The Police Union’s Irresponsible Reaction To Shooting Of Two NYPD Officers

Yves here. I left NYC the day that Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed two New York City policemen after shooting his former girlfriend in Baltimore. On the plane, three students (two in grad school, one in college) who didn’t previously know each other and were going home to Birmingham were discussing the event. All were concerned that this would put a chill on the protests against police brutality. And in case you wondered, yes, all were white.

The police are using this tragedy for selfish and anti-democratic ends. And what is troubling is that Mayor De Blasio hasn’t put them in their place. Corey Robin explains what that really signifies:

Instantly, the police and their defenders moved into high gear, blaming the murders on the protesters; NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had been gesturing toward the need for police reform; and US Attorney General Eric Holder. Many have called for the mayor’s resignation…

Instantly, the police and their defenders moved into high gear, blaming the murders on the protesters; NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had been gesturing toward the need for police reform; and US Attorney General Eric Holder. Many have called for the mayor’s resignation….

[I]t gives you a flavor of what Greg Grandin is calling a “cop coup” in New York. It’s a strong term, but it’s hard not to conclude that the mayor believes his first duty is not to the security and well-being of the people of New York but to the security and well-being of the NYPD. Because the fate of his administration is in their hands.

The mayor has already called upon protesters to suspend their protests. Even though the protesters had already considerably softened their line—chanting “Blue Lives Matter,” too—De Blasio said today:

“It’s time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in due time.”…”That can be for another day.”….

But whatever historical precedent comes to mind, one thing is clear.

The entire New York City establishment—not just De Blasio, but political, cultural, and economic elites—is terrified (or in support) of the cops. With the exception of this fairly cautious statement from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, himself a former police captain, not one of these figures has spoken out against the Freikorps-ish rhetoric emanating from the NYPD. It’s not that these men and women are spineless or gutless in a psychological or personal sense. It’s worse: They’re politically frightened, which is far more dangerous. Because they have no sense of an alternative base or source of power. After decades of being whipsawed by capital—you could trace this rot all the way back to 1975, if not even further—they’re simply not prepared to take on the police. Even if they wanted to.

Yves here. And let us not forget that during the crackdown on Occupy Wall Street, Mayor Bloomberg boasted that he had the seventh biggest army in the world at his disposal.

This Real News Network interview with Glen Ford discusses this police power grab. I hope you’ll circulate the video widely.

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I am Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of the Glen Ford report.

Now joining us is Glen Ford. He is the cofounder and executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, and he’s also a regular contributor to The Real News.

Thank you for joining us, Glen.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Oh. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

DESVARIEUX: So, Glen, a major story this week coming out of New York. Two NYPD officers were murdered. You have the police union chief coming out and saying that Mayor de Blasio has blood on his hands. What’s your reaction to all of this news?

FORD: I think that those statements by the police union spokesman should be considered to be physical threats to the mayor by an armed group. I think it requires an investigation as a verbal assault not just against the person of the mayor but against civilian authority. We talk about rogue cops and an army of occupation. This union chief speaks of the cops now being on a war footing. So who are they making war against? How long has this war been going on? And are we talking about escalation? And clearly they’re talking about escalation against the usual suspects. We know who they are–young black and brown men.

But this escalation now includes civilian authority itself. And it’s not just the threat against a mayor that they say has blood on his hands. These cops were talking about doubling up on assignments or refusing to take on assignments, that is, cops assigning themselves in the wake of these killings. Cops are not allowed to assign themselves. They’re not allowed to create their own formations and then go about policing and patrolling as they see fit. That is not acting under color of law. That is the definition of rogue. It is more like a mutiny that they’re actually verbalizing, something that we might call a coup, a rejection of civilian authority. And we should see it that way, a very bald statement that they’re not going to come under the authority of those who actually give them the authority to walk around with guns. That’s not given to them for life and under any kind of circumstances.

They’re only allowed to exercise this monopoly on the use of force as the civilian authorities assign them to use it and under whatever restrictions the civilian authorities give to them. Anything else is a conspiracy, a conspiracy to commit unlawful acts. And it really is potentially actionable in a legal sense.

DESVARIEUX: What do you make of these arguments, Glen, that you’re hearing a lot in the mainstream press that sort of these protesters also are responsible and are attacking police officers? And people point to Al Sharpton as sort of race baiting and all of these types of arguments. What’s your take on that?

FORD: Well, the people have the right to challenge the legitimacy of state authority. The people have the absolute right to assemble and to protest. And those who threaten to go beyond the color of law, beyond the [incompr.] to curtail those rights are guilty of criminal offenses. They are guilty of offenses not just against the protesters, but against the state itself, against society itself. They are speaking coup language. And if it were not for this fawning behavior that the corporate media exhibits towards the police, if people were looking at them simply as citizens, they would be described as committing and threatening criminal acts and threatening to commit even more serious criminal acts.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. I want to talk about this op-ed that I saw as an opinion piece, actually, in Time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he said the police aren’t under attack; institutionalized racism is. Do you feel like sometimes the conversation that–do you think that’s how the conversation should be framed, instead of looking at police and directly attack, going against police brutality? But let’s talk about the actual institutions that support this kind of behavior.

FORD: The police are proving the arguments of the protesters, of this burgeoning movement, to be correct. When their behavior is confronted, they resort to even more lawlessness.

And let’s talk about the real threat, an imminent one for the next demonstration. If police can constitute themselves on their own orders–and remember, there’s 35,000 of them. They are an army behaving as an army of occupation. If they can constitute their own formations, then what’s to stop them from self-assigning 5,000 more cops than are assigned by the commissioner of police to the next demonstration and policing it any way that they see fit?

We really are on the verge of a real crisis here. And, of course, we know who the victims would be. They are threatening to take the law into their own hands, to behave as if they are the law. They are showing that the protesters are correct in describing the nature of policing in America as arbitrary, capricious, and racist, and rogue.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. Glen Ford, thank you so much for joining us.

FORD: Thank you.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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  1. Gerard Pierce

    This is an open letter to the police union officials who are busy trying to blame New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and various protesters for the deaths of two police officers.

    It’s easy to understand the police reaction to the deaths of these two officers. Until somebody tells me otherwise I have to assume that these were two good cops who took seriously their obligation to serve and protect.

    Based on what’s been going on for the last few months it’s understandable that many police are now scared spitless.

    It was a tough job before the recent wave of cop on black killings. If I were a police officer I would be frightened too. I would be frightened of retaliation for the actions of a number of people who would have to be called either bad cops or stupid cops.

    When two police are assassinated, the other good cops are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they have any honesty they would recognize that a lot of the current anti-police sentiment was earned – by people who are not worthy of their support.

    Unfortunately we are now dealing with the “blue wall” which says that they all have to support these police killers. No one who wishes to remain a police officer can challenge this. And it’s a shame that the attacks on the Mayor come from the head of the Police Benevolent Association.

    Most of us would express our condolences for the loss of two officers. But the mayor also represents us in expressing those condolences. There’s something pathetic – and frightening – about the head of the police union declaring war on the rest of society.

