Ethics Observations On Mayor de Blasio’s Refusal To Apologize To His Police Officers

Integrity and leadership are not the same thing, Mayor...

Integrity and leadership are not the same thing, Mayor…

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s relations with his own police force could not be worse, and this is not in the best interest of the citizens both the mayor and the police are duty-bound to serve. Can the rift be repaired?

This week de Blasio ruled out one avenue of peace: he said he would not apologize for his remarks following the Eric Garner grand jury decision not to bring charges against the officer who appeared to precipitate the unarmed black man’s death by using a choke-hold. The mayor said…

“You can’t apologize for your fundamental beliefs. The things that I have said were based on my beliefs, the truth as I know it. Can we do a better job communicating, and listening, and deepening an understanding of what our officers need? Yes.”

Fascinating.

I can’t think of a better example of a dilemma where the most ethical conduct is still irresponsible leadership, and thus, from the perspective of a leader’s obligations, unethical.

From an isolated perspective, de Blasio is asserting his integrity. “I could apologize and help smooth over my toxic relationship with the police, but that would require me to be insincere, and I’m not going to do that,” he is saying. He is saying that his constituents can trust him to be straight and honest, and if that means that he must pay a political price, he will pay it. This is admirable, on a human level. Praiseworthy…in a vacuum.

De Blasio, however, doesn’t have the luxury of being ethical in a vacuum. He is the mayor of a city with a lot of problems, controversies, obstacles to effective governance and people in need. The context of all of his words and actions must be his duties to address those issues, and his integrity, in this case, must be subordinate to getting the job he was elected to do done.

What de Blasio just did was to stand by his statement that he believed the New York police were sufficiently racist and untrustworthy that he worried about the safety of his dark-skinned, bi-racial son. He had said this:

“…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 the reality.” ‘My police force is sufficiently stocked with racists that I am in fear for the life of my son,” is what this statement says, or seems to say to his police. Not only that, but in the context of when the statement was made, de Blasio was suggesting that the specific officers involved in Garner’s death were racist as well…that Garner died because he was black. De Blasio’s latest statement doubles down, and says that this is the “truth as he knows it.

That’s fine. But if I am a New York police officer, I now know that my ultimate supervisor and the city’s leader does not trust me, or my colleagues. I know that in a controversy where the facts are not certain, the leader of the city will gravitate to the position that I, or my colleagues, are in the wrong. That means that the mayor does not trust me, and thus I cannot trust the mayor.

This won’t work.

Leadership must embody basic ethical values, but it has its own alignment of those values as well. Ethical conflicts abound and are endemic to the task, which means that there are situations where any position means violating one ethical value or another. Absolutism does not work for leaders. Indeed, the difference between a good—and that means effective–leader and a bad one–as in “can’t lead”—often is knowing when to compromise principles, when to be dishonest, unfair, unkind, or harsh, and when to sacrifice pride and personal ideals in order to be accountable, responsible, and competent. If a leader’s devotion to an ethical principle causes his or her ability to lead effectively to be significantly diminished, then that leader has an ethical obligation to do something else for a living.

Reading the comments in various websites discussing this story, I see frequent sentiment like this one, from a commenter called “Sundae Sky”:

“That is excellent. Never apologize for your beliefs; you owe them nothing. Other than the materials they are asking for to do their jobs.”

This is a common misconception among those who have never led an organization or who do it badly. You owe the organization, city, group, nation, team, army or country you are trusted to lead whatever is necessary to get the job done well. If that means humbling yourself and retracting a statement that you may believe but never should have said out loud, then you do it, have an obligation to do it, and are ethical to do it. Sky would be lousy mayor too.

De Blasio has chosen his pride and principles over being able to run the city. This tells us that

1. He is no leader.

2. He’s an admirable human being, but can’t be trusted with any job that requires moral and ethical compromise.

3. His administration in New York is doomed to fail, and perhaps catastrophe.

4. Unless he learns and changes, this is a certainty.

If he won’t do what is necessary to be an effective mayor, he should resign.

________________________

Facts: Daily News

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts, and seek written permission when appropriate. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work or property was used in any way without proper attribution, credit or permission, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at jamproethics@verizon.net.

