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Thin Blue Wall
Cop Assassinations Underline Why Americans Give Police Leeway
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  • Anthony

    Hmmm. Professor Mead’s views on the NYPD haven’t always been so positive. Read “occupy blue street,” to get a sense of what I mean.

    “A palpably shocked New York Times covered the story last week as union-organized cops hurled their venom and hate at the law they are sworn to uphold:”

    “As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme
    Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed
    and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting “Down with the
    D.A.” and “Ray Kelly, hypocrite.”

    of the approximately 1,600 allegations against the Bronx 16 are low
    level ticket-fixing charges. In the Bronx (as in many other American
    jurisdictions) it has been a police perk for many years that officers
    can quietly fix tickets for family, friends and, one supposes, the
    occasional generous stranger. Those perks seem to reflect an informal,
    parallel power structure in the police force which gives long serving
    cops and union connected officers what those involved no doubt see as
    just and fair recompense for services rendered and dues paid.”

    • Anthony

      Also from Professor Mead’s own piece.

      “Unfortunately a number of the allegations are more serious, as the
      piece by N. R. Kleinfield and John Eligon goes on to point out:”

      “Jose R. Ramos, an officer in the 40th Precinct whose
      suspicious behavior spawned the protracted investigation, was accused
      of two dozen crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand
      larceny, transporting what he thought was heroin for drug dealers and
      revealing the identity of a confidential informant.”

      • Fred

        There’s no real contradiction here. Mead (or whatever intern) in this entry says nothing like that NYPD members are angels. In fact, he goes out of his way to point out that there are real problems with some policemen and some police forces. In any police force, there will be corrupt, incompetent, or brutal individuals. The villain in the piece you refer to is the union that would protect such individuals from the consequences of their actions and the quite human tendency for even otherwise good people to take advantage of that system and even come to see it as an entitlement.

        • Nicholas M. Gallagher

          This is a very shrewd comment, Fred – and the thread in general, in fact. There’s definitely a difference between the institutions, rules, and procedures that protect-or even encourage-bad cops, and the vast majority of individual patrolmen out there. The failure of the protest movements to make that distinction in the wake of Garner not only tainted the moral authority of a seemingly well-justified initial complaint, but made it much less likely that any positive reforms would come of the whole thing. It’s really frustrating.

          By the way, on some, though not all, of these posts, you can tell who wrote it due to the bylined initials – in this case, NMG (me) – at the bottom of the post and by the blurb on the main page. Most of us are staff writers, rather than interns, though our interns-Andrew Bernard and Matthew McDonald-do an awesome job.

          Merry Christmas everyone!

          • Fred

            My apologies. I didn’t realize the distinction. In any case, thank you for the kind comment on my comment, and Merry Christmas to you too.

        • Curious Mayhem

          This is one of those cases — like the Catholic Church’s coverup of certain priests’ sexual abuse — where the coverup is the institutional problem. It takes the crimes of discrete individuals and turns them into an institutional crime. Otherwise, they would just be so many individual crimes.

  • gg

    From my experiences in life and encounters with police and criminals, I’ve learned that is it not that the police are racists in the way that they believe that minorities are inferior or racist in a way that having more black and hispanics on the police force would help anything. Police do, however, use race, as well as many other factors such as general appearance, dress, neighborhood, in their line of duty. The problem is not that police are targeting black people walking around on wall street in suits, the problem is that the police do not know and act like they do not want to know the people in the community they are policing and vice versa. They act like they are constantly on the front lines of a war going on in inner cities or poorer suburbs and that they could be shot at any minute. The fact of the matter is that the number of police officers who died last year was under 200 and I bet if we looked at statistics of other professions like construction, we could see that the number of those who died on the job was well over that. I am not saying that police are safe or that they should not use caution in the line of duty but the the recent unjustified deaths at the hands of the police were clearly done out of irrational fear rather than real caution over the concern of their lives.

    Obviously this recent executions of the NYPD officers and the shooter’s message that he was doing it to avenge his black brothers will not help anything and will probably make officers more afraid. However, this was the obvious consequence of police actions in the past decade or so. Even if nobody was discussing Gardner or Brown or any of the others, this man could have faced a number of injustices at the hands of the police or known someone who had and done the same thing. This is not the beginning of the revolution and I am not saying that police act bad enough to warrant this but when someone treats you as the enemy for long enough, you begin to fit the description and act as that enemy they say you are. A more interesting case than this happened in New Jersey City where a man went into a store, attacked the security guard and stole his gun. Then, without robbing the store, he turned to one of the costumers and said, “watch this,” before he proceeded to go outside and shoot the officers who someone inside the store had called. His story became controversial because his family and friends put up a shine to him that the city then removed but what I thought was more interesting that that was the fact that his friends was killed by cops earlier that month. After this, another man was shot by cops, but survived, after attacking the patrol car with a 2×4. Although these deaths would never get the attention that Gardner or Brown got, since these were people who actually were threatening the cops, I believe this case illustrates a growing tension in places where people are subject to overaggressive police tactics. These cases combined with this latests one just go to show what will be our future if the police tactics do not change.

    • Corlyss

      “the shooter’s message that he was doing it to avenge his black brothers will not help anything”

      The rabble in the street and their enablers don’t believe their lying eyes and they don’t care. Brinsley might have said that was what he intended, but the rabble “know” that isn’t what he meant. He meant he was a mentally unstable victim of injustice driven to kill by his poverty and mental instability. That was what he really meant to say.

  • wigwag

    This fascinating article from “City Journal” tells you all you need to know about this issue. It is well worth the ten minutes it takes to read from start to finish. Most importantly, it debunks the myth that cops are out to get African American males. It is that big lie, perpetrated by the likes of De Blasio and the New York Times, which set the stage for the assassination of the two innocent police officers.

    • Corlyss

      Facts don’t matter, Wag. Only the narrative matters, often the Big Lie has the most appeal.

  • Anthony

    The criminal-law enforcement process is all too frequently tainted by racial, gender, ideological, and class bias – the police willingly work in said process. Specifically, the police serve a class function.

    Now as I cannot presume to write to WRM’s nuanced NYPD views, I write to thrust of post: “officers Ramos and Liu were hardly the overlords of the new Jim Crow….But demonizing the cops writ large is a losing strategy.” Well, demonization goes both ways and I think most Americans would agree that cops (police) have a tough job (the police confront dangers and social miseries of a kind most of us can only imagine); above that, death visits us all (perhaps not as horribly or randomly). Most importantly, this is not binary (police vs. citizens opposed to police practices). A question for our nation going forward is are police forces in America (not individual policemen/women) expected to buffer mainstream society from results of its socio-economic policies. Perhaps, sincere reflection on nature of policing to protect “capital” as well as sincere reflection on culture of violence and 2nd amendment glorification beckons.

    Finally, to the extent that repressive acts by police (getting away with murder) are cataloged as aberrant behavior of a few psychotics (stressed) in uniform, I would counter that said acts are an outgrowth of a system (class control function) that allows it. In other words, murder, though randomly visited upon us, may be defined based on where you sit in society – one sees assassination and another sees indiscriminate killing. For me, deaths are valued losses not to be compared but felt and registered as familial moments of pain, sorrow, lost, and questioning.

    • Corlyss

      Blah blah blah and more blah.

      • Anthony

        Not one to fixate just on the present while ignoring what is absent – It’s good to be alive and Merry Christmas!

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