    Ferguson came about because of the actions of one “frightened” police officer. And now police across the country are also frightened.

    I can’t blame them for being frightened but I can blame them for supporting the wrong people and attacking the wrong people.

    1. KTB

      There are some issues here. First of all, you refer to the “recent wave of cop on black killings” as if this is some new phenomena. It’s not new at all. This has been going on for a long time but was mostly ignored because of the same systemic racism that causes it in the first place. All those deaths weren’t even considered news worthy (because they were all assumed to be criminals, which somehow justifies their death), which is why people like you think this is a new thing. And Ferguson didn’t come about because of one “frightened” police officer. That’s such an out of touch thing to say that I honestly don’t know where to start. That officer wasn’t frightened, he was unhinged and racist. Just like all the other “frightened” police who have shot and killed people while running away, handcuffed, or standing with their hands up. You don’t shoot people who are running away out of fear. You do it out of anger. The cops aren’t frightened. They’re angry and emboldened, which is even worse.

      Do you know how often a black person is killed by police in the US? Every 28 hours. And even though you hear about an unarmed black man being gunned down by police every single week (no exaggeration), the cops always get away with it. They don’t even get a reprimand. So where exactly are all the “good cops” in this situation? Are they the ones who remain silent while all this goes on? Are they the ones openly mocking grieving families and protesters? I personally don’t think anyone can call themselves a good cop if they stand by silently, allowing racist cops to shoot first and ask questions later (in reality, cover up later). This problem goes far deeper than just a few bad apples. There is a whole system in place that keeps police unaccountable and above the law, and that kind of power, in the hands of people who can kill with impunity, is very dangerous.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Lordie. See how long you last in a shootout with cops. Plus they have much bigger and better toys than you do, like helicopters and ex-military hardware. Your gun is no match against a tank or other armored vehicle.

      And where have all these gun-toting citizens been as our right to assemble has been curtailed in recent years?

      1. different clue

        I have no guns at all. I am as gunless as the day I was born. But the principle still stands. One non-crazy citizen would not seek a shootout with police in any case. But would the police get into a shootout with thousands or tens of thousands of armed citizens at one time? Especially if those citizens were part of a long-standing gun-culture as many non-bicoastal Americans are? The NATO forces in Afghanistan outgunned and outhelicoptered the Taliban, but couldn’t defeat them. I read somewhere there is a military-analysis saying: ” Quantity is a quality all its own.”
        But the fact that millions of non-criminal New Yorkers are all part of a gunlessness-culture in a guns-semi-outlawed-for-citizens legal regime could be part of what makes them so potentially helpless in the face of a possible Police Insurrection. They are feeling the fear. Non-bicoastal Americans don’t care to take that particular risk. So far they are accepting all kinds of other risks of course.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Did you miss that the NYPD is the seventh biggest army in the world? And that ordinary citizens with guns have no training in working as a team, and pretty much all have shooting experience only in a target range?

          Historically, when it has been police or internal armies versus citizens, the only reason citizens have won is the police refused to shoot them, out of seeing the order to kill as illegitimate, not out of fear. Groups of 1000 are no longer even allowed to assemble.

          Frontal armed confrontations will go nowhere. The police will shoot the people in the front lines and the rest will lose nerve. The much better course of action is non-violent protests that mess up commerce (die ins that block transit routes are brilliant, particularly since many drivers seemed to support them) and if things get worse, targeting infrastructure.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            I don’t know, Yves, maybe you’re right. But the simple fact is that even the “seventh biggest army in the world” couldn’t save these two. All the military ordnance in the world couldn’t keep these two alive.

            Cops don’t prevent crime, they just come in, en masse, to mop up after the fact. Their “effectiveness” is dependent on the forbearance and general respect for the “law” in the population.

            But their own lawless arrogance has been on spectacular display lately and it is fast eroding the public support essential for their personal and professional survival.

            It is so predictable that they would attempt to power through this crisis with threats and bullying–the only thing they seem to understand and the only way they appear to be able to relate to the citizenry. It’s not hard to see how some one might conclude that “non-violence” is a fool’s game.

            Neither the cop leadership, the PBA nor the courts have done these cops any favors by making them think that they are invincible and omnipotent. No one is, and the two funerals at the weekend should be making that pretty clear.

            1. James

              Ding ding ding! Had the cops been willing to honestly look at their own after any of the recent confrontations, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Instead, what did we see? Shameless coverups, militarized crack downs, and media fistpumping demanding apologies of all things. If cops want to set themselves above the rest of us they have the responsibility to at least act like they’re worthy. When they act like occupying forces they will increasingly be treated like one. Or wasn’t that the point all along?

          2. Northeaster

            “And that ordinary citizens with guns have no training in working as a team, and pretty much all have shooting experience only in a target range?”

            This is true, however, with the exception of specialized units, firearms certification for police officers is static targeting as well, I have personally qualified next to officers that have no business in handling a firearm, yet due to the “blue wall” are passed anyway. Cognizant that most P.O.’s are ex-military, and newer guys now have a propensity to actually have served in combat units in Afghanistan and Iraq. The fat gun totting slob is not the worry (other than getting extremely lucky) – it would be other veterans with experience in both military and police tactics that form units of their own. I haven’t heard of this happening, nor do I think it will, it would have to be really bad to reach that point.

            “targeting infrastructure”

            This. It is also on the menu of military tactics: Command, Control and Communications. Chances are remote at reaching command (and one will die or go to jail as a result), but disruptions in control and communications are attainable. We recently had a line sabotaged, and that one line shut off the internet to a small city for over a week.

            “die ins that block transit routes are brilliant”

            The argument against these are interference with commerce, the extreme example being used here on morning drive radio is ambulances trying to get to incident/hospital.

            “Frontal armed confrontations will go nowhere.”

            100% correct, which is why only subversive/guerrilla tactics would be the only alternative to “peaceful” protests. Otherwise, just like Occupy, The People will get steamrolled (or shot/sprayed).

            No worries though, Wall Street is secure, they paid well for it. Politicians on both sides of the aisle will continue to pass Bills they no longer read or write, and the on-going decent into dystopia will continue with The People’s consent as they continue to fight over scraps. The rule of law is not equal in this country, is should not surprise anyone when The People become lawless as a result. I used to think “peaceful” protesting was the way to go, now I’m not so sure.

            Cake is on the menu.

          3. Karma Fubar

            Quick check on wikipedia invalidates the mayor’s claim to having the seventh largest army in the world. At roughly 35,000 personnel, the NYPD police force is on par with the active military armies of Tunisia and Belgium.

            It is nonetheless troubling to hear the mayor describe the police force as an army, to have some (imaginary) list as to how that army compares to other nation’s military forces, and to voice it in a way that makes it sound like he is itching to climb further up that list.

            1. Vatch

              Thanks for doing some fact checking. The world is already complex enough without extra complications being caused by bragging by politicians or spokespeople.

        2. David Lentini

          Your logic only reflects the trap we’re now in. By perpetuating our gun culture, we’ve only justified a militarized police force and endless profits (and political power) for the arms industry. The more you arm the populace, the more fear you create, the more you have to up-arm the cops; wash, rinse, repeat.