60 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On Mayor de Blasio’s Refusal To Apologize To His Police Officers

  1. He’s basically Obama in microcosm and without as much melanin. He believes he is smarter than everyone else and no one else has anything to teach him. Recall that in the aftermath of the November elections he penned an op-ed calling for the Democratic Party to go farther and more proudly hard left rather than to soul-search. There is no provision for impeachment or a vote of no confidence, so he isn’t going anywhere. The only chance there might be that he will go somewhere is if some scandal arises that will get in the way of some Democratic nominee higher up the food chain. Otherwise, and unless some new Giuliani pulls the outer boroughs together to oust him in 2017, he’s just going to keep leading NYC back into being the pit it was in the 70s.

  2. I think if he truly believes this, he should not apologize. He should do something about it. If, as mayor, he really believes what he says, how can he allow it to continue? He should demand that the entire police force be fired and replaced by people that he is at least somewhat confident aren’t racist murderers. How can you just let a city be terrorized by a group that you believe are just waiting to kill any black person they can? Obviously you can’t and, as mayor, you should fix it. If you aren’t allowed to fix it, you should resign (and probably leave the city in protest). If deBlasio does this, I will have a lot of respect for him even though I think he is wrong.

    • Leadership 101:

      If you truly believe your subordinates are terrible and in desperate need of improvement, you don’t verbalize that to anyone outside of the organization and you damn well better be clear and visionary how you spell out your issues with your subordinates to your subordinates.

      The 1st failure here is discussing the problems he has with them the way he did. Immediately establishing an adversarial role is no way to handle a 45,000 man organization.

      Things that would mitigate this:
      1) He had campaigned on the platform that the NYPD was a racist organization in need of clean up (to my knowledge he didn’t). Then his election would have been a wake up call to the police force as well.

      2) If he were elected to a much less complicated town than NYC, perhaps where crime was MUCH lower or the police force much smaller, would he be able to be a more visually “adversarial” mayor. But even then, the words he picked initially do more harm than good.

      This 1st failure (the awful thing he said about subordinates to the outside world) is what makes all follow on decisions that much harder.

  3. “That’s the reality.” ‘My police force is sufficiently stocked with racists that I am in fear for the life of my son,” is what this statement says, or seems to say to his police.

    And what if it is true? We have a deluge of evidence that the NYPD was specifically targeting black males for stop and frisks and arrest. We have audio tapes of the NYPD abusing a young biracial male during a stop and frisk, calling him a mutt, and threatening to beat him up if he continues to protest their treatment of him, we have statements from the minority members of NYPD acknowledging that they themselves fear violence from their own fellow officers when the minority officers are out of uniform. All de Blasio did was acknowledge the lived reality, experiences, and fear, of millions of people that live in this city that he was elected to govern.

    If the NYPD cannot acknowledge that they have several bad apples in their midst, and take affirmative steps to get rid of those bad actors, that is not de Blasio’s fault, it is their own. And if they have shown no inclination to start the process of getting rid of those bad actors, they can hardly protest when someone else does it. De Blasio was elected on the promise that he would clean up the NYPD, so it is hardly surprising that he has started doing so.

    More disturbingly, and I realize that you haven’t even touched this, is that the police threw a snit and went on a de facto “strike” these last few weeks, refusing to do their jobs because their feelings were hurt by what de Blasio stated. It has seemingly been called off in the last day or two for two reasons: 1. NYC did not immediately descend into the crime ridden hellhole that they thought it would turn into (so the NYPD was playing with citizen’s lives, hoping it would show the need for them?) and 2. All police vacation requests were denied until the police got back out there to write summons. A real eye opener on the continuing lack of ethics of the NYPD.

    • Whether it is true or not—and I suspect it is—de Blasio can’t begin to address the internal problem if he is seen as an adversary rather than a supporter and ally of the police. It’s Leadership 101, which he never took, apparently.

      • Obama’s ratings are in the toilet with the military rank and file, and he arguably withdrew from Iraq too early on the advice of Valerie Jarett et al to gain political advantage in 2012. Arguably he comes off as an adversary rather than commander in chief also.

      • He can certainly take steps, with or without the help of the NYPD, as we have seen. The NYPD is very reluctant to police their own bad actors, so no matter what steps the mayor takes, he is going to face huge resistance. He has already suffered a strike merely based on the suggestion that as a young black man living in NYC, his son has to take care when around the police. And those are just words, which are *demonstrably* true.

