Tuesday, December 23, 2014
NYPD OFFICERS REMAIN AS STATED TARGETS
ACCORDING TO SOME OF THE WORST OF THE WORST
NYPD OFFICERS AND NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS
GATHER AT IMPROMPTU STREET MEMORIAL
NEAR WHERE OFFICERS LUI AND RAMOS WERE
ASSASSINATED LAST SATURDAY
TAGS: OFFICERS LUI AND RAMOS, TWO NYPD OFFICERS ASSASSINATED,
HATEFUL RHETORIC AND MURDER,
PROTEST ORGANIZERS BEAR RESPONSIBILITY
FOR IRRESPONSIBLE MESSAGING,
THE “CITY” DOES NOT GRIEVE; THE NYPD DOES
NO “CEASEFIRE” OF INCINDIARY PUBLIC SPEECH
FOR HOLIDAY SEASON,
SERIOUS RIFT BETWEEN MAYOR AND NYPD
(Tuesday, December 23, 2014, NYC) A cursory review of armed and unarmed conflict amply documents the observation of a temporary cease fire or brief truce at times of religious days of significance and sometimes merely to bestow dignity to those lost on the battle field by having their bodies retreived for proper burial. There exists something so profoundly humane in an agreed upon and honored cease fire for these purposes that it speaks more about the combatants and some of the earliest unwritten rules that govern wartime conflict.
What is transpiring currently in New York City is by no means a “war”, or anywhere yet near an “armed conflict” or anything close to it but, it was not an unreasonable thought as of earlier today to think in the wake of the assassination of two NYPD Officers that both sides of the raging dispute that has been racking our City for weeks,there would be found common cause based in human decency to cease and desist in the increasingly hostile protests, demonstrations and rallies pitting the aggrieved protestors, now largely an anti-Cop movement, and those who still must conduct their duties as Police Officers despite the escalation of the confrontations and rhetoric that comes more from the gutter than from any core belief. If for no other reason at all we have to bury our dead and this sacred Last Rite has been a time honored reason for a temporary truce.
Perhaps it was just a naive’ hope; a wish based not in reality but in the thought that some of the vile, vitriolic rhetoric would become muted at least until after two families are able to bury their dead but that seems not to be the case. Since the brutal, cowardly assassination of two NYPD Officers as they sat in their RMP eating lunch, it was only fitting to think that there would be a break, a “cease-fire” if you will, between the Police and the anti-Police movement but, sadly, that is not the case. Now that some of the most strident and boisterous of the “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner” campaigns have received death threats they are fumbling and shaking in their shoes trying to get the violent genie they unleashed back into the bottle. That simply will not happen. Blood has been spilled; blood of two Police Officers completely unrelated to the precipitating events that prompted demonstrations and protests in cities and college campuses across the country for the better part of the last five weeks.
Yes, we were determined to take the high road out of respect for Officers Lui and Ramos; we thought these days were not the proper time to engage in the fray or participate negatively but the total lack of respect by the Mayor and some of his closest advisers has changed our mind and given us reason to have a voice no matter how small it is in the cacophonous din of today and throughout the last few weeks. It is relatively easy to allow the nasty venomous shit spewed from the protestors mouths to just wash off our shoulders; it is quite another when the Mayor of the City that employs you and some of his most visible and vocal “out in front” emissaries from the Black and Latino communities, many who are elected municipal officials, are taking airtime on TV to blame and blemish the men and women of the NYPD and to belittle the Service and Sacrifices everyone in the Department assumes as part of the Job.
Our City has seen its share of inept, incompetent Mayors in the not too distance past. But one has to travel back to the NYC of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s to find a time when there was a such a serious rift between City Hall and One Police Plaza. Today that rift is as wide and deep as it has ever been. Mayor de Blasio has so alienated, disrespected and insulted the NYPD, that he essentially has lost the entire rank and file of the Department. They do not want him to attend their funeral if they are killed in the line of duty. It was a powerful and extremely disturbing sight to see the dozens of Cops assembled at Woodhull Medical Center where Officers Ramos and Lui were pronounced dead as de Blasio made his way through that gauntlet of Blue of the gathered Police Officers as in unison they turned their backs toward him; a dramatic and stunning silent statement that speaks volumes about the depth of the estrangement between the men and women of the NYPD and the Mayor of New York City.