          The fallacy is that you can create a viable civil society based on a culture of a sort of mutally assured destruction. You can’t. The British did quite well having a society with unarmed police and general population, although that’s been changing under our influence.

          Peace and security only come with trust. NYC, and most of the US, is not the log-cabin frontier. We have to accept that it’s time to leave behind those fantasies and build a viable society for all.

          1. sufferin' succotash

            There is an alternative to a disarmed society operating on the basis of mutual trust and it can be summed up in one word: Guerrero. It’s what happens when the “forces of order” are allowed to become a law unto themselves.

          2. DJG

            David Lentini: Exactly. Some of the posts above are more about U.S. gun fantasies than about how people truly act. What is required in the U.S. is de-militarization: Fewer guns. And a lot less genuflection to the military and to paramilitary corps (the local police and TSA for starters). Further, I’d point out the U.S. gun fantasies and fetishes have led to an indifference to suffering and to torture. We are all Dick Cheney now.

            1. James

              All true. Unfortunately, those ships have long since sailed. I think we here too often focus on what should be done vs. what can realistically still be done. The seeds of US militarization have been sown in earnest since WWII and have been bearing fruit ever since. It’s exceedingly unlikely that such a sado-militaristic society as ours will renege on that ideology anytime soon without a major collective mental break of some sort, although I will concede that we appear to be verging on just that pretty much constantly now.

        3. Working Class Nero

          You are getting close to what the real threat is. The key is the police in NYC are not going start an insurrection; what they are threatening to do is quite the opposite — withhold their services from the public — by coming down with a bad case of the Blue Flu, as it were. After all, the right to strike is a fundamental human right. And so then the weapon-less bourgeoisie of New York City may very well be facing an armed threat — but here’s a little hint, it will not be from the evil non-bicoastal American gun-nuts. I’ll let you take a moment to figure out where that actual threat may come from.

          So basically the people most unable to survive without police protection are attacking the very people providing them with this protection. Not a smart move.

          In contrast, the evil non-bicoastal American gun-nuts that lived around Ferguson didn’t really care when the police there stood down and let the riots run wild. The working classes around there are armed to the teeth, not to take on the government – that’s an idiotic fantasy–but to defend themselves when the government decides not to.

          So in this scenario continuing protests only increase the leverage of the police unions. Which is kinda why the mayor is calling on the protests to stop. Hopefully his pleas will be ignored and the protests will double in intensity — and the police stand down further in response.

          Elite New Yorkers let this racial genie out of the bottle by using their substantial media megaphone to hype Ferguson. Sure they were busy ethnically cleansing blacks out of NYC through gentrification and wanted to change the subject. And they were happy to have police use Stop and Frisk tactics just as long as no one else (with one exception) were allowed to do the same. Since they had managed to convince large numbers of blacks to leave, New Yorkers recently started letting up on the oppression.

          What was really going on is one elite predominately white group (Wall Street Liberals) busy ethnically cleansing their urban wonderland was trying to distract the ADHD infected masses by shouting “Hey, Look a Racist Squirrel” in middle America. It worked for a bit but now that shit is blowing back on elite New York in like a cloud of anthrax once the wind changes direction.

          But somewhat ironically the only people who can clean this mess up and put all that racial hate back in the bottle are the NYPD. And they may just decide not to pull elite NY chestnuts out of the fire this time.

          Now sure, for the time being the Identity Left are helping Wall Street here. Last week the media couldn’t help but slightly expose the duplicity of Wall Street and the governing elite, especially the Democrats. But not only are they helping push crimes Wall Street off the media agenda, the Identity Left are adapting the Right’s anti-union rhetoric. Can you imagine if there were anti-Islam marches where the chant was, “What do we want? — Dead Muslims!” and then a couple days later someone explicitly shot dead two innocent Muslims? And it appeared the mayor had tacitly supported these marches? Would Muslim leaders by correct to be outraged at the Mayor in this case?

          So of course the police union leader is going to go hyperbolic. That’s his job. And he is holding a really good hand, at least short term (long term the police will be deunionized and charterized like the public schools). But the police are not going to take over anything – they will back off like they did in Ferguson and let things run wild. Will the unarmed hipsters who recently took over black neighborhoods in NYC feel secure? I have friends in that position and they do not feel secure.

          And will the marchers stop at just police brutality? Will they allow themselves to be led around by Identity White do-gooders? Some evidence from San Francisco says blacks have had enough of whitey “march-jacking” their demonstrations:

          The sentiment was forcefully articulated in a widely distributed Tumblr post this week in which an unnamed, apparently African American poster wrote: “Dear white protesters, this is NOT about you,” and urged whites to “hand over the bullhorn to a Black person (because your voice doesn’t need a bullhorn to be heard …).”

          And it erupted Tuesday on the steps of Old City Hall in Berkeley, when City Councilman Kriss Worthington, who is white, was repeatedly interrupted as he denounced aggressive police before a crowd of protesters.

          “Let a black person talk!” one yelled. “We’ve heard from enough Caucasian men!” yelled another. Worthington handed the mike over to Councilman Jesse Arreguin, who is Latino — and after similar heckling, the megaphone was passed to a black UC Berkeley student who was warmly welcomed.

          So gentrification just might be put on the table if the bullhorn actually is handed to black voices.

          1. James

            And a leader(s) with nuts would do what Reagan did to PATCO. Fire ’em all, with extreme prejudice. And to rub salt in the wounds, hire replacements only from the confirmed unemployment and/or homeless.

      2. Banger

        I don’t agree Yves–surely the Taliban are outgunned by the U.S. military yet….

        The fact of the matter is that most cops are either bullies, cowards, or go along to get along. Personally, I wouldn’t want such men/women to be my comrades in a firefight. Give me a committed cadre of citizens who have had either some military or martial arts experience (many martial arts people know how to handle all kinds of weapons) against an array of cops any day firepower or no firepower. Not that I would encourage getting into firefights with cops–I’m talking here about classic guerrilla war with a population on your side.

        Frankly, though I am in favor of non-violence, I respect the instinct of millions of Americans who do not (rightly) trust their governments. Owning automatic weapons and more (a lot of guys have some heavy weapons) plus large caches of ammo I believe acts as a deterrent to the worst totalitarian instincts or the State–may not stop it but it gives them pause.

        Mind you, I know that most people with weapons tend to be on the right and sympathize with cops–many are libertarians and don’t like the police.

        1. EoinW

          Are we moving into Charlotte Corday territory? “Kill one(2) and the rest will be afraid” At least an armed citizen has the Corday option. An unarmed citizen cannot defend themselves nor fight back in any way and is completely at the mercy of those with the guns. Of course Corday’s action led directly to the Reign of Terror. Yet seeing the police in action I can’t help but wonder if this thing needs to really blow up before there can be any change for the better.

