech attacking racist cops a few months ago?

Unfortunately, most of White America is incapable of honesty on issues of racism. And the mayor has, basically, been told by these discourteous cops to shut his mouth—and desist in any discussions revolving around racial policing. That message, also, seems right in line with Commissioner Bratton’s feelings. In fact, he may well be playing this mayor like a puppet.

Ironically, the tactic maybe working, because Mayor de Blasio has been on the defensive in most of his recent comments. New Yorkers need to pay close attention to the words, and actions, of this mayor in the coming months.

Will he continue to waver as he appears to be doing now? Or, will he stand up to some of the thugs, in the NYPD, like Pat Lynch, who can’t handle the truth about the obvious racist policing problems among police? This is the same man who praised Daniel Pantaleo's actions after the officer murdered Eric Garner in cold blood. The same man who incited the NYPD officers against the mayor and community by saying the blood of Ramos and Liu is in de Blasio's hands.

Pat Lynch owes de Blasio and every New Yorker an apology; editorial writers should demand for his resignation.

We need to scrutinize Governor Cuomo’s actions as well. Black New Yorkers supported both these men in massive numbers. Are we not going to hold them accountable, and force them, to address the issue of racial policing in New York?

Why do White liberals and “progressives” never seem to have the stomachs to stand with us whenever serious issues of racism—especially, when it involves policing and economics—are on the table? Mayor de Blasio has made it clear “Broken Windows” and “Stop-and-Frisk” will continue to be enforced, with modifications. In other words, they will continue to harass Black people, but, in a slightly different way.

Has “Broken Windows” and “Stop-and-Frisk” ever been imposed on the talented thieves on Wall Street? Of course not. Is anyplace, in New York, filled with more criminality?

Will Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio show real leadership on this issue? That remains to be seen. But, if recent history is any barometer, we should probably expect these smooth, sweet talking politicians to continue to use us as pawns in their political game.

At the end of the day, let’s remember this: our problems with police is not one about a “few bad apples,” or, a few racist police. Eric Garner was killed by Officer Pantaleo—however, police policies like “Broken Windows” and “Stop-and-Frisk,” and the quota system are the mechanisms that created—and allowed—that killing to happen, and, go unpunished.

The same thing was true with so many other cases including the killings of Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo.

We need strong leadership to force meaningful change within the NYPD. The question we must now ask is: can we expect this from Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo?

 

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