On December 3rd, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict NYC Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chocking death of Eric Garner. New York City Mayor, Bill DeBlaseo issued a. statement from his office
. He also held a press conference where he said that he worries for families of New Yorkers the way he worries about his black son
“Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face – good young man, law abiding young man, never would think to do anything wrong, and yet because of the 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,” he said.
“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?...Are they safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors?”
De Blasio said the grand jury ruling has caused pain around the city - while carefully avoiding directly criticizing the decision - and urged protesters angry about the ruling to remain peaceful. And he revealed that the feds have launched their own investigation into the death.
“It’s a very painful day for so many New Yorkers,” de Blasio said. “We’re grieving, again, over the loss of Eric Garner, who was a father, a husband, a son, a good man, a man who should be with us and isn’t.”
He praised Garner’s family for urging calm in reaction to the ruling, and echoed those pleas.
“If you really want to dignify the life of Eric Garner you will do so with peaceful protests,” he said. “You will not sully his name with violence or vandalism.”
On December 12, Police Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch addressed a crowd of Delegates in Queens NY
“Our friends, we’re courteous to them,” Lynch said at a delegates meeting in Queens Dec. 12, according to a recording acquired by Capital New York. “Our enemies, extreme discretion. The rules are made by them to hurt you. Well, now we’ll use those rules to protect us.”
“If we won’t get support when we do our jobs, if we’re going to get hurt for doing what’s right, then we’re going to do it the way they want it,” he said.
“He is not running the city of New York. He thinks he’s running a f---ing revolution,” Lynch said of the mayor.
Mr. Lynch has gone on to say many incendiary things since the failure by the grand jury to make an indictment. Eight days after this and other statements to the press, 2 NYC Police officers were shot dead in Brooklyn NY.
Of course, according to Mr. Lynch, there was blood on the mayor's hands. The blood being he had the audacity to ask for peaceful protest and for the notion of having a bi-racial son
The mayor called for a stop in the protests until after the assassinated officers were able to have a funeral and be laid to rest. Then this happened.
At a funeral for a murdered man, they protested the mayor and turned their backs. I have been baffled by this, not because they don't have the right to do express themselves; not because they don't have the right to critique public officials, but because it appears that the NYPD under the Union leadership of Patrick Lynch refuses to be questioned themselves. That's dangerous
Given the dangers inherent to being a police officer—and the extent to which most cops are trying to do the best they can—it’s actually understandable that cops are a little angry with official and unofficial criticism. But they should know it comes with the territory. For all the leeway they receive, the police aren’t an inviolable force; they’re part of a public trust, accountable to elected leaders and the people who choose them. And in the same way that police have a responsibility to protect and secure the law, citizens have a responsibility to hold improper conduct to account.
Yes, this is contested terrain and both sides will fight to define the scope and limits of police power. But these arguments are a vital part of self-governance, which is why everyone should be disturbed by statements like Giuliani’s, Pataki’s, and Patrick Lynch’s. The idea that citizens can’t criticize police—that free speech excludes scrutiny of state violence—is disturbing. Since, if free speech doesn’t include the right to challenge the official use of force, then it isn’t really free speech.
There is something seriously wrong with the people who are representing the NYPD.
The people protesting police violence and asking for for better policing are not the problem. They aren't anti-police, they want better policing. That the very idea of asking, even demanding it is more disturbing to the PBA than using a funeral to make a political statement is sad and disturbing. Police officers have a dangerous job, especially in cities and densely populated communities, The idea that they should not be asked to be accountable or asked to treat the people they are supposed to serve and protect a little better should not be a part of the fabric of our nation. The idea that the PBA is using this as a way to negotiate a contract is reprehensible
. It's the thing that very few are talking about.