        2. James Levy

          Way off, my friend. Think Clausewitz. The reason that the insurgency in Iraq or Afghanistan can survive is that it is not in the interests of the PTB to destroy them. They are no threat, merely useful tools for keeping the game going. An armed insurgency inside the USA would be an existential threat, and as Clausewitz said, as the stakes of war go up, so does the violence. The two most destructive wars of the 19th century were the Tai Ping Rebellion and the US Civil War. Why? Because both states faced dissolution if they did not win. So they pulled out all the stops. If Lincoln would gladly trade 600,000 lives for Union, what do you think his modern counterparts would sacrifice to keep this enterprise operating? Any rebellion, so long as the military stayed loyal to the State, would be ruthlessly and quickly crushed with such a loss of life that Americans would be quiescent and compliant for a generation.

          1. Banger

            You know James, I’ve been laying out the story that the US does not want to win these guerrilla wars for some time. I think we could apply the same logic to internal wars. The soldiers themselves, often to try to wage a decent war–they believe they are or should be fighting a war for a reason. The oligarchs will betray and use the police like they do everyone else–none of them have an interest in anything but keeping a balance of power that keeps them in power.

            1. James

              The oligarchs will betray and use the police like they do everyone else–none of them have an interest in anything but keeping a balance of power that keeps them in power.

              Unfortunately, the soldiers and the police either don’t know that, or their livelihoods rely on them not knowing that. Which is of course what makes standoffs between working class cops and protesters so post-ironic. They both have the same interests at heart personally, yet one side has been bought and paid for (and very cheaply at that!) to refute those interests and attack others of their own kind.

          2. Working Class Nero

            You are spot on. There is huge difference between an insurgency against a foreign power and a domestic insurgency, which is basically a civil war. It quickly becomes too expensive for a foreign power to continue to fight; while the elites in domestic insurgencies have nowhere to run and so they fight to the death. Against a foreign occupier, the people are united by nationalism against the foreign intrusion. In an domestic insurgency the people are divided in a civil war.

            El Salvador is the classic example of the tenacity of a domestic elite against an insurgency. Algeria (1954-62) against the French, Vietnam against both the French and the Americans, Hezbollah against the Israelis, and the Islamists in Afghanistan against both the USSR and the USA are examples of a domestic insurgency defeating a foreign occupier.

      3. McMike

        Actually, the presence of armed opponents has often led the cops to respond with greater restraint, they go to great lengths to avoid armed confrontations, and generally only do so as a last resort, or if the situation unexpectedly deteriorated.

        It is mainly for un- or lighlty armed people that the cops show up bristling with hardware and spoiling for a fight

      4. jgordon

        The point being that an illegitimate government does not have the moral right to tell people that they aren’t allowed to defend themselves–practicality aside. You can not have an illegitimate government enforcing the strong gun control laws you desire.

      5. TG

        That is an excellent point – no individual can stand up to the organized police no matter how many AR15s they have, and no militia can stand up to an organized professional military. But that’s not the issue.

        Back when the American oligarchs were crushing strikes with the Pinkertons, workers fought back and won. The oligarchs then sent the regular army in, and crushed the strikers – but – the army can’t be everywhere at once, and you can’t profitably run a coal mine that is occupied by federal troops. In the long run the US labor movement triumphed.

        Now in wonderful gun-controlled Mexico the oligarchs could shoot striking workers with impunity, without cost – and look where Mexico ended up (and with an official murder rate 3X more than gun-crazy USA!)

        It could be said that an armed populace is like poison on a frog. A poisoned frog still can’t defend itself from a fox – but it makes eating it hard, and if the fox does eat it, the fox gets sick and all the other frogs are protected. An armed civilian cannot protect him or herself from the police – but an armed populace is hard to opress. The costs are too high.

        Unarmed peaceful protestors are arrested and beaten by the police. Armed ‘Tea party’ protestors are treated with respect. You are surprised?

      6. not_me

        I have a gun – to use against myself if the alternative is a US prison. Of course an unloaded gun is even more effective if cops are present since they’ll make sure one is dead – even if they have to reload multiple times.

    2. OIFVet

      What we have here is a hero! Whatchoo gonna do, mount urban insurgency of the type we faced in Iraq? That’s the only chance you have, and something tells me you don’t have the stomach for that. You don’t have the materiel either, or the means to obtain it. Your guns ain’t enough Mr. Hero, you need some heavier weapons and explosives to penetrate armor and fend off air threats. You need safe havens to rest and recuperate. You need secure lines of communications with your formatiions. You will need to be willing to kill innocent bystanders because that’s an inevitable part of insurgency warfare. Most of all you need the populace to be on your side. You know, the one addled by TV, fattened by food-like substances, and which says the police and the military are the most trusted American institutions. Are you ready for all that, Mr. Hero?

      Effing Hollywood…

      1. Banger

        See my comment above–weapons can act as a deterrent and guerrilla fighters like the Taliban have been able to keep the U.S. military at bay for quite some time. Yes, I know the situation of supply is not the same–but in a strike and blend back into the population scenario I think a guerrilla force could take on cops–they (the cops) have shown that many of them are cowards and use the massive show of force approach of the U.S. military which has had very mixed results.

        Not that I believe this is likely–I’m talking in theory and if the resistance is fairly popular and supported by the population.

        1. OIFVet

          I guess I object to seeing our streets at home becoming a battlefield. We all lose in such scenario. And trust me, comparing plump Americans to Taliban is quite the stretch. The Taliban has been at it for almost 40 years now. Are we really ready for 40 years of war at home, and for the consequences of such? Surely there is a better way. Remember, the disintegration of the Soviet Block was remarkably peaceful…

          1. beene

            It did not take Americans 40 years of war to end the last episode of the Robber Baryons on the threat that they might be injured.

            1. OIFVet

              Did that Robber Barron threat ever end? At the end of the day, all that the New Deal did was to save the Robber Barrons from themselves by throwing some scraps to the masses, thus dealing with the rising threat of socialism. In the 80 years since, the population was sufficiently conditioned to accept oppression in the name of safety, freedom, etc. We are now back to Robber Barron era, only this time the police and the Pinkertons are militarized, the population is blissfully busy consuming, being afraid, and hating scary “others”. It all plays into the strengths of TPTB.

              1. jrs

                Yes I often think that’s all we can do anyway. Get a few concessions, or keep existing concessions. And even that will meet with it’s share of police brutality. It won’t be non-violent on the cop side even if it is on the protester side.

                That’s why people ask why don’t people protest torture or the NSA? Mmm hmm, does anyone think the deepest of deep state is going to change? I think protesting the police might work as they are not the deepest of deep state, so you might win some concessions there, or for New Deal type things that merely soften capitalism.

                Ok the whole system sucks terribly, and it’s really got to go, but why people don’t aim their resistance directly at the heart of the beast hardly needs to be asked.

          2. Banger

            I don’t like the scenario any more than you do. Also, I don’t like the idea of nuclear war either–yet, only if you possess nuclear weapons can you have some semblance of deterrence. If the citizenry is, generally, armed that fact is part of the calculus within the State Security apparatus. It should never come to blood in the streets. But remember, we had quite a lot of violence in the 60s and, in the end, compromise prevailed.

