New York Post
December 28, 1999


Our New Law & Order Man

By Michael Meyers

FIVE wise men gave an early Kwanzaa gift to the city's "No Justice, No Peace" crowd -- two black eyes.

To the mantra of "Cops have civil rights, too!" the Appellate Division judges moved the trial of the four cops accused of murdering black immigrant Amadou Diallo from the Bronx to Albany. In so doing, they also knocked out the black judge who was to preside over the proceedings.

Now it just so happens that the four men in blue on trial are all white, as are the five judges who moved the trial. That made for a delectable race story in this town. And who were our media gonna call to protest the judges' decision? Who other than their favorite white-ghost buster -- Al Sharpton, king of the soundbite, and master of divisive racial rhetoric.

The Rev. Al obliged, charging "judicial apartheid," and pressing into the fold none other than black South African Queen of Mean Winnie Mandela. At Sharpton's protest rally, Mandela proclaimed: "In South Africa, they used the police to carry out their racist laws ... "

The No Justice, No Peace crowd has suddenly turned into a Law and Order lobby. Nor did the civil-liberties folks come to the defense of the judges' reading of the Constitution's guarantee of a fair and impartial trial -- something, the court opined, that these defendants could not get in The Bronx or anywhere else in the city's media market, which Sharpton and his ilk had dominated with noisy demonstrations and civil disobedience at 1 Police Plaza until the cops were indicted for murder. New York's Silly Liberties Union even accused the five white judges of career-building political expediency.

So: To our town's knee-jerk liberals, when it's white cops on trial, the race of the judge and of the community from which the jurors are drawn is more relevant than the constitutional guarantee of the defendants to be protected from massive, prejudicial pre-trial publicity.

Indeed, even Bronx DA Robert Johnson believes that the trial's move is "simply insulting" to the mostly black and brown residents of the Bronx. The Rev piped in: The five white judges "looked up and saw on the bench a judge the same color as Amadou Diallo, and they fled north."

In other words, five white judges were, in the lexicon of race, "thinking white" when they figured the cops couldn't get a fair trial in Bronx County. Well color me "white," too, because I agree with the judges.

A fair and impartial trial in The Bronx was highly improbable -- in part because of the poisonous climate there and throughout this town about the prevalence of police brutality, in part because of the bully tactics of the race activists, who think "the community" has a right to charge, try and convict the accused.

Words such as "evidence" and "presumption of innocence" do not pass their lips -- not when the defendants are white, and cops, anyway. Their agenda is to depict cops as out of control and on the attack; their thirst is for "black justice" -- which amounts to a reverse lynch-mob mentality. They don't care much about legal defenses -- or mistakes. They see Men in Blue and they think, and say, "guilty" of crimes against The People -- just like they see five white men in black robes and charge the system with "judicial apartheid." For them, there is no defense to 41 bullets.

Only when the suspect is black does the Race Crowd posit the theory of a "jury of their peers" -- meaning, to them, meaningful numbers of blacks. But when the suspects are white and the victim is black, a "jury of one's peers" means people drawn from the community and race of the victim. If they told the truth, the activists would admit that they already have their minds made up -- and want a jury to bring in the verdict they demand.

That's the meaning behind their chant of "no justice, no peace." That's the message when they conclude that five appellate judges wrested the case from a black jurist because they're white and think white. That's the emotion behind the call for the feds to take over the case -- because, in their color-coded, blackened eyes, a white judge in Albany and a mostly white jury drawn from outside the city's media market cannot possibly weigh the evidence fairly.

Now, that's insulting -- to the five judges who've been branded "racist" simply because they're white and were appointed to the bench by Gov. Pataki. It's also insulting to the fair-minded New Yorkers upstate who are white and black and brown, who don't deserve the tag of hicks or the racial calumny directed at them just because they don't read The New York Paternalistic Times.

If Amadou Diallo, an innocent man, was murdered in cold blood, then a jury of the cops' peers (or a disinterested judge) will decide that -- not Al Sharpton or Winnie Mandela. The cops are entitled to their day in court, to contesting the state's charges and to a vigorous defense.

That's what civil-rights activists and disinterested civil libertarians used to say -- until they decided that it's more popular to attack white judges and more expedient to try and pick juries on the basis of the community's skin color and the jurors' proximity to the howling of Al Sharpton's media-crazed No Justice, No Peace mob.