        What happens when the mayor moves for independent oversight instead of Internal investigations? Or for less targeting of marijuana arrests, or no more stop and frisks without real suspicion of a crime? These issues might actually affect jobs and the beloved overtime that police rely on. But de Blasio was transparently elected to reform the police department, so it can’t be a surprise. The police should be cooperating with the mayor, who at least was elected with the full approval of the people, rather than being fascists and deciding that as a bureaucracy they should enact their own policies, and that they know better than the people they were hired to serve.

        • But de Blasio was transparently elected to reform the police department, so it can’t be a surprise. The police should be cooperating with the mayor, who at least was elected with the full approval of the people, rather than being fascists and deciding that as a bureaucracy they should enact their own policies, and that they know better than the people they were hired to serve.

          NY Times following Diblasio win: http://www.nytimes.com/news/election-2013/2013/11/06/new-york-turnout-appears-headed-for-record-low/?_r=0

          “Turnout in Tuesday’s election for New York City mayor appeared to have set a record low of 24 percent of registered voters.

          With absentee, emergency and affidavit ballots still to be tallied, the percentage and the number of votes – barely over one million of the 4.3 million registered voters in New York City – was the lowest since at least the mid-20th century.

          The previous low was 28 percent four years ago.

          Experts attributed the low turnout to expectations of a landslide. Supporters of Bill de Blasio stayed home because they weren’t needed – he won by an enormous margin. Supporters of the man he defeated, Joseph J. Lhota, didn’t vote because the odds against him were overwhelming.”

          Full approval of the people. I don’t think so. He was approved of by 74% of 24% or 18% of the population of NYC. The remainder were apathetic about the contest which is evidenced by their lack of participation. Stop using false statistics that suggest that the majority of New Yorkers wanted him to reform the police department. That cannot be substantiated by voter behavior.

        • “He has already suffered a strike, merely based on the suggestion … “

          He has already suffered a strike??? Incredible.

          Have you led anything in your life? The “strike” was no accident or tragedy or unfair misfortune he’s suffering. That adversarial comment, which he could, *as a good leader* would, have been worded in 10,000 different better ways OR NOT AT ALL.

      • I just haven’t seen or heard anything from deBlasio to fix the problem (could be the press’s fault). I suspect the problem isn’t so much racist cops as the type of aggressive tactics being used by police these days. I have seen too many videos with 3-4 police officers sitting on someone’s back after they refused to obey an officer (“Why do you need to see my ID?”). I have seen several that resulted in the suspect dying. The coroner’s report in several of these cases said the suspect died from sudden heart failure and it is then claimed that it was just coincidental that they ‘just then’ had heart failure and it had nothing to do with 800 lbs of police officer pushing on their chest. The NY incident with the chokehold seems like another example of this. Most of the incidents in my area involve white suspects because most of the criminals in my area are white, so I tend not to see this in racial terms, but in terms of police tactics and procedures.

        Misguided aggressive tactics can be fixed with aggressive retraining and monitoring. If your police force is full of murderous racists, sensitivity training isn’t going to fix that. Decide which it is and either fix it or get another police force. It’s what the public deserves.

        • Misguided aggressive tactics can be fixed with aggressive retraining and monitoring. If your police force is full of murderous racists, sensitivity training isn’t going to fix that. Decide which it is and either fix it or get another police force. It’s what the public deserves.

          It doesn’t have to be either or, it can certainly be both, which I think it is in this case. I think there is overall too much aggressive policing by the NYPD. Situations which call for a simple citation result in arrest. Part of that is perverse incentives in place, where arrests, with the attendant paperwork, can create overtime, while citations cannot. Which is why the NYPD has been arresting people for marijuana possession years after they were allowed to issue citations for it instead.

          But undeniably, the force is also full of racists, and allows racist policies to be enacted. I don’t think it is necessary to start entirely fresh (because you will probably just end up hiring more to replace the ones you fired), but you should drum them out when they make an appearance.

      • And if he did want to be the adversarial axe swinging reformer, he should have picked a city with a police force 1/1000th the size of NYC’s 45,000 strong PD and with a city where crime is not as much of an issue.