            1. OIFVet

              You call it compromise, I call it cooption. The white revolutionaries were safely bought (see Ayers, William), and so were the black revolutionaries (see Jackson, Jessie) by appointing them to be the “leaders” of the black people. These are not called “Black Misleadership” for nothing as far as I am concerned.

              1. DJG

                Excellent series of comments, OIFVet. I recall some of “Justice” Scalia’s fantasies about dangers and torture, which turn out to be based on some fictional character. And the same illogic turns up here.

      2. James

        I never read it that way in the first place. But I wouldn’t underestimate the power of acts of desperation to influence long term policy either. I believe they call that “terrorism” these days, and the US in particular seems to be all a twitter about it. In truth, populations that have been completely disenfranchised and just plain don’t give a f*** anymore often resort to it, and believe it or not, it’s almost always effective.

    3. Clive

      It is exceptionally difficult to get hold (legally) of firearms here in the UK and, if anything, the public clamour is usually for even tighter controls (usually in the aftermath of incidents involving guns).

      Whilst I am worried about a lot of things, strangely enough being shot (either by another member of the public or the police) isn’t one of them.

      Conversely, with lax controls on firearms in the US, you guys seem — with good reason I think — to be most concerned about, variously, being shot at or having to shoot someone else either in a law enforcement context or in a “having to defend yourself” frame of reference.

      While correlation definitely doesn’t equal causation, it might be something to consider whether better gun controls might ease your problems. Because here even in the not-especially-non-violent UK, incidents involving firearms are very rare. To add to my argument, in Japan where I lived for nearly 10 years, there are simply no firearms apart from a ridiculously small number of exceptions. And gun crime is virtually unheard of. All of which starts to look not unconvincing to me that strict gun control is, at worse, the lesser of two evils.

      1. Carolinian

        While correlation definitely doesn’t equal causation, it might be something to consider whether better gun controls might ease your problems.

        It’s not a new debate here by any means. In the US guns and abortion are major props to the Right’s pseudopopulists and therefore useful for keeping the money boyz in the driver’s seat. In my memory there was a wave of gun control sentiment in the wake of the Kennedy assassination and the NRA even supported the Gun Control Act of 1968 that gave meaningful regulation to gun sales (Oswald had ordered his rifle by mail order). Background here:

        So while commonsense would dictate that guns should be highly regulated, there are many among the elites who find the current situation useful. When some of them start to feel threatened things might change. But here it’s mostly ordinary people who are the victims of gun violence–violence which, it should be said, is less than it once was despite the wave of high profile shootings.

      2. craazyman

        No guns in England?? That makes no sense.

        How do you fellows get outfitted for a week of upland game bird hunting in the Scottish Highlands?

        A man can’t sip a sherry by the fire in the country house after a day in the field and not want to hold and admire his gun. Or does he let the wife do that? Or the girlfriend? In any event, somebody has to have a gun!

        1. Clive

          Wow craazyman, I’m starting to see you in a whole new light. My mental image of you has changed from that of a NY hipster and is now something more akin to… well… I’m probably still barking up the wrong tree with this notion

          To answer your question, though, no, you can’t simply turn up at some resort hotel or other with your gun and go out and start slaughtering helpless wild animals. You have to go through the local agents to organise stalking or a shooting party which the hotels are happy to arrange (here’s an example) (my thoughts are turning to you all dressed up in a kilt and sporran yomping through the heather) not least because you have to have the right paperwork for hunting otherwise you’d be liable to prosecution for poaching. While it is possible to transport firearms and ammunition, the government adopts a “dissuasion via bureaucracy” approach because you as the gun owner are responsible for security, safe storage etc. The resorts make a nice profit with the gun hire, so they aren’t keen on people doing a “bring your own” by offering the right levels of storage.

          If you own your own sporting estate though, it’s obviously a lot easier. So if you’re wondering how to spend the proceeds of your ten bagger there are, so I’m told, some bargains around. You could then delight in showing those city girls who’ve never seen anything that’s not made out of concrete how they can get their Jimmy Choo’s real dirty. You might even let them hold your twelve bore.

          1. bob

            The queen has many rules for her game, people and animals included.

            “If you own your own sporting estate though, it’s obviously a lot easier. ”

            Yes, it is, isn’t it?

            Since we’re throwing stereotypes around- I see you as an inbred child of aristocracy who delights in sharing his wisdom with the commoners. How many names do you have? Is the reason you type because you cannot speak anymore due to the underbite?

            1. Clive

              Ha ! If only… Ironically, us Brits are usually acutely aware of where we are not part of the upper classes because we know, as we’ve always known, that membership of the elite club is never an option unless you can buy your way in (and it was always possible to buy your way in, it just cost you a bit more). Ironic because from what I tell, in the U.S. that is also true and has been for at least a centuary — but the proletariat is only just catching on to that fact.

              (my parents were born into industrial poverty, managed to escape through the initiatives of the post-war socialist governments such as free high quality K12 education and free university education; it became possible for anyone, like my parents, to move into even the upper middle class even if the upper class was always likely to be out of reach. I too benefited initially, not least because I received under the National Health Service world-class orthodontic treatment which finally moved Britain out of the dental Dark Ages. So if I did have a hereditary under bite due to inbreeding, a £20k programme of dental work free at the point of delivery fixed that for me.

              Alas my generation willingly volunteered to squander that legacy by rushing gleefully if naively to embrace Thatcherism. Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…)

      3. Jim

        East Asians have very low crime rates wherever they live. South Africa has very stringent gun control laws and very high rates of violent crime. Switzerland is awash in guns and quite peaceful. Gun control laws are a minor factor in crime rates compared with racial differences. Americans of European descent have crime rates little different from those found in Western Europe. Americans of East Asian descent have very low rates of violent crime. Populations of Sub-Saharan Africa descent all over the world have high rates of violence.

        Low repeat alleles of the MAOA gene which play an important role in the biochemistry of neurotransmitters have been found to be associated with high rates of violence. The 2-R allele of this gene has a frequency of about .1% in US white males and 5-10% in US black males. US blacks also have an average IQ about one standard deviation below the average of US whites and lower IQ is associated with crime. Genetic factors such as these have much more to do with crime than gun control laws.

        1. hunkerdown

          Switzerland may be awash in guns, but I understand that ammo is very strictly controlled.

          Funny that you should bring up IQ and racial heterogeneity in the same post — I remember an episode of Diff’rent Strokes illustrating how standardized tests are, in the main, measures of cultural conformance, not absolute mental acuity. I suspect cultural friction, aggravated by elites’ preferences for cheap imported goods, curios and labor, plays a significant part in both violence and the lack thereof.

          It’s also interesting to observe that the “non-violent” groups you have cited tend to favor authoritarianism and accept slavery as social institutions. Bug or feature?

        2. jrs

          Even if one was to accept things like IQ, the mismeasure of man and all that, it’s not entirely genetic, it has a genetic component and then much depends on early childhood conditions etc..

          Maybe white people have a unique susceptibility to group think and to commit great crimes when the social circumstances favor them. Or maybe they have a unique tendency to sociopathy. They will engage in CIA torture. They are the one’s behind the endless U.S. wars. Of course this could just be the corruption of power. But then again maybe white peoples genes are totally wacked.

