Peaceful Protests Are Not a Betrayal

The NYPD and its union needs to stop being so petulant about civilian criticism and take this to heart:

Creating a space for peaceful, lawful protests is not what killed Ramos and Liu.

It should go without saying that demanding accountability of insular police departments isn’t “insult[ing] your sacrifice!” as the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association hyperbolically insisted on its web site. Yes, it’s a tough job, but that doesn’t mean, ipso facto, that the people who perform that job, and the institutions that surround them, should be immune from criticism or oversight.

Of course, this is nothing new, as Frank Serpico knows all too well. Police misconduct is just becoming more publicized. It’s no accident that RoboCop’s first directive is to “serve the public trust.” The public invests police with a tremendous amount of power, and that investment is always subject to review.


1 Comment

  1. Well, plural comments, related I think:
    * It will be interesting to see if the push-back against the film SELMA goes beyond arguments that LBJ isn’t treated fairly and there are complaints about the portrayal of the police authorities, from the FBI down the food chain.
    * Sometime in the 1970s, there was a Sunday DOONESBURY cartoon where Rev. Scot Sloan is asked by a child why protesters is in the 1960s called police “pigs.” It was a complex joke, but part of it was the cultural amnesia and historical twisting that came in with the 1970s f., where police sins were forgotten by Whites along with the subtexts of the Nixonian promise to restore “Law and Order” and the bumper sticker “Support Your Local Police” (with no sense of *whose* police “Your Police” were).
    * “Police shootings” is a nicely ambiguous phrase, and I’m going to put some of the blame for unwarranted shootings by police — and other abuses of power — on Bill Clinton. Clinton promised to put 100K additional cops on duty and at least fulfilled part of that promise. You can’t add so many cops so fast and have all of them worthy. And a good cop has to be worthy indeed: like, a really good cop — outside of very confused situations — *knows* that the person s/he’s fired on has a gun because s/he held fire until fired upon. That takes a lot of courage plus really good training and strong indoctrination and peer pressure — and you ain’t gonna get that putting a lot of average human beings in squad cars with badges and guns.

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