    • If you were a general, and you thought your army was incompetent, would you attempt to retrain or replace your soldiers, or would you tell the enemy general you thought your men were shit? Even if DeBlasio was right, he had no business saying it on air.

        • The criminal element, you obtuse idiot. If I’m dealing drugs or doing numbers or just lying in wait to mug people I’m less likely to do it if I know the cops will be breathing down my neck. If I know the police are quarreling with the mayor and less likely to take action I am more likely to break the law.

          • The problem is, the mayor isn’t just the leader of the police, but the leader of all the citizens of NYC…including black people. If some of your constituency have valid concerns, they could, and should be acknowledged and addressed rather than dismissed. Part of leadership is acknowledging that people may be on the wrong track, and telling them so, rather than trying to coddle “hurt feelings.”

            • I see what you did there, and perhaps I should have worded my comment more carefully. You are a pretty obtuse character when you want to be. Even in the event that I was talking about the public in general, carrying forward my analogy, two divisions in the army are at odds, does a leader try to correct the problem in private, or does he stand on a soapbox and call out the dysfunctional division to the entire army? There really isn’t any excuse for it. De Blasio could be 100% right in his facts, but wrong on his delivery.

              Regardless, I notice you didn’t answer my question, even in your bastardised taking of it. Before I reply to you on this topic again, I need you to answer the spirit of that question: “Should a leader attempt to retrain or replace subordinates in the case of a problem, or highlight those problems to everyone on planet earth? (which includes both or either of the groups we were talking about, because it really is irrelevant.)”

              • I think in this case, de Blasio needed to do both. De Blasio has a duty to the public as well, and if the two conflict, then his duty to the public that has elected him to the office is obviously greater than his duty to the police. If de Blasio cannot tell the truth without hurting the feelings of the NYPD, especially with policies that the NYPD has enacted, then that is not a mayoral problem, it is a NYPD problem that they are trying to unethically make everyone else’s problem.

                It is obvious that the NYPD has some very entrenched problems that they have absolutely refused to deal with. They are not living in reality if they cannot accept the fact that they have many, many officers who are specifically ordered to target black males. That is a NYPD policy, not isolated incidents of racism. Should a commanding officer indulge one of his subordinates who insists in the middle of battle that an army of blue demon horses have come down from the sky to fight and that everyone must admit to seeing the horses too, or he won’t fight, or does the commanding officer tell him, in front of everyone if that’s what it takes, that he is delusional and to knock it off?

                Should de Blasio ignore reality in order not to hurt the delicate feelings of the NYPD, even if large portions of the NYPD actually agree with his statements?

                • ” think in this case, de Blasio needed to do both. De Blasio has a duty to the public as well, and if the two conflict, then his duty to the public that has elected him to the office is obviously greater than his duty to the police.”

                  I don’t know that I accept your ranking system. But that’s ultimately irrelevant. If that is how you feel, you have to demonstrate that making those speeches somehow served the public and mitigated the problem. If you want to say that DeBlasio has a greater duty to the electorate in general, which very well might be true, I’d submit that the public would be better served by DeBlasio actually working towards fixing the problem, as opposed to bitching about the problem and sewering his relationship with the police. I’m just saying. It’s bad leadership.

                  “Should a commanding officer indulge one of his subordinates who insists in the middle of battle that an army of blue demon horses have come down from the sky to fight and that everyone must admit to seeing the horses too, or he won’t fight, or does the commanding officer tell him, in front of everyone if that’s what it takes, that he is delusional and to knock it off? ”

                  I reject your dichotomy as false. The correct answer is to pull the subordinate aside quietly and submit him for psychiatric evaluation. It is never acceptable to reprimand in public. It actually qualifies as harassment.

                  “Should de Blasio ignore reality in order not to hurt the delicate feelings of the NYPD, even if large portions of the NYPD actually agree with his statements?”

                  I reject the idea that group consensus makes public discipline acceptable. I don’t disagree there is an issue, I just don’t see how his speech fixed anything. It was embarrassingly unprofessional.

                  • De Blasio was showing the public with his speech that he acknowledges there is a problem, that the feelings are real, and that he is working on fixing the problem. Even as a PR move, he first must do those things before he starts taking active steps to weed out the corruption and racist policies of the NYPD. Otherwise people may very well question whether he sees that there is a problem at all. The NYPD certainly does seem to see that there is a problem, if he is silent, then he seemingly has gone along with the blue demon horses theory, and the public who is demanding some substantive changes, is not reassured that change is forthcoming.