        3. Tim

          China is outrageously violent. I saw more street fights in 9 months of living in Beijing than I had seen in 3 years of living in Berkeley, CA.

      4. EoinW

        Now we’re entering “Minority Report” territory. This assumption that with an armed public some members will commit crimes, therefore they must all be disarmed and the crime must be prevented before it happens. Granted America is a more violent society. Still the scenario is giving up freedom for security. Which is fine if you don’t wish to exercise that freedom(I’d never want to own a gun) and you actually end up more secure.

        There’s another assumption: that trust in law enforcement is never misplaced. That’s certainly no longer the case in the US. Such trust may have worked in the UK, Japan and other societies during good economic times, however those times are coming to an end. Furthermore, look at the people we place in power. Do you really trust them to look after the average citizen’s best interest? Do you trust them not to exploit the power they have and not use law enforcement to do so? Because a completely unarmed society has nothing to defend itself with so falls back on its faith.

        The times are changing. If people’s faith in authority ends up being misplaced then they will have to find a new philosophy to get by on.

        1. Clive

          That’s a different argument (enforcement of laws vs. the appropriateness of the laws themselves). By the same logic (and this is an argument which has been covered many times on Naked Capitalism) you shouldn’t have any laws prohibiting mortgage fraud because the Too Big to Fail banks and their agents will simply evade them. No ! You have the laws, then you figure out the enforcement.

          I think you might be trying to make a slightly different point which is “there’s no point having laws if there isn’t a social contract by which the people believe in the laws and support their enforcement — and expect them to be enforced”.

          To which I, not being a U.S. citizen, can’t really answer as to whether that sort of social contract might be possible. I can only ask “haven’t you had enough of guns already?” If so, then something has to change. If you keep doing what you’re doing now, you’ll most likely keep getting what you’ve got in future.

          1. EoinW

            I’d frame it as two different kinds of laws. 1) those that maintain public safety. 2) those that empower governments further.

            We have laws on speed limits because those who drive at excessive speed endanger the lives of others. We also have laws enforcing the wearing of seat belts even though not wearing a belt endangers the lives of no one else but the person choosing not to wear it. The second law is government over reach.

            Likewise we have laws protecting citizens who are victims of gun violence. Anyone using such a weapon will face a trial by jury(unless they are a cop) and punished if found guilty of a crime. There’s no need for a law banning guns. That is simply government over reach once again.

            To be honest, I’ve no problem with gun control. I also have no problem with those who desire to hold on to their guns. My big problem is with governments run by criminals as they present a very good reason for citizens to protect themselves however they choose to. Regarding the US issue, why all this talk of disarming citizens but no talk of disarming cops? Seems rather phoney this concern for public safety to take away one groups weapons while arming the other to the teeth. With gun control shouldn’t there be reason for the police to have less guns. Even in Canada our cops are taser happy and don’t dare suggest they should have to do their job without them!

            Ultimately it comes down to a question of trust. For me, people in authority are less trustworthy than ever in my lifetime and the trend is going the wrong way. Thus I’ll cut plenty of slack for those who want the freedom of choice to own guns. I’m also a big fan of Tim Hortons as it keeps our cops off the streets and out of trouble.

          2. jgordon

            There are no protections guaranteeing bankers the right to commit fraud in the Constitution. There is however an individual, Constitutional right to posses and use firearms in the United States.

            As for the social contract thing: No. There is no widespread social contract here. There may be a few wealthy ivory-tower types in the US who believe that the government is not full of vile, self-interested liars, however the majority of people here would not trust to ban firearms. In fact, trying could plausibly incite a revolution.

            1. bdy

              What is it about “well regulated militia” that keeps the phrase so circumspectly absent from these conversations?

              I look around for organized militias and all I see are neo-Nazis and drug gangs. Not so well regulated, those. Recreational firearms, self-defense guns under the pillow, even hunting rifles, all require activist judges like Scalia legislating from the bench to pretend constitutional protection. And lets face it, most of us licensed gun owners are more concerned with protecting ourselves from the poor than from the police.

              I like my gun. Shooting is fun. I like my video games too. Justifiable homicide has long been one of my favorite fantasies, but I’m not sick enough to imagine I would enjoy it should the rubber ever hit the road. And I recognize that my so called “right” to have a gun allows for thousands of unnecessary deaths a year. It’s not worth fighting for, and every time I get the chance, I vote for its erosion. The fantasy where an intrusive federal government buys my rifle and melts it down is as almost as fun as the one where I use it to shoot zombies, but far less likely to happen.

              1. bob

                “Justifiable homicide has long been one of my favorite fantasies, but I’m not sick enough to imagine I would enjoy it should the rubber ever hit the road.”

                Your words don’t mean what you think they mean.

              2. jgordon

                The Supreme Court of the US has state the Citizens have an individual right to bear arms. If you don’t believe that the US Supreme Court and the government it’s a part of are not legitimate then you are free to revolt or stew in angst or start a petition to change the Constitution or whatever as much as you like. One thing you could stop doing that would be a big help to everyone else though would be for you to stop wantonly misstating things merely because you don’t like reality.

  2. ewmayer


    Your use of the word “assassinated” appears to be on the MSM’s “drill these wordings relentlessly” style guide for coverage of the story. I find the gratuitous use of this term rather than just plain “murder” quite interesting – to me it seems to imply that the lives of police officers are inherently more important than those of “ordinary” citizens.

    Ami way off base with my reading here, or do other readers concur?

    1. optimader

      I agree, assassination implies a prominent victim and typically a political motivation.
      By the same token I see the police/media tossing around the word “execution” and “execution style”, presumably attempts to differentiate these murders, because the victims were two policemen rather than two regular “folk”, without regard for understanding the meaning of the word execution –” The act or an instance of putting to death or being put to death as a lawful penalty.”

    2. Gerard Pierce

      @ewmayer – I suppose you can make an issue of my choice of words, but My only contact with the MSM is the NYT and that only to find out the lie of the day. I picked the word assassinate because to me it expresses a deliberate choice to kill someone in order to make a point. To me that’s a different thing from the other various flavors of murder.

      1. bob

        ” I picked the word assassinate because to me it expresses a deliberate choice to kill someone in order to make a point.”

        You didn’t pick it, it picked you. Deliberate choice to kill someone? That’s called murder, very simply. The only people who wouldn’t fit your definition of “assassin” are serial killers.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      It’s always amazed me that the police (everywhere?) define the greatest or most serious crime as the killing of a cop. If their duty is to be to protect the public, then the killing of one of the public (including a cop) is the most serious crime. If their duty is to protect their own institution, then the killing of a cop (excluding the public) is indeed the greatest crime.

      I guess what really amazed me is that people have been so comfortable with this definition and never questioned it. It’s an implicit form of what De Blasio is caught up in now that they can get away with a more explicit in our face manifestation of it if.