A FIASCO IN THE MAKING
When then mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio pulled ahead of the field of contenders in last year’s primary, some analysts suggested that it was partially due to an avalanche of TV commercials featuring the bi-racial de Blasio family. De Blasio really hit his stride when he began to knock the NYPD under the Direction of then Commissioner Ray Kelly and the assertion that Mayor Bloomberg was only a “Manhattan Mayor” who cared little for the struggling middle and lower class working families who were increasingly being forced out of affordable housing due to the gentrification and rebirth of some neighborhoods in the Outer Boroughs in particular. Candidate de Blasio was merciless in his attacks on Bloomberg and Kelly and he used the “color-coded” hot button phrase, “Stop and Frisk” to excoriate the policy and those who were responsible for it. The policy from a Departmental standpoint was officially “Stop, Question and Frisk” (SQF). It was an effective policy and many New Yorkers in the poorest neighborhoods, in the highest crime Precincts came to applaud the increased presence of the NYPD in those areas as well as the SQF tactic. And, as a result of some clever politicking de Blasio not only shot to the top of the pack but also assembled a “broad coalition” of members of some of the “lesser served” communities. But this is all just so much history. The point here is that de Blasio was already revealing some of his deeply held (or conveniently acquired) ideas of what the NYPD should and should not be doing. Having a mayoral candidate express disdain for Cops while on the campaign trail, and to dismiss their proven strategies and tactics, was an ominous sign to many. By the time candidate de Blasio became Mayor-elect de Blasio the seeds of future animosity between his ideas and proposals and the NYPD was cemented.
FIRST STEPS AND MISSTEPS
It didn’t take very long before more and more New Yorkers began expressing misgivings about their chosen candidate, now the sworn-in Mayor. His inaugural address was a cleaned up and tailored summary of his campaign rhetoric which did not bode well for the NYPD. His appointment of Bill Bratton as NYPD Commissioner was seen by some as a positive development but left many in the ranks wondering why Bratton, who had previously held that position during the first term of Rudy Giuliani’s administration, would accept that position twenty years after he left NYC and especially chose to serve under a Mayor who was as anti-Police as any in recent memory. Even the bungling David Dinkins was not openly disrespectful or overtly critical towards the NYPD until late in his administration. No, de Blasio was an entirely different political animal who saw his landslide victory as a “people’s mandate”. His announced first executive action was to be a moratorium on what he called “Stop and Frisk”, a derisively shortened misrepresentation of the official policy of “Stop, Question and Frisk”. Commissioner Bratton tried to paint a different picture over the reality of de Blasio’s intentions in this matter but, he is after all, serving in the position of the second most powerful man in NYC at the pleasure of his honor, the Mayor, and had to defer to his boss. Bratton had at that juncture lost faith with many who were familiar with him from his first tenure in 1PP.
There was likely not one New Yorker in a million that had ever heard of Ferguson Missouri or find it on a map prior to last Summer. That gritty suburb of St. Louis was suddenly thrust onto the world stage in August after a White Ferguson Police Officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed young Black man, Michael Brown. The ill-prepared Ferguson PD had to act promptly as nightly demonstrations after Brown’s death drew larger and more violent crowds. Fires were set, local businesses burned to the ground as anonymous groups of looters had their way. The situation escalated to such a fever pitch that the President of the United States actually sent the Attorney General, the highest Law Enforcement Official in the country to Ferguson to assure the protestors – peaceful and unpeaceful alike – that “justice” would be served. When the Grand Jury in St. Louis County presented a “non indict” decision for Officer Wilson, the protestors once again took to the streets even more hostile and aggressive than before.
And then, just weeks later, comes the death at the hands of the Police of Eric Garner, a well-known petty crook in Staten Island. His confrontation with the Police was partially captured on video and Garner could be heard while on the ground repeatedly saying “I can’t breath”. A Staten Island Grand Jury just like their counterparts in St. Louis County, delivered a “non-indict” decision for the Officers involved. These two events merged and galvanized what became a nationwide “movement” loosely united in their charter chants of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”, “Black Lives Matter”, and “I Can’t Breath”, all expressions born of the details in the Brown and Garner deaths. Here in NYC the marchers, some groups of which tied up traffic at key arteries across the City were, for the most part, not violent,but soon began attracting a far more aggressive, militant element often leading “die-ins” and chanting, “What do we want? Dead Cops!, When do we want it? Now”. When thousands of younger and working class New Yorkers take up a rallying cry seeking “Dead Cops”, this is a sign that social order is beginning to waver no matter how half-halfheartedly or legitimate the threat to Police Officers.