                    • So now that DeBlasio has made it almost impossible to actually work with the police, because they revile him so much, because he called them out in front of the entire world, do you think that change is actually forthcoming? Because I think if you do, you’re naïve.

                      Feelings were not as important as actions in this case, as with many others. I know that’s mind-blowing for the average lefty, but bear with me. This question requires an answer: “Would you rather DeBlasio dealt with this problem in private, and by dealing with it actually create positive steps forward, OR would you rather DeBlasio get on his soapbox and make speeches that make people feel good, but undermines his ability to actually make changes?

                    • Yeah… The thing is that article doesn’t have anything to do with the culture of discrimination the NYPD, and everything to do with the current strike. I’ll give you that it’s hard to distinguish between the two, but you can’t argue that DeBlasio’s speech made it easier for him to work with the police, and whether the majority of cops want an apology or a better vest and more buddies is irrelevant, no one was talking about racism.

                      It’s my case in point: DeBlasio fumbled the ball so hard that they aren’t even playing in the same arena anymore. They won’t talk about discrimination, nothing will be done. Pure status quo. And all because he lacks the required leadership skills to understand that flipping the table before you start talking is a stupid way to start a conversation.

                • “Should a commanding officer indulge one of his subordinates who insists in the middle of battle that an army of blue demon horses have come down from the sky to fight and that everyone must admit to seeing the horses too, or he won’t fight, or does the commanding officer tell him, in front of everyone if that’s what it takes, that he is delusional and to knock it off?”

                  Humble Talent does a good job skewering this, but I’ll add one point. It’s a false analogy anyway. There is an clear and dreadfully hazardous urgency in battle that ruins the Commanding Officer’s ability to employ time, privacy, and candor to solve the lunatic’s problem, he has to eschew those in the ethical equation to get control of his battle. That urgency is not present in the de Blasio side of the analogy.

                  Clever but try again.

                  “Should de Blasio ignore reality in order not to hurt the delicate feelings of the NYPD, even if large portions of the NYPD actually agree with his statements?”

                  Further quotes like this reveal that you have no concept of leadership. Not one iota. Continuing to downplay leadership techniques and respect to juvenile notions of “delicate feelings” indicates you cannot see past your own partisan love affair of Leftist buffoons, so you must vilify that which is in conflict with de Blasio through demeaning phraseology.

                  Come back when you have a sense of balance.

      • Winfield Scott did just that in the War of 1812. His men lost their appetite for slipshod behavior when he formed his brigade up in hollow square and personally executed several deserters… on their training ground away from the eyes of the public or the enemy.

      • 1) It takes replacement of leadership within your authority to replace, without completely gutting the experience base of the leadership ranks From what I can tell, most of the high ranking positions are appointees, several beholden to the Mayor himself.

        2) It takes personal involvement on an incredible active scale if the problem is truly as endemic as he believes.

        3) It takes changing the very sources of the lower ranking personnel…the academies and training centers in the same manner as #1 & #2.

        General Patton assuming command of his forces in North Africa is a great rubric for this.

        None of this involves diming out your men to anyone.

    • Deery,
      You said:
      “If the NYPD cannot acknowledge that they have several bad apples in their midst, and take affirmative steps to get rid of those bad actors, that is not de Blasio’s fault, it is their own.”

      Let me rewrite this: If those that live in areas of high crime cannot acknowledge they have many bad apples in their midst. and take affirmative steps to turn those bad apples in to the justice system that is not the fault of DiBlasio or the police, it is their own fault.

      You then went on to complain that the police were engaged in a de facto strike. No, they stopped doing what many were saying was unnecessary – proactive enforcement of minor crimes. They stopped engaging in “broken window” policing. They responded to all emergency calls for robberies, shootings and all “real” public safety issues.

      So when the police behave like you want them to behave and not “harass” people for petty misdemeanor issues you say they had a snit. If all these minority officers that you referenced are so afraid blue brethren now is the time for them to speak up and name names. Otherwise they should find another line of work.

