The NYPD Turns Its Back On De Blasio: What’s Going On Here?

NYPD backs

The rift between New York Mayor de Blasio and his city’s police department  is more than an internal spat. It has the potential to divide and harm the city and citizens, not to mention crashing the Mayor’s already self-jeopardized political career early in his term. Both sides if this dispute committed hostile acts that the other considers grievously disrespectful. Neither combatant appears ready to apologize.

De Blasio crossed what many of his department’s officers consider an uncrossable line when he suggested, in the immediate wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict in the Eric Garner case, that his own bi-racial son was at risk of harm should he be apprehended by the NYPD. As I have written before, this was not, as the spinners would have it, just a case of a mayor being candid about genuine problem in community relations. This was a tacit endorsement of the “hands up” protests and their contention that Garner, Mike Brown and others were the victims of police racism, that police are killing, likely to kill, want to kill, black kids. It doesn’t matter that de Blasio may not have intended that implication: under the circumstances and in the context of events, this is what police officers interpreted his remarks to mean. He was siding against them. He was suggesting that the grand jury was wrong not to indict. He was suggesting not that some NYPD officers were racially biased, but that black children like his son “may not be [Translation: “are not“] safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.”

The police have responded with multiple demonstrations of anger and contempt for their boss. Most recently, there were boos and jeers when De Blasio spoke at a police graduation ceremony this week. Over a hundred officers symbolically turned their backs when the mayor spoke at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos, who was assassinated by a man who suggested that he was seeking vengeance for the deaths of Garner and Brown. That had followed the theme of an airplane-towed banner over the city that read,“Our backs have turned to you,”which in turn was inspired by the spontaneous gesture by officers present when de Blasio visited the hospital where the bodies of Officer Ramos and his partner lay.

The New York Times, which has been guilty of bolstering the “hands up” lie by carelessly linking the deaths of Brown and Garner as well as Trayvon Martin, none of which can be fairly blamed on racism based on available evidence, has come down squarely against the police, writing in an editorial:

“Officers often feel beleaguered, jerked around by supervisors and politicians, obligated to follow rules and policies that can be misguided, held responsible for their mistakes in ways that the public is not, exposed to frequent ridicule and hostility from the people they are sworn to serve. It has always been that way with cops.But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence.”

This, like the editorial that contained it, is despicable, beginning with the Times embracing one of the lamest of all rationalizations to shrug off and trivialize the current vilification of police by a large and influential segment of society, egged on by comments and gestures by the President of the United States and the Attorney General—“It’s always been this way.”  Then the Times mocks “the snarling sense of victimhood”—can a sense “snarl”?—of police officers whose ranks were just thinned by murder based on a motive that the mayor’s statements encourage, and concocts a dishonest straw man explanation for what the protests signify, “the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence.”

At a time when chants are calling for dead cops, when race-baiting on a national scale is making the assertion that America’s police forces are executing young black men, the police object to the fact that that their ultimate boss not only isn’t supporting them, but bolstering the unfair and dangerous campaign against them that has already claimed two lives.

That’s what the police are protesting.

That the police have a legitimate complaint, however, does not complete the ethical analysis. This is not a First Amendment speech issue, for on-the-job, public attacks on a supervisor is unambiguous insubordination. Insubordination in the workplace is not justified or made acceptable by the fact that it was provoked. If one’s boss acts like an asshole, calling the boss an asshole in the presence of other employees is a firing offense. So is this. The police know, however, that the mayor can’t fire hundreds of officers.

In other professions when management engages in blatant disrespect, disloyalty or unfair treatment, workers may strike, or walk out, or quit. But as Calvin Coolidge, as Massachusetts Lt. Governor, established in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, the incident put him on the path to be President, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.” De Blasio’s careless words put the NYPD in an impossible ethical conflict. If they remained silent as the Mayor impugned their integrity, fairness, competence and dedication, they would appear to be accepting his verdict. Walking off the job would be illegal; quitting en masse would similarly endanger the public and turn opinion against the police.

It isn’t without peril to openly show contempt for the mayor either. A government that airs its internal disputes and that appears dysfunctional and divided is not an effective of a trustworthy government. Yet the Times editors facile solution is pure fantasy:

But there is a way out of this cul-de-sac. It was stated at Officer Ramos’s funeral by an exemplary public servant — and stout de Blasio ally — Commissioner William Bratton.He put it beautifully: “The police, the people who are angry at the police, the people who support us but want us to be better, even a madman who assassinated two men because all he could see was two uniforms, even though they were so much more. We don’t see each other. If we can learn to see each other, to see that our cops are people like Officer Ramos and Officer Liu, to see that our communities are filled with people just like them, too. If we can learn to see each other, then when we see each other, we’ll heal. We’ll heal as a department. We’ll heal as a city. We’ll heal as a country.”

Sure. We’ll heal as a country, while a White House advisor, Al Sharpton, continues to encourage protests representing that Mike Brown was executed in cold blood, while pundits writing in the pages of the Times endorse the racially-divisive and bigoted position that any time a white officer is involved in the death of a black man, racial animus is presumptively part of the reason, while President Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus, Eric Holder and the Democratic party encourage the belief that opposition to the Obama administration and its policies is rooted in racism, and while the news media, like the Times, represents local police actions as emblematic of racial injustice in America, irrespective of the facts.

The department will heal, even though the mayor of the city it serves has stated that he worries that its members will harm his son because he’s black.

Under the circumstances, I reach the following conclusions:

1. The initial demonstration of disrespect by the police would be unethical out of context, but they were the best options among equally unacceptable responses. This was an ethics conflict, and every potential action breached an ethical principle.