      1. optimader

        +100 BB Their the job is to “serve and protect” , unfortunately they didn’t complete the sentence on the policecar door graffiti.
        . The “Finest” moniker has always annoyed me as well (File with: “Best and “Brightest”)

  3. prostratedragon

    Robin links to Greg Grandin, who finishes strong:

    Considering that Giuliani and others associated with the NYPD regularly advises and trains Latin American police in the theory and practice of “broken windows” and “zero-tolerance,” perhaps de Blasio should give Correa [President of Ecuador, who survived a cop coup attempt] a call.

  4. John Merryman

    I’ve been pointing out that when the financial sector manages to blow itself up out of sheer greed, the next layer of civil order will be the security functions and they will use those ex-Masters of the Universe as pinatas. So maybe if that point were to be made a little more clear, it might give the one percent something to think about, as they suck the rest of the economy dry.

    1. hunkerdown

      They’re already thinking about it. That’s why they hire their own security details. That’s also why police and fire unions are largely exempt from the attacks on public sector unions. Do you really think the police are not themselves aligned with the MOTU? They know which side their bread is buttered.

  5. mike

    Prosecutors (like the one in St.L) have been successfully threatening legislators like this in all the high incarceration states for years, with law enforcement (the brilliant ones whose budgets get severely cut when the focus is on prison instead) aping them. They have been the true “drivers” of our overincarceration and the criminal processing side of The New Jim Crow, not weak tea “causes” that reform [sic] groups like Pew and the Council of State Gov’ts like to point at since doing something about reality would get them in trouble. It might be good if their power were seen for what it’s been for decades by those who stood by while they came and got others. Might also be a 1930s nightmare.

    1. Nonanan

      That and a left winger who won’t let any crisis go to waste.

      The cop executioner was an islam extremist and a gang member of the Guerrilla Black Family, which has ties to the Weather Underground and Bill Ayers. Facts which Mr. Ford conveniently overlooks in his hyperbolic attempt to direct the public discussion. Michael Snyder as a much less ideological analysis of what we’re seeing nationally at, not just in NYC, where Blasio has already established he’s a liberal goonie.

      Let’s talk about violent crimes committed by blacks, shall we? I’ll sum it up for you, thuggery is a culture, one with consequences.

    2. Nonanon

      That and a left winger who won’t let any crisis go to waste.

      The cop executioner was an islam extremist and a gang member of the Guerrilla Black Family, which has ties to the Weather Underground and Bill Ayers. Facts which Mr. Ford conveniently overlooks in his hyperbolic attempt to direct the public discussion. Michael Snyder as a much less ideological analysis of what we’re seeing nationally at, not just in NYC, where Blasio has already established he’s a liberal goonie.

      Let’s talk about violent crimes committed by blacks, shall we? I’ll sum it up for you, thuggery is a culture, one with consequences.

      1. OIFVet

        I am sure you omitted a few dog whistles, but remarkable effort nonetheless. Lot’s of red meat there. Now, would you care to guess which comes first: the institutionalized oppression and racism or “the thug culture”?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          No kidding!!

          Bill Ayers?????

          Must be Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin got together for the holidays, had one too many egg nogs and decided drunk commenting sounded like more fun than singing carols while Hannity played the piano.

        1. jrs

          But they miss the obvious one. BLACK PANTHERS, that has to play a large part in any right-wing cosmology of demons, in the list of the archtypes of right-wing nightmares. I don’t about Glen but:

          Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and was a rank and file member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago in 1969 and 1970

          If you want to charge radicalism, at least get the facts right. But even then ad hominem, it’s still a darn scary precedence that the police union is in open coup against civilian authority.

          1. Nonanon

            I’m sorry you missed the connection, yes, the Guerrilla Black Family and the Black Panthers are sister organizations, which openly advocate the overthrow of civilized society. A member of this gang “executes”, not my choice of words, two police officers after Blasio goes on national television proclaiming there are “centuries” of injustice which need to be addressed. The gangs, not wanting any crisis to go to waste, send a soldier to murder two cops, proclaiming two of theirs for every one of ours.

            There should be an uproar, and the residents of NYC will get the society they deserve. The rest of us, dealing with random acts of retaliatory violence, know how to deal with thugs. Violence is inexcusable in any context, and the right of self defense is an inalienable right granted by our creator.

            Honestly, I haven’t read the police union’s statement in the same context as Ford, however, he has an agenda, no pun intended, and I don’t see it that way. To say there’s a wedge between Blasio and law enforcement would be an understatement and one that existed before this incident. I don’t think Ford would defend this declaration of war against law enforcement, or perhaps he does. How, then, can any of you defend him?

            Do any of you defend those actions? If so, you have my pity.

            That law enforcement can be redirected in less confrontational postures is not under debate. Blasio is merely pandering to his constituency, while ignoring the realities of the office to which he’s sworn.

      2. RUKidding

        Wowee zowee… so Bill effen Ayers is responsible for this latest shooting of cops in Murka. Whodda guessed. Boy howdy does the rightwing noise machine spin on hyperdrive or what?

        That’s some red meat there, bro, but I think you forgot to blend in Benghazi111!!!!! and that there N-word in the White House. tsk tsk…

    3. jrs

      Perhaps, perhaps. But he’s right on in the dangers here, it IS a dangerous precedent. And he is a pretty good writer overall.

  6. MikeNY

    ITA the NYPD’s response and rhetoric are appalling and irresponsible.

    I’ve long thought the reflexive veneration “those in uniform” is a symptom of the deep and dangerous militarism of the US. It’s really time we started questioning the behavior the troops and cops, too. They are moral agents. They don’t get a pass just because they’re in uniform. If you are fighting an immoral war, or your force is perpetuating systemic racism and oppression, I think you are at least partly culpable.

    1. Ulysses

      My grandfather died in 1945, having fought against a nation that at best looked the other way, and all too often eagerly supported Nazi men in uniform who were “just following orders.” Thank goodness the world didn’t accept that excuse during the trials at Nuremberg– I fervently pray that the people of the U.S. wake up and refuse to follow the sorry example set by Germans, Austrians, Vichy French, etc. back in my grandfather’s day.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        The CIA response to the torture report was revealing. Day 1: Denial, “We didn’t torture.” So that denial didn’t work. Day 2: “We were just following orders.”

        So the real question is, at what point will They stop “following orders”. By They I mean any govt workers: Police, CIA, NSA, Military…

    2. Uahsenaa

      This is not entirely off base. There is a strong movement within the black community to willfully refuse to involve police in conflicts people observe or even criminal activity. And when I say “willfully refuse” I don’t mean a “don’t snitch” mentality so much as an awareness that involving the police often makes matters much worse than the crime being perpetrated. Add to that how in places like Chicago and Baltimore, ordinary residents step in to de-escalate tense situations without involving state agents, police or otherwise, and you have a recognition that you cannot simply be indifferent to what goes on around you.

  7. bkrasting

    Wikipedia say that there are 71 countries with armies greater than 35K – Maybe Bloomberg was boasting a bit?

    That said, I’d agree with Yves that the head of the of NYC PBA was out of line with his comments. So was Pataki. But what if this happens again? It will not take many more assassinations to tip this scale. A few police sick-outs in major cities and the population will start throwing molotov cocktails at the protesters.