      The only comment that I was going to make until I read your comment was that the ethical person is willing to examine his or her beliefs when evidence exists that may affect his or her beliefs. This is where ethics and leadership converge. The only principles not subject to review to maintain an ethical position are those that are universal such as integrity, honesty, fidelity, charity, empathy etc. Otherwise you will find ethical the behavior of Klansmen or others that will not waiver from their beliefs.

      • Let me rewrite this: If those that live in areas of high crime cannot acknowledge they have many bad apples in their midst. and take affirmative steps to turn those bad apples in to the justice system that is not the fault of DiBlasio or the police, it is their own fault.

        People in those areas can, and do so. But unlike the police, they are no under no legal obligation to do such things by merely being a resident in the area.

        You then went on to complain that the police were engaged in a de facto strike. No, they stopped doing what many were saying was unnecessary – proactive enforcement of minor crimes. They stopped engaging in “broken window” policing. They responded to all emergency calls for robberies, shootings and all “real” public safety issues.

        I’m actually not complaining, just noting that the police seemed to be rather unethically hoping for a spike in crime if they stopped performing their obligations. All the strike showed was that the “broken windows” theory was flawed (as people have noted for a while now), and that the police see themselves more as revenue generators rather than enforcers of the law (another problem that people have noted).

        If all these minority officers that you referenced are so afraid blue brethren now is the time for them to speak up and name names. Otherwise they should find another line of work.

        One officer did speak up, name names, and record his superior ordering him to stop more blacks and Hispanics. He was involuntarily committed by the police, and had to fight to get out. This, and other acts of retaliation, makes it easy to see why some might be hesitant to be at the forefront of that.

    • Welcome back from your hiatus, deery! We really missed your opinion on Obama’s conduct regarding Charlie Hedbo.

      This mischaracterization:
      “More disturbingly, and I realize that you haven’t even touched this, is that the police threw a snit and went on a de facto “strike” these last few weeks, refusing to do their jobs because their feelings were hurt by what de Blasio stated. It has seemingly been called off in the last day or two for two reasons: 1. NYC did not immediately descend into the crime ridden hellhole that they thought it would turn into (so the NYPD was playing with citizen’s lives, hoping it would show the need for them?) and 2. All police vacation requests were denied until the police got back out there to write summons. A real eye opener on the continuing lack of ethics of the NYPD.”
      betrays your bias and inability to be relied upon on this topic.

      Rational thought would show that the NYPD’s decision was made on the increased violence and threats directed at police officers, threats actually made into reality with the NYPD…stemming from the racial divide that is continually increased by your people’s rhetoric (including de Blasio).

      Try again.

  4. Since the discussion / debate / argument has expanded to include the “broken windows” theory and the so-called “broken windows policing” philosophy, I drug out an old (1997) presentation by George Kelling, co-originator of the idea, who explains how the concept has been misunderstood and misapplied by many. His thoughts need no editorializing by me. Here’s the link: http://www.schmalleger.com/pubs/kelling.pdf

  5. Trivializing the reasonable reaction of the police to being called racist killers by their boss—especially immediately after a grand jury has ruled otherwise in one case—is either deliberate misrepresentation or jaw-dropping naivete. Morale, trust, loyalty, shared goals and mutual respect are essential to any functional team of human beings. Undermining all of these by needlessly showing disrespect for those “feelings” is leadership malpractice, nothing less. And I doubt that any successful or competent leader in any field would dispute that.

    • This would be the much more polite and well worded version of what I was getting at above when addressing deery’s characterization that the police need to “get over their widdle hurt feewings”

    • Undermining all of these by needlessly showing disrespect for those “feelings” is leadership malpractice, nothing less.

      Perhaps if this was the first instance of the police not getting with the program, then yes. But after getting spanked by the federal judge for the clearly unconstitutional implementation of their stop and frisk program, yet still defended it, indicating that they were still going to arrest people for marijuana infractions against the wishes of the voters (and years after it was allowed by the state legislature, because their overtime would go down, and years of using the banned chokehold, often as a first-line tactic, and no one ever getting punished for it, perhaps it was past time for a mayor to hurt some feelings, show the public that he was on their side, and institute some real change in the NYPD, because they have clearly shown that they are not willing to do the hard work it takes to do such a thing.

