The officers are being mourned and celebrated in New York and across the country, as they should be. But their deaths also have been improperly used in a political debate. Republican politicians, such as former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, and police union leaders in Baltimore and New York have blamed the killings on people protesting police tactics after civilians were killed by officers in Ferguson, Mo., Staten Island and elsewhere.The Los Angeles Times:
... New York police union chief Patrick Lynch, for example, lashed out at “those who incited violence on the street in the guise of protest.”
But it is utterly unreasonable to suggest that people who have been protesting the use of excessive force by police are somehow responsible for provoking the actions of a cop-killer. To follow Lynch's argument to its logical conclusion, communities that have felt the brunt of abusive police tactics must not object, lest their demonstrations incite criminals or the deranged to attack police. That's a non-starter. There is a conversation taking place on race and policing, and it necessarily will include protests against injustice, real or perceived.The Denver Post:
The head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association in New York was the most vehement. "There's blood on many hands tonight," Patrick Lynch declared in the wake of the shootings. "Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. ... That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall — in the office of the mayor."
And Lynch is by no means the only such critic. The Wall Street Journal, for example, concluded an editorial by saying, "The progressive campaign against police must stop before it has even uglier consequences." This was in the same editorial, ironically, that stipulated that "no one other than the alleged shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, is responsible for pulling the trigger."The New York Times:
... Anything that even briefly silences the police union leader Patrick Lynch, whose response to the killings has been to slander Mr. de Blasio as a bloody-handed accomplice to murder, is worth supporting. [snip]
... Irresponsible voices are poisoning this debate: George Pataki, a former New York governor, said that “divisive anti-cop rhetoric” from Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and Mr. de Blasio inspired the killing of the two officers; Rudolph Giuliani, a former mayor of New York City, spread the falsehood that Mr. de Blasio had let the protests get out of control (they have been amazingly peaceful); Raymond Kelly, a former New York police commissioner, falsely accused Mr. de Blasio of running on an “anti-police” platform.The transparent political agenda of has-been right-wing pols, the Rupert Murdoch media, and meatheads like Patrick Lynch is getting the backlash it deserves. Those who inflame the situation and attempt to link the murder of two policemen to peaceful protests as these sociopaths have done, are working against the best interests of the law enforcement community. It's not helping to defuse already hostile police/ community relations by calling communities "war zones" and attempting to stifle accountability. It's not helping to say there's a "progressive campaign against police," when even commentators on the right expressed concerns about violence against unarmed civilians. It's not helping the families of the two slain policemen to see this irresponsible, cynical, dishonest campaign being waged as they and many others mourn the deaths of their loved ones.
(Image: Slain New York City Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.)