This past weekend, New York City police officers were targeted for assassination — twice within twelve hours, including one attack inside an NYPD precinct. Those attacks have taken us back to a very dark place.
When the calls came over, every cop immediately thought of the last time we were under attack. And the time before that.
We thought of our brothers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were ambushed and killed in 2014 by an individual who had threatened to “put wings on pigs.”
We thought of our sister, Miosotis Familia, gunned down in an NYPD vehicle in 2017 on those same Bronx streets.
Fortunately, this time was different. Our brothers Police Officer Paul Stroffolino and Lieutenant Jose Gautreaux survived. They were saved, not by “luck” but by their own quick thinking and the heroism of cops around them.
They are home with their families and the would-be cop-killer is behind bars. We will do everything we can to keep him there.
It is a relief that we won’t be attending two more funerals. But that does not excuse the grim reality we still face.
New York City police officers have been targeted for assassination five times in five years. Our elected leaders have apparently learned nothing from these attacks. Cops and all New Yorkers are suffering because of their failure.
We have warned again and again that the deteriorating environment on our streets, created by pro-criminal policies and anti-cop rhetoric flowing from New York’s City Hall and our capital in Albany, has put a target on the backs of police officers.
We have been ignored, dismissed and accused of fear-mongering. We have been left standing alone on virtually every important public safety issue.
Criminals have noticed the lack of support, and they have taken advantage of it.
Our entire city is sliding downwards, fast. New Yorkers see the crime and disorder happening on their own block. They see the crime statistics catching up to that reality: nearly all categories of serious crime are up by double digits, for the first time in many years.
This is exactly what happens when anti-police rhetoric combines with laws that defy common sense.
Repeat violent offenders with violent crimes on their records are walking out of the precinct doors before we have finished typing up the arrest report.
The personal information of crime victims and witnesses is almost immediately handed over to criminals’ attorneys.
And our justice system is regularly spitting out career criminals who have no business walking our streets.
One of those criminals was a parole violator who had tried to kill police officers before. This weekend, he tried to kill us again.
While this assassin hunted cops in the Bronx, New Yorkers in every neighborhood received a terrible message about their own safety.
The unspoken fears of regular New Yorkers weigh on cops, even while we are under attack ourselves.
We did a lot of work to reclaim our city from chaos and violence. We simply can’t let it all fall apart. But we also can’t save our city on our own.
It‘s not too late to correct the mistakes of the past.
It’s not too late for our elected leaders to stand on their soapbox and say, “My words did damage. My rhetoric got into the heads of unstable people and inspired them to attack police officers. The policies I supported have made my community less safe.”
It’s still not too late, but time is running short. If our elected leaders won’t reverse course, it will be up to us. Cops and the New Yorkers who support us will have to make that change happen.
We can do it together by standing together, speaking out together and refusing to let our leaders ignore or dismiss us.
We need to remind them that behind every crime statistic, behind every shocking headline is a real person: a crime victim or a police officer who was attacked for doing his job.