    Who’s the bigger problem in this story? The head of the PBA or Al Sharpton?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And why, pray tell, would the police stage a “sick out?”

      They’ve already gotten away with murder and appear to operate in a constitution-free zone. They have pay, overtime, benefits and pensions the poor slobs who finance this tribute can only dream of, and they are allowed to abuse those same poor slobs at-will while variously being referred to as “finest,” heroes, peace officers, blah, blah, blah.

      What would they be demanding–canonization?

      1. Bruce Krasting

        The number of cops on the beat has already been reduced. This from NYT on how the shooting has changed the NYCPD’s patrol policy. (Many other cities are doing the same thing)

        “New York City officers going out on foot patrol were directed to work only in pairs. Sentries were posted at station houses. The department suspended patrols by auxiliary officers — thousands of unarmed volunteers who act as eyes and ears for the department. Detectives, who usually operate alone or in pairs, were told by the head of their union to go out in teams of three.”

        How long before that stuff translates into a higher crime rate? A couple of weeks?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I guess it would depend on how you define “crime.”

          Kind of like the way it works with “unemployment,” “inflation,” “income,” “economic recovery” or any one of a number of other words which I used to know the meaning of.

          Just as an example, since I’ve been reading NC, I’ve gotten the idea that there may be a fair amount of white-collar “crime” occurring in NYC that may be being misclassified as “free market capitalism.”

          Is a snark tag necessary here?

  8. Banger

    This is clearly a conscious and deliberate show of force. The the NYPD has great ambition, it’s own intelligence operation and international connections, and a lot of money from Wall Street (when and if they need it)–and these guys seem to want the world to know that they run NYC. I saw the politicians cower in the face of the police on cable so that tells us all we need to know.

    The long-term trend in the U.S. is towards a form of neo-feudalism. The democratic moment in history is waning and we seem to be going back to normal. In Washington the military and (even more) the intel networks have the power because they have the gun and the fist on their side and can and, in my view, will settle all accounts if required. We are lucky that most professional military people are, unlike cops, generally decent men and women who are well-educated and relatively rational. However, there are also many sleaze bags who currently hold some of the power within the services. They all know that the most admired sectors of the political landscape is the military followed by the police and the temptations have to be pretty intense. In the coming decades I suspect there will be more power plays like this one in NYC.

    1. jrs

      Yes it’s own intelligence operation that spies on Muslims (if the guy really hated cops maybe that had more to do with it than Ferguson …) and that has it’s branch in Israel.

      So a mini-empire indeed. Maybe I should eat my words about police being an easier thing to push back against even though I said easier, never easy. Although I don’t think all PD are so connected, most parts of the country are probably just not as important to the powers that be.

  9. McMike

    I dont suppose we will hear anyone in leadership or media point out that policing isnt that dangerous, if you remove on the job auto accidents.

    The odds of being killed by a bad guy are quite modest compared to the odds of getting poisoned or mangled in several other industries

    If we want to talk about people putting their lives on the line for us, we should be fawning over loggers and farm workers

    1. squasha

      quite so! Reminds me of the bully come home after a long day of pounding lunch money out of his fellows to the doting arms of a mother who believes him to be misunderstood, under-protected by the school staff and even picked on by his very victims. If there isn’t a whining snot-nosed brat sniveling inside a great many of these blackshirts, now that would be a surprise.

    2. fresno dan

      December 23, 2014 at 8:55 am

      I agree completely, but we long ago lost in this society dispassionate, informed debate and are reduced to the most ignorant, passion infused stereotypes as the basis of our debates.

    3. TheraP

      Think about it: Every day teachers deal with difficult teenagers. Without weapons. Knowing that should they use any form of corporal punishment, they are subject to arrest for assault. And teachers manage. Every day!

      If teachers can manage teenagers, so can the police. If most of us can control ourselves, so can the police. They can learn. Or the can leave!

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      Commercial fishing is the most dangerous profession, measured in terms of mortality rate. I believe being a derrickhand is awfully risky too, although I believe they are more likely to wind up crippled than dead.

  10. Jim

    Please remember this:
    I support police officers. Poeple seem to forget that they are citizens as well.
    I do not support criminals, especially those who 1) make an attempt on the life of the officer, and 2) resist arrest. The deaths of these officers are the direct result of the Left coddling criminals and demonizing the police.
    As such, the Left is making us all less safe.
    Any other way to look at this is pure B.S.

    1. Jim

      This Jim does not support the Police because we now live in a Police State.

      Future strategy and tactics must be built around this reality.

    2. jrs

      Largest prison population in the world. So it seems to me either:
      1) the “left” is powerless (so that their horrible coddling ways, are kind of irrelevant to policy) or
      2) the “left” is not coddling.

  11. Llewelyn Moss

    When I heard the cop union leader saying “De Blasio has blood on his hands”, my first thought was here we go again, ‘Cops Escalating the Violence Level’. You’d think cops would be trained to De-Escalate situations that could lead to violence. Apparently not.

    Just like the Eric Garner arrest was an escalation of a situation that should have only been a written citation, at the most. Instead, cops, supposedly trained professionals in law enforcement, escalted it into a violent and deadly take-down.

    I would not want to be a protester in NYC right now. After the “blood on his hands” decree, there will be 30,000 NYPD cops on the streets seeking revenge and satisfaction.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “I would not want to be a protester in NYC right now. After the “blood on his hands” decree, there will be 30,000 NYPD cops on the streets seeking revenge and satisfaction.”

      And they’ll have a pre-packaged, “legitimate” excuse.

    2. McMike

      I wonder if de-escalation is even in the vocabulary any more.

      The operative approach now is to establish unambiguous dominance, through overt escalation until their target yields, or succumbs.

      Shouting, cursing, insulting. Shoving, pushing, hitting. Tacking, kicking, strangling. Tasing, beating, clubbing. Shooting.

      That is why the cops seem to increasingly end up beating or even shooting anyone who resists their authority. The protocol, the ethos – their egos, the entire structure of the system, and their perceived safety – is based on the premise that they must obtain complete acknowledged dominance. If they don’t, they failed themselves, they failed their peers, they failed the system – and the flood gates will be opened. So, any hint of resistance to this authority structure is met with massive and open-ended violence until it is quelled.

      That Fergusson cop is in his car was likely thinking: “who is this ni**er to defy me! Who is this ni**ger to defy a cop! I need to put him in his place.”

      Under that mindset – mix in some chronic stress and a toxic culture of fascist entitlement and tolerance/encouragement of sociopathic behavior, along with long term use of steroids – it is a short road to a short fuse attached to the trigger.

      1. TheraP

        Just to add to that, there’s Police Expectation that citizens should INSTANTLY obey a cop’s order. Or… You’ll be shot for disobeying. Think how many times police give the excuse that the citizen failed to obey a cop’s order. As if we have all been subjected to military training and are ready to stand to attention and salute at a moment’s notice! As soon as police appear on the scene. Or give a verbal order.

        I’m white. Elderly. Have trouble