      And yes, it may involve some hurt feelings, and yes, it may involve some public rebuke, especially when the public is demanding answers. Morale, trust, loyalty, shared goals and mutual respect are obviously not part of the NYPD’s bargain with large swathes of their public they were hired to serve, an endemic problem, and one that should be addressed, *publically* by those in charge, not behind closed doors in whispers. And if the NYPD sees themselves as above the mayor, and the public that has elected him, as they clearly do, it is an ethical problem on the part of the NYPD, not Mayor de Blasio’s.

      • “public rebuke”

        His comment was not a public rebuke any leader would make. It was snide comment lacking all respect and grace expected of a leader. That you can’t see that is telling, that you keep downplaying the egregious nature of the comment is telling, and that you keep trivializing the valid concerns of respect for subordinates is telling.

        All you are is a Leftist shill. Are you capable of seeing bad in your own?

        I highly suspect there is hope with you, your silence on the Charlie Hedbo snub at least implies to me you saw Obama’s error, just couldn’t bring yourself to criticize him. But that’s me being generous.

        • His comment was not a public rebuke any leader would make. It was snide comment lacking all respect and grace expected of a leader. That you can’t see that is telling, that you keep downplaying the egregious nature of the comment is telling, and that you keep trivializing the valid concerns of respect for subordinates is telling.

          It was not a snide comment. It was the truth. The fact that you cannot bring yourself to acknowledge that is telling. The comment was not egregious. The fact that he tells his son to be careful around the police, because as a young black male, he is singled out for special abuse by the NYPD? That is beyond dispute, as the most recent stop and frisk court case has shown. The NYPD’s policies and treatment of minorities is the egregious fact here, and the fact that is not even a consideration for you is telling.

          I highly suspect there is hope with you, your silence on the Charlie Hedbo snub at least implies to me you saw Obama’s error, just couldn’t bring yourself to criticize him. But that’s me being generous.

          For some odd reason you keep harping on this. For the record, while I do read most of the posts here, I comment only on the ones that interest me, and those when I find the time. Unlike you, I comment on maybe 20-30% of the posts here, at most. Chalk that one up to the 70-80% of posts that I don’t comment on. It really isn’t that deep.

          • “It was not a snide comment. It was the truth.” It may or may not have been snide, but arguing that in supervisory and leadership positions requiring diplomacy, human relations and trust that bluntly spouting what one believes is “the truth” is a complete and satisfactory justification is, again, naive and ill-informed. If “the truth” being uttered in a public forum makes one’s successful achievement of the tasks one is responsible for impossible or even increasingly difficult, then the conduct is irresponsible, reckless, dumb, self-destructive, and unethical.

            • And that is Deery’s stumbling block. It is completely irrelevant if the comment was accurate. This is a discussion of leadership ethics and the comment itself ruins his ability to lead or make the desired changes.

            • If the police cannot even take the routine and rather bland observation that minority youth have a special reason to be wary of the NYPD, due mostly to the NYPD”s own polices and actions towards them, and that minority parents routinely instruct their youths about this reality, then the there is no amount of diplomacy or human relations that are going to help. The NYPD at this point is in lala land. In much the same way that they somehow felt a strike was going to help them win public opinion to their cause, they obviously need a wake-up call. De Blasio’s comments were so extremely mild, and the reaction to them so obviously overboard and outrageous, it is clear that they were hardened against him from the very beginning (or as other people have pointed out, the overwrought reaction was merely a failed hardball tactic to gain the upper hand in the upcoming police contract negotiations. )

              • “If a group of professionals cannot accept their supervisor calling them out as dangerous racists in the news media…”—utterly ridiculous argument. A leader saying that he regards is child as at risk from those under him is hardly “bland.” Don’t insult our intelligence.

                • It is a bland, accepted truth. And it follows directly from the NYPD’s own policies, that they have already been publicly rebuked for, and yet insisted on standing behind anyway. If they cannot put 2+2 together together to equal 4, that the Mayor’s statements come directly follow from their own actions in the matter, that isn’t the Mayor’s fault, that is their own.

                  • deery, the Mayor IS them, whether he likes it or not. If he draws that line, he’s through. It’s not rocket science… his failure to know his ass from his elbow regarding the basics of leadership as they have been understood since before Caesar and Genghis Kahn is his fault, and his fault alone. Like Obama, he’s in the wrong field.

