WASHINGTON, July 12, 2016 — On a cold December morning in 2014, an estimated 20,000 police officers lined a hearse’s route. They came to Queens, New York, to pay tribute to slain officer Rafael Ramos, Shield 6335, of the NYPD.
Ramos and his partner Wenjian Liu were assassinated by Ismaaiyl Brinsley as they sat in their police cruiser. A violent man with a criminal record, Brinsley had taken a bus from Baltimore just to commit the murders. “I’m putting wings on pigs today,” Brinsley posted on Instagram.
He committed suicide at a nearby subway platform shortly after committing the murders.
NYPD sources later told the New York Daily News that Brinsley had been a member of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF). “The gang, formed in the 1960s in the California prison system, recently surfaced on the East Coast and Maryland, where members are at the heart of a drug-trafficking and corruption probe within the Baltimore prison system,” said the Daily News.
The story added that an undercover NYPD officer learned the BGF planned to murder New York police in retaliation for the shooting deaths of Eric Garner in New York’s Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, both African-Americans.
Christ Tabernacle Church, the site of Ramos’ funeral, could seat only 850. To accommodate the thousands of officers outside the sanctuary, several massive projection screens televised the funeral service inside. As the image of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio flashed on the giant screen, thousands of uniformed officers about-faced, giving the mayor their backs.
De Blasio has never had good relations with the police. He once told reporters that he had talks with his son Dante, who is half African-American, about “the dangers he may face … we’ve had to literally train him … in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.”
On the night Ramos and his partner were shot, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told the press, “There’s blood on many hands tonight. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.”
He blamed de Blasio for the rise in anti-police sentiment, saying that during his campaign for office, de Blasio said the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign, which reduced gun crime in the city, was an egregious example of racial profiling.
Writing in the New York Times in 2012, Dennis C. Smith, a New York University public policy professor, said that stop-and-frisk is “most beneficial for black and Hispanic communities that experience the greatest victimization rates, and particularly for young black and Hispanic males. They are disproportionately victims and perpetrators of violent crime. As a result of active crime-prevention techniques like stop-and-frisk, they are being arrested and imprisoned at a drastically lower rate. The number of inmates from New York City in state prisons is down 42 percent since 2000, while the rest of the state showed a 17 percent increase. This too is an important claim for the effectiveness of police stops.”
After he was elected mayor, de Blasio introduced restrictions on the practice. “As the number of [stop-and-frisk] stops fell, the number of murders spiked 19.5 percent during the first five months of the year, the number of people shot is up 9.2 percent and the number of shooting incidents jumped 9 percent,” according to a New York Daily News report in June 2015.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley might have been stopped and frisked and his Taurus 9mm handgun seized if not for de Blasio’s anti-police rhetoric and policies.
After two black men were shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota recently, President Obama addressed the incidents while at a NATO meeting in Poland.
“All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings because these are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system … To be concerned about these issues is not political correctness.”
Later that same day, Micah Xavier Johnson fired his Soviet-style SKS semi-automatic rifle at Dallas Police officers, killing five and wounding seven. During negotiations with authorities, Johnson said he “wanted to kill white people, especially white [police] officers.”
Shortly after the incident, Mauricelm-Lei Millere, founder of the African American Defense League, posted the following on Istagram: “We have no alternative! We must kill white police officers across the country!”
Tuesday, President Obama met with the families of the dead Dallas officers, murdered by a deranged man radicalized by race-baiting hate groups and the politicians who pander to them.
To paraphrase the president, Americans should be troubled by the New York City and Dallas shootings because they are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our political discourse. Those who inflame race hatred endanger the lives of law enforcement officers and, with it, public safety.
But expressing such concerns may not be politically correct.
Out of respect for the officers killed Thursday, one hopes their uniformed brothers, as well as the public at large, turn their backs on the man preaching hate from the presidential bully pulpit.