2. These demonstrations, however, should not have continued after the point was made, by the police union and the actions of the officers, that de Blasio’s statements were inappropriate, unfair and damaging to the NYPD.

3. They should certainly stop now.

4. De Blasio was wrong to phrase his statement as he did, and he betrayed his own biases by doing so. He could have and should have alluded to issues of community trust and a review of police training, protocol and procedures, but he also had an obligation to point out in his initial remarks after the Garner grand jury decision that the vast majority of police are dedicated and brave public servants who should not be tarred as brutal and racist.

5. He should apologize. That is the only way out of this mess.

I don’t think he will.


Source: New York Times

6 thoughts on “The NYPD Turns Its Back On De Blasio: What’s Going On Here?

  1. Any entity that is assigned to protect the public need to know that those who are elected will have their backs.

    Whenever those entities get dissed, as the NYPD has been, the cops go into a mentality of “Just let me get through this shift and get home to my family.” They become less willing to take the kinds of risk necessary to protect the communities they serve.

    And that sort of thing doesn’t just affect the cop on the beat. Can anyone look at the Feinstein hit job on the CIA, or the way that the military has faced cuts, and figure that the same mentality might not be seeping into those elements who have the task of keeping us safe.

    So, what is to be done when those tasks to protect us get given tasks, do them to the best of their ability, and we, as a society, later change our minds? At a minimum, we should thank those for doing their jobs, not stab them in the back.

    • Well put, I.M. It is VITALLY important that cops know that their bosses have their back and that they won;t be taken to task in any small irregularity or potentially controversial action merely for the sake of cheap politics. Already, we’re seeing NYC cops ignoring relatively minor crimes for this reason. Then, as the most recent slap to their faces, DeBlasio has just re-appointed a judge who released activists making loud public death threats against all policemen. This spills over the city limits of New York City, too. It’s being felt by P.D.’s across the nation.

  2. De Blasio is a bona fide red diaper baby who honeymooned in Communist Cuba. It should not come as a surprise that he disdains the police together with everyone else who doesn’t follow his worldview. His background was no secret, yet he was elected by an overwhelming margin.

    The police won’t walk off the job, but they have already greatly curtailed arrests, summonses, and other activity, on the simple grounds that the first rule of police work is to make certain that you go home alive at the end of your watch. In one month De Blasio has undone what It took Giuliani and Bloomberg years to accomplish, and I think he relishes that fact.

    I also believe that he is a clear example of a particularly arrogant kind of politician that is prevalent on, though by no means exclusive to, the liberal side. In the wake of the 2014 election, when the Democratic party got its ass handed to it on a platter, he authored an article stating that now was the time to be bold, not to soul-search. In other words, the liberal policies that led to the blue rout weren’t wrong, the people voted wrong, because they didn’t listen, or because they were racist, or for some other reason they just didn’t see all the good the liberal policies were doing, and the liberals need to dig in their heels and believe 2016 will see a Democratic wave as the people come to their senses.

    Someone like this, who puts neither faith nor credit in an entire nation of voters, is certainly not going to put any faith or credit in 35,000 bigots with badges who are just waiting for the chance to rough up his son because of his color because that’s what bigots do. To him, these are just necessary but distasteful employees who need to get with the program, his program. Meanwhile policing grinds to a halt, precincts enter a siege mentality, and the fear spreads to the other emergency services as EMTs don bulletproof vests and engine companies are blocked from reaching fires by protesting crowds. It isn’t too far from this back to the days of the Bronx burning, and the race hucksters stand to profit handsomely from the destruction and anger.

    De Blasio has few options here, as you pointed out. He could apologize, but he won’t, because, like Obama, he can never admit to being wrong. He can tell Bratton to fix this mess, but a ticket blitz or mass arrests, mainly of whites, will be counterproductive. He can start firing officers in the hopes that it will cow the rest of the force, but that is unlikely to work either.

    Unfortunately, as Barbara Boxer (who’s about to lose her gavel) smugly pointed out, elections have consequences, and the people of New York shouldn’t be surprised that one of the consequences of electing a far-left ideologue would be protestors being allowed to run wild and the police being distrusted. They are stuck with this idiocy for three years more, and the only way out is for a new Giuliani to emerge, assuming there is still a city to preside over in 2017.

  3. De Blasio has more than just that one statement against him. He allowed Al Sharpton to have a lot of say over the NYPD. He suggested his son is daily at risk of being killed by the NYPD in a statement he made in Washington after Sharton and he met with President Obama over police violence (he said he wonders daily if his son will make it home alive). He recently reappointed a judge who released two men without bail after they were accused of threatening violence against the NYPD shortly after Ramos and Liu were shot. She released them both despite the fact that one had a warrant for his arrest for missing a court date. Watching from the stands, looks like there is a lot of bad blood there and the mayor doesn’t seem to want to do much about it.

  4. The interesting “little” tidbit about this is the NYPD isn’t just any ole group of cops. It’s numbers make it equivalent to a US Army Corps. CORPS…

    That’s no joke if they were really pushed too far by De Blasio.

    But hey, the Lefties voted for de Blasio, NYC gets what it deserves. The PD isn’t the only thing he will have wrecked by the time he’s done.

    • The press probably isn’t helping matters by widely reporting of a NYPD slowdown. When I read into it, they are pulling 2000 officers/day off regular duty to police protest and ordering community patrols to go out in pairs, not individually. As a result, arrests for minor crimes has declined greatly, while at the same time, arrests for felonies has increased. I’m not sure that really indicates an organized slowdown by the police force, but the NYPD is now widely being accused of not doing their jobs. I’m sure that is defusing the tensions.

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