The situation between New York City police and the Mayor’s office has clearly reached a critical point. While they have disagreed on several things in the recent past, there always seemed to be some level of cooperation remaining, or at least the willingness to maintain a public patina of such when the cameras were turned on. But after Bill de Blasio’s response in the wake of Eric Garner’s death, it seems that city’s finest have had enough. A police union in the Big Apple has asked their members to sign a waiver stating their wishes that Hizonor refrain from attending their funeral if they pay the ultimate cost in the line of duty.
“I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty,” the waiver states.
“Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice.”
Officers can download the form on the PBA’s Web site and drop off a signed copy to their PBA delegates.
The mayor traditionally attends funerals for fallen officers.
“This is deeply disappointing,” the mayor and the council speaker said in a joint statement.
“Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics.
It’s interesting that the Mayor’s office would choose to refer to this action as incendiary rhetoric while refusing to even address the concerns of the officers and their leadership after he essentially threw them under the bus. Yes, we all know that the Mayor’s wife is black, but standing in front of that many cops and saying that he warns his own son to be careful around them lest he be killed was clearly one step too far across the Rubicon.
Rick Moran caught this story before I did and shares his thoughts.
Ordinarily, the advice given by de Blasio to his son is sound, although then was not the time to say it and the way he said it implied he was in danger. Most of these recent police shootings are the direct result of people not doing what the police are telling them to do. Trying to be a hard ass and resist the police is extraordinarily dangerous. When encountering the cops, no matter what the circumstances and even if you think the police are in the wrong, cooperation with their wishes is not only smart, it’s the law.
That’s the message that black parents should be giving their children. When stopped by an officer, do as you’re told, don’t mouth off or talk back, and if taken into custody, don’t resist. If you know it’s a mistake, keep your mouth shut until you get legal representation. These simple rules are a no brainer when dealing with the police and are virtually guaranteed to prevent the kinds of tragedies that have occurred in recent weeks.
Even beyond the concerns that Rick raises, this is far more than a case of dysfunctional politics in New York City… something so unremarkable that it would never be worth a headline. What we’re witnessing here is, yet again, the breakdown of civil society and the weakening of the line between order and mayhem. As long as protesters were out there having their voices heard and the city presented a sympathetic, yet unified front which was willing to engage with them in a positive conversation, things could move ahead over this tricky terrain. But the Mayor has sent the message that he is not on the side of the police and sides with their accusers. He has let them know that the executive offices which are charged with leading law enforcement do not stand with the officers on the street and that they view them as the problem rather than the criminals. This will do nothing but embolden responses on the streets where the police already take their lives in their hands by the simple act of suiting up and heading out each day to do their jobs and protect the citizens.
At some point it will not be worth the time of the cops to keep showing up in the highest crime areas. And when they stop, let’s see how much everyone enjoys that civil society with nobody around to enforce the laws.