Chief-Leader

September 25, 2017


Incendiary Instructor: I Won’t Shut Up Due To Pro-Cop Backlash

By MARK TOOR

MICHAEL ISAACSON: Remains defiant amid , uproar.
JAMES B. MILLIKEN: Statements ‘hateful and harmful.’
PATRICK J. LYNCH: Isaacson ‘spewing drivel.’

Michael Isaacson, the part-time instructor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice whose tweet that “it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops” created a furor that led to his suspension, said last week that he won’t stop talking and accused Mayor de Blasio and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch of having “conspired against me.”

“I will continue to talk to press and refuse to remain silent against the coordinated campaign against me,” he told the Daily News.

Rejecting a New York Post story that said he had left the state, he said, “I’m not in hiding. I went to D.C. for the weekend to attend a march and hang with friends.”

Postman Knocks, Obscenely

His Twitter feed, @VulgarEconomics, has remained active. He tweeted some of the hate mail he has received:

“If I ever see your p---- a-- on the street I’m going to put a bullet in your f------ brain.”

“BLOW UP, COMMIE PIG”

“No wonder you can’t defend your own ideology, your neck is so long that your brain can’t get enough blood flow.”

“Lovely people who love cops in this country,” he posted.

The PBA was the first of three unions to criticize the “future dead cops” tweet Sept. 15, calling for his immediate firing. “It’s absolutely outrageous,” said Mr. Lynch.

Suspended for Safety?

By the end of the day, John Jay President Karol Mason announced that Mr. Isaacson had been placed on administrative leave because “members of the John Jay faculty received threats, and our students expressed concerns for their safety in the classroom.”

She said in a press release, “I want to state clearly that I was shocked by these statements. They are abhorrent. This adjunct expressed personal views that are not consistent with our college’s well-known and firm values and principles and my own personal standards and principles. I am appalled that anyone associated with John Jay, with our proud history of supporting law-enforcement authorities, would suggest that violence against police is ever acceptable.”

James B. Milliken, Chancellor of the City University of New York, of which John Jay is a part, said he agreed with Ms. Mason’s characterization of the tweet. “We will always stand up for freedom of speech and the open exchange of sometimes conflicting or offensive ideas, but we will also condemn statements we deem hateful, discriminatory and harmful to our community,” he said.

Denounced by PSC

The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, which represents faculty members, said it “rejects the statement by Michael Isaacson about imagining his students dead. Isaacson’s statement is anathema to the teaching profession. It in no way represents the position of the PSC as a union or the tens of thousands of CUNY faculty—both full-time faculty and adjuncts—who choose to work at CUNY because of a profound commitment to the diverse and largely working-class students we are privileged to teach. But the right of free speech protects even repugnant speech, and every worker should be entitled to due process. The PSC will vigorously defend the due-process rights of every CUNY employee—both full time and part-time—we represent.”

The full tweet—‘‘Some of y’all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops”—was posted Aug. 23. It attracted notice shortly after he appeared on a Fox News program three weeks later.

Contacted for comment shortly after that, Mr. Isaacson, 29, told the Daily News that he doesn’t mind individual police officers, “but I don’t like policing as an institution.”

He said he encouraged students to give up their interest in joining the NYPD, “but unfortunately most of my students don’t have the luxury of a wide variety of career options. They are from low-income backgrounds and are mainly people of color. Most of them are just looking to get a job with a salary.”

‘An Insidious Bias’

That statement further infuriated Mr. Lynch. “Incredibly, Michael Isaacson’s explanation of his vile anti-police statements is as despicable as the statements themselves,” the PBA leader said.

“By saying that his students are ‘just looking to get a job with a salary,’ Isaacson betrays his own insidious implicit bias against what he calls ‘low-income’ people of color. He is saying that the students he stands in front of each day are not smart enough, or are not motivated enough, to pursue a career that they’re passionate about, whether it’s law enforcement or any of the other fields that John Jay offers.”

‘An Imbecile Instructor’

He continued, “Meanwhile, those same students are working hard at their studies, sometimes working two jobs to pay the tuition. Then they have to suffer through an imbecile instructor like Isaacson, who spews drivel with no connection to reality. If anything is hampering John Jay students’ career options, it’s him. We appreciate John Jay President Karol Mason’s announcement that Isaacson has been suspended, but he needs to be fired immediately.”

Mr. Isaacson also exchanged insults with Mayor de Blasio, who tweeted, “New York City won’t stand for the vile anti-police rhetoric of Michael Isaacson and neither should John Jay College.”

The instructor responded: “Keep in mind this is the same @NYCMayor who was protested by that same @NYCPBA for balking on a 1% pay increase. Who’s really anti-police here?”