The Disrespect is Getting Dangerous

By Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith (ret.)

Last week I read about five NYPD cops who got into a “violent” confrontation with five residents of the Marcy Houses subsidized housing project in Brooklyn.  On a Saturday night in late August, police officers responded to a large, out of control party at the low income housing area.  The alcohol-fueled crowd quickly turned violent and multiple people were arrested, including a 17 year old thug who “head-butted” one of the responding police officers.  Five of those arrestees have announced that they are suing the police officers, and the press seems to be supporting the criminals, not the cops.  Nothing new, especially after “media” outlets like Slate told us to “stop overreacting” to cops getting doused with water, a trend that began in the same area.  According to Slate, we all need to “cool down” and realize that treating these attacks on police officers like crimes just “over-criminalizes perceived disrespect for police officers…throwing water on police is akin to other embarrassing but mostly innocuous forms of protest.”  I’m sure this Slate “journalist” (Rachelle Hampton is her name) would cry like a baby and be the first to call 911 if someone who wanted to “protest” her insane, leftist views tossed a bucket of water or a sticky milkshake on her silly little head.  But I digress….

A few days later, a masked gunman tried to ambush NYPD officers on patrol in Brooklyn; the same gunman later engaged officers in a fierce gunfight in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn and was killed by police.  He was a 29 year old gang member and parolee with a lengthy arrest record.  This morning I woke up and read more media and alleged citizen “outrage” that an NYPD cop laughed after viewing the video of that same fatal shooting; you know, of the guy who tried several times to murder police officers.

This is truly getting ridiculous, and it’s bound to continue to spread across certain areas of the country.  The lack of respect for hard working police officers by liberal politicians, social justice warriors, “protest groups” like Antifa and most of the leftist mainstream media (just to name a few) is quickly moving from throwing water and garbage at cops to encouraging random, violent attacks on police officers just trying to do their jobs.

Cops need to respond, swiftly, to this nonsense.  This will call for strong leadership, which may be a problem, especially for NYPD cops who are led by a weak commissioner who recently fired Officer Mark Pantaleo five years after the death of petty criminal Eric Garner, who died of a heart attack after resisting a lawful arrest by Pantaleo and several other officers.  NYPD police commissioner James O’Neill, who used to be an actual cop, said in a news conference that he fired Pantaleo on the recommendation of a department disciplinary judge, who called Garner’s death an “irreversible tragedy” that “must have a consequence.”  I think he meant to say “scapegoat,” which is exactly what Pantaleo has become.  This kind of pathetic pandering is dangerous to the NYPD and to police officers nationwide.  It’s also incredibly dangerous to all of our communities; if everything a cop does is vilified and attacked, how aggressive do you think they’re going to be when it comes to enforcing the law?   O’Neill’s decision prompted NYPD’s Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch to author a memo warning officers to “be advised that neither your Police Academy training nor the current Patrol Guide procedures reflect the precedent established by this decision.”  Lynch went on to warn officers that O’Neill’s termination of Pantaleo set a dangerous precedent and “fundamentally changed the nature of our job” when he allowed politics to determine Officer Pantaleo’s fate without regard for the fact.  He encouraged officers to “uphold our oath” and continue doing their jobs but reminded them “we must remain united to protect each other from the toxic political environment in which we are forced to work.”  What an incredibly sad state of affairs for NYPD.

This is maddening for both police officers and the citizens who support us, so here’s what we need to do.  First, police officers need to use the court system to our advantage.  Whenever someone tries to hurt us or commits a crime against us (including a water dousing), we need to not only charge them criminally, we need to sue them civilly, regardless of whether or not they have any financial means. If leadership doesn’t allow arrests to be made, the officers need to document this and use all administrative means available to demand supervisory accountability.  Quite frankly, when I was a patrol sergeant if someone had tossed a bucket of water on one of my cops there would have been swift consequences for that offender.

Second, police officers need to start pushing the envelope of their 1st Amendment rights, especially on social media.  The constant doxing and censoring of off duty police officers on Facebook, Twitter and more has reached a new level of absurd, with police administrators giving in to cop hating groups who scour the Internet for perceived violations like posting the Thin Blue Line “punisher” mask on their Facebook page.  And if that NYPD officer gets disciplined for laughing at the video of a would-be cop-killer getting shot, that cop (and the PBA) needs to fight back administratively and civilly.

Third, Americans who support our law enforcement officers need to be vigilant and vocal about supporting the rights of their local crimefighters.  The thugs have no problem lodging complaints against cops just trying to do their jobs, our supporters need to do the same when it comes to police “leaders” who refuse to support their officers.

The “War on Cops” is on, physically, emotionally and administratively, by many on the political left, including most of the Democrat presidential front runners, and even by some pandering politicians of the right.  We are going to need each other, and those who support us, even more in the days and weeks to come.





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