Queens Chronicle

December 18, 2014 10:30 am

Anti-cop attitudes can only harm the city

Editorial

The rift between the NYPD and many of our elected officials, including Mayor de Blasio, only appears to be growing, and that is not good news for anyone.

The situation took a turn for the worse when the mayor made an unwise comment about an incident in which several protesters injured two police lieutenants who had stopped a rioter from throwing a garbage can from the Brooklyn Bridge walkway onto cops who were on the roadway below. De Blasio called it “an incident ... in which a small group of protesters allegedly assaulted some members of the NYPD” — even though it was all caught on video. Both of the lieutenants were injured, one suffering a broken nose.

As Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said, “When cops are the accused, the word ‘alleged’ never enters into the discussion.”

Nor was there any legal reason for the mayor to say “alleged” since none of the protesters had been arrested.

The man who allegedly was going to throw the heavy garbage can was caught and charged later, however. Officers tracked him down through information found in the backpack he left behind, which they said also contained three hammers and a black ski mask.

Some peaceful protest. And did we mention the suspect is a CUNY professor and alleged “poet”?

In response to the lack of support officers get from the mayor, who previously said he has taught his son, Dante, to be careful around them, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has invited its members to request that de Blasio not attend their funerals in case they are killed on duty. Yes, that furthered the division, but can you blame the union? Police have been subject to a lot of unjust criticism lately, including that they’re racists, despite the vast racial and ethnic diversity of the force. And despite the fact that they continue to bring violent crime to new record lows.

When Gov. Cuomo was asked about the funeral request, he declined to criticize the cops and noted, to his credit, that they need protection, respect and consideration too. Unfortunately that’s not what they’re getting from too many city officials, who are pandering to police critics.

Take the latest from the City Council, some of whose members, such as Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, are calling for even more oversight of police operations from the department’s new, court-mandated inspector general. Several are also going to allow people to file complaints against the police from their district offices. No doubt they’re unhappy that complaints against the cops are down, because that doesn’t fit their views.

Following the PBA’s posting about the funerals, some members issued statements complaining about how divisive it was. Cry us a river. These are the same lawmakers who earlier had claimed the city was suffering from “institutionalized discrimination” and “failed police accountability” after a grand jury declined to indict an officer over the tragic death of Staten Island scofflaw Eric Garner. And the same lawmakers who themselves saw fit to block traffic on Broadway to protest the grand jury’s decision, further legitimizing the disorder that has been allowed to go on.

Police already have multiple officials and agencies watching what they do. Some are going to be wearing body cameras now to record their interactions with the public. They don’t need more oversight or exaggerated criticism from elected officials. Only when that stops can we hope to repair this rift, which must be fixed before things get any worse and the public really starts to pay the price. The safest large city in the United States must remain that way, and disorder cannot be allowed to take hold.