New York Daily News

May 8, 2015, 6:48 PM

  

 

Editorial

 

Brian Moore: A life that mattered 

TODD MAISEL FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A sea of blue

So very truly, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton eulogized NYPD First Grade Detective Brian Moore as “a hero of the city, and a guardian at the gate” as the young murdered cop was laid to rest.

Moore’s funeral on Long Island, six days after he was fatally shot while on anti-gun patrol, capped a wrenching period that brought to the fore the true nature of the city’s police and the true nature of their policing.

Heartbreakingly, New York was reminded that cops’ lives matter, too, when no reminder should have been necessary.

In Moore, the city had a cop’s cop, a 25-year-old, all-around good guy from a family of cops who lived and breathed the job and excelled at protecting New Yorkers. To quote Bratton, “He had an eye for the street. He could smell a gun, as they say.”

That instinct, sparked by a man who appeared to adjust something in his waistband, led Moore to question career criminal Demetrius Blackwell in Queens. Blackwell drew and fired before Moore could protect himself.

Fittingly, Bratton set the murder in the context of a time when policing is too often treated as a problem to be fixed, rather than a profession to be applauded.

Cases gone horribly wrong, including the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Walter Scott in South Carolina have created the impression that police are engaged in wholesale, unjustified violence against black men.

The events were horrendous. In the Gray and Scott cases, they produced criminal charges up to murder. They demand accountability and reforms while keeping in mind the much larger picture of the millions of encounters between cops and civilians that produce security and succor.

“Brian’s death comes at a time of great challenge for police officers across the country,” said Bratton, whose welling emotions as he posthumously promoted Moore to detective were written on his face and voice.

“We cannot be defined by that criticism. Because what is lost in the shouting and the rhetoric is the context of what we do.”

What Moore did was hunt for illegal guns, long the scourge of our city and, more recently, the focal point of complaints about the stops and frisks that kept criminals from carrying their weapons.

Bratton said Moore could “smell” a gun, but never would civil rights activists accept such policing expertise as acceptable grounds for a stop. Had he lived, they may very well have held him up as an oppressor.

But, to New York’s great loss, Moore didn’t live, and Bratton closed with a most apt Biblical quotation: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”