The Intelligence Bureau of the NYPD has a Unit that follows social media and monitors in “real time” surveillance footage from the over 24,000 closed circuit cameras they have at fixed sites across the City. They began seeing the emergence of an increasing number of Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter accounts with overt “death to the Police” rhetoric as well as some individuals boldly posting their intent to kill Cops. With each passing day it seemed as if that dark underside of social media was growing and urging more and more like-minded people to take up the cause of killing Cops. Such threats cannot be ignored by the NYPD nor should they be. Even if 99% of those posting such criminal murderous intent are just “key board cowboys” spewing vitriol behind the safety of the anonymity of cyber space, that other 1% represent a clear and present danger and must be taken seriously.
LANGUAGE MORE INFLAMMATORY THAN ANY “CAUSE”
Words matter, language counts. Not every set of ears that hears the same hyperbolic rhetoric hears the same message. That is human nature; we can easily pluck from an ocean of talk those phrases and concepts which most comport with and support our own personal ideology. The speaker of any words also matters. If a man claiming to be anointed as a reverend, a Man of God, naturally the faithful in his denomination will hear in his words what others not so similarly inclined might hear. Any individual in a position to speak to a wide audience has a responsibility and needs to be held accountable for actions motivated by his or her speech. The spoken word and the neural capacity that makes it possible and distinguishes humans from the rest of the creatures of the earth, is a powerful tool. Words expressing various thoughts, directed to a certain audience with an intentionality towards incitement, ought not be dismissed as just so many words.
And there was certainly no dearth of words after the Brown and Garner tragedies. From every quarter on talk radio and the cable TV “newsertainment” networks words spilled out from pundits and politicians alike, from self-proclaimed community activists, African American advocates, Law Enforcement spokespeople and something akin to a carnival freak show of belligerents on both sides. Talk is talk; rhetoric is rhetoric until it crosses a line. Lines were crossed and instead of dialing back on some of the most racially charged commentary, the “debate”, as it was, continued unabated. In retrospect we can see all too late what the eventual outcome was from the incendiary face-off between the anti-Police movement and the Law Enforcement community. Sadly, it reached its ultimate nadir last Saturday when a man from a Baltimore suburb got on a bus heading for the Port Authority terminal on 42nd and 8th Avenue with the intention of “giving two pigs wings”. Within three hours of 28 year old, life long criminal Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s arrival in NYC, he shot dead two Officers as they sat in their RMP eating a mid-afternoon lunch. The cowardly perpetrator driven by the inflammatory rhetoric and pre-existing “mental health issues” took his own life as Police Officers closed in on him at a subway station just a few block from the scene of his bloody, cold-blooded handiwork. Yes, words absolutely mean something and coded, “dog whistle” phraseology delivered by some of the most rabid race baiters, can and did result in death.
Despite the expressed existence of a cease fire the NYPD family will bury two of our own in the next few days. The fact that this is Christmas week. a time typically celebrated and enjoyed in the company of family and friends, we have the sacred duty to send our Brothers off in a dignified, honorable, and respectful manner that is an absolute of the pact we share with each other. Many New Yorkers will awaken tomorrow morning and spend the day with their children, open presents, and share a traditional meal. The NYPD has traditions of its own that must be represented and observed as well.
Some claim that a lone madman took the lives of Officers Lui and Ramos; others ascribe his heinous actions to untreated mental illness. Regardless of his mental state or motive his actions have sealed his fate forever in the minds and conscience of every man or woman who has ever, is still wearing or might wear in the future the NYPD Blue and enforce the laws in our City. They each take an oath but there is a far more transcendent oath between members of that Blue Community; a piece of each of our souls dies off whenever one of our Brothers or Sisters is killed in the line of duty and it is for them and all the others killed before that we uphold the traditions that are ours.
DEDICATED TO OFFICER LUI AND OFFICER RAMOS AND
ALL THE OTHERS WHO HAVE LOST
THEIR LIVES IN THE
SERVICE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
MAY THERE SOULS AND FAMILY FIND SOLACE
IN THE WORDS OF THE LORD
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