                    • The Mayor might be them, but he is more than just them, he is supposed to represent the interests of everyone in the city. And when you have two factions slinging it out, and one of them has been rebuked, told to change their ways, and they refuse, do you not tell them that they are in the wrong? Especially when you have a responsibility to the other people that you represent to also show them that you recognize that there is an issue, and that you are going to work to change it?

                      The time for mollycoddling the hurt feelings of the NYPD are long over. They have shown that they are incapable of reforming themselves, and they refuse to obey the directives of the leadership that are not NYPD (and even some that are). So yes, the Mayor needed to get tough. He hasn’t even done that yet, but if they cannot take the literally true observation that the mayor has stated regarding his son and the way that NYPD treats minorities, then they need to dragged kicking and screaming into the light.

                    • Why don’t you get that a dysfunctional government and an angry police force cannot possibly be in the best interest of the public? The job of a mayor or any leader is to make it work, not to take sides and divide the community further. If people start ambushing police and argue that the mayor agrees with them that the police are a public menace, what’s your response going to be then? If the entire police force walks off the job saying that they can’t work for a man who paints targets on their backs, what’s your response going to be? “It’s not his fault”? If he’s in charge, he’s accountable, and that means its his fault.

                    • Why don’t you get that a dysfunctional government and an angry police force cannot possibly be in the best interest of the public?

                      Why don’t you get that a police force who have been consistently shown to use racist, unconstitutional policies and who show absolutely no interest in changing those policies are not in the best interest of the public? Why can a mayor not acknowledge the reality that everyone (except for apparently the some of the NYPD) already know? Why are the police angry, when they are the ones who enacted those policies in the first place and continue to uphold them?

                      The job of a mayor or any leader is to make it work, not to take sides and divide the community further. If people start ambushing police and argue that the mayor agrees with them that the police are a public menace, what’s your response going to be then?

                      Nothing in the Mayor’s statement called for violence against the police. Acknowledging reality is not a call to violence, it is acknowledging reality.

                      If the entire police force walks off the job saying that they can’t work for a man who paints targets on their backs, what’s your response going to be? “It’s not his fault”? If he’s in charge, he’s accountable, and that means its his fault.

                      If some members of the police walk off the job arguing they can’t work for the Mayor, don’t let the door hit you in the butt. If they are that resistant to reality, they don’t need to be police officers, and it saves the hassle of firing them. So be it. Other municipalities have taken steps to disband whole police departments that they have found to be irrevocably riddled with racists and resistant to change. The NYPD is “too big to fail” in that regard, but a clean sweep of many of the senior officers at the very least would be a good start.

                    • Total hysterical anti-police bigotry on your part, pure and simple. The NYC has not been “shown” to be anything of the kind. The fact that the city isn’t a shooting gallery like it was in the Seventies is testimony to a job well done. Racist police did not make the stop-and-frisk policies that initiated a lot of the tensions, their superiors did. “So be it”? Right, I’d like to see what happens when they all walk off the job–they can’t strike by law, but they can quit. A boss like de Blasio is asking for that kind of mass walk-out. How easy for you to cheer it on from the safety of some place else.

                      Reality is that people in dangerous, thankless jobs need appreciation, respect, and margins for error, or you will no lo9nger get good candidates for those jobs.

        • He’s a lefty shill, it’s obvious. but he’s a useful lefty shill because he gives us a realistic devil’s advocate to cut our teeth with these discussions. It’s almost caricature worthy, some of these arguments, and I often wonder if he Really Believes what he says, or if he’s purposely playing John Watson. But regardless, the back and forth does make us consider the situations from angles we might not have otherwise. I doubt he’s ever changed our minds, but it makes our positions deeper.

      • Instituting real change in the NYPD where it is needed is NOT THAT HARD.

        (for someone who understands leadership and vision)

        Of course, he ruined that effort with his snide commentary. Implying he doesn’t understand leadership. Your constant defense of the indefensible is evidence you don’t either.

  6. Well… I know this from my own experiences. There are few things that can utterly demoralize a policeman than the knowledge that his superiors don’t have his back. When they actually sympathize with the lawbreakers and parrot their propaganda- then it’s time to move elsewhere. You can do no good in such an environment. You can only get yourself killed.

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