Ambush attack on NYPD inflames tensions

According to most of the reports we’re seeing this morning, the violence, looting and arson abated somewhat last night in most of the cities. There were still large demonstrations and violations of curfew orders taking place, but any reduction in the violent mayhem is a welcome sign. The improvements are widely being credited to the arrests of the three other police officers involved in the death of George Floyd, but that’s obviously hard to verify.

Sadly, that doesn’t mean that all of the news was good. New York City saw yet another unprovoked attack on a police officer shortly before midnight. In Brooklyn, a suspect snuck up behind one NYPD officer and stabbed him in the neck. This drew more cops to the scene resulting in two more officers being injured before the attacker was shot by the police.

A confrontation in Brooklyn late Wednesday left one police officer stabbed in the neck, two officers with gunshot wounds to their hands and another man shot by police, the New York Police Department said.

The officers were taken to a hospital with wounds that were not expected to be life-threatening, the department said. The condition of the man shot by police was not immediately released.

The bloodshed happened just before midnight in the hours after an 8 p.m. curfew that was intended to quell unrest over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Details on how it unfolded weren’t immediately available.

There’s no excuse for engaging in a cowardly, potentially lethal attack on a police officer, and you’re pretty much asking to be shot if you do it. But with that said, it’s not entirely clear that this incident was related to the ongoing unrest surrounding the George Floyd protests. The spot in Brooklyn where the attack took place is on the same block where there were police cars being set on fire and shop windows being smashed the night before.

But last night the police had that block mostly locked down. One resident told reporters that there wasn’t any protest action or violent rioting in that area when the stabbing took place. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the attacker wasn’t part of the mob from the previous night who was just coming back to start more trouble, but we don’t have the details to support that idea at this point.

Clearly, seeing unprovoked attacks on the NYPD is nothing new and it’s been going on since long before all of these George Floyd protests began. Back in February, a maniac shot two cops in a twelve-hour period, with the second attack taking place inside of a police station. Thankfully neither of the officers was killed. Back in October, another officer wound up in a coma after being randomly attacked by another psychopath.

Sadly, there are enough examples like those to fill up several columns worth of space. The police have been under assault for some time. But in the past, it was usually lone attackers or small groups seeking to take on the cops. Under the current conditions, something has changed in a drastic fashion. As long as most of the public supports law and order, the police can generally swarm a dangerous criminal and bring the situation under control. But when hundreds of rioters take to the street with the police as their targets, the thin blue line can be overwhelmed. And those are the conditions we’ve been experiencing for several nights.

We should hope that the lull in violence last night was the beginning of a trend and not just a short break in the action. But if not, the Mayor and the Governor are going to have to do something to put an end to this madness. And if that means calling in the National Guard again (or even the Army), then that’s what they’re going to have to do. They can’t simply surrender the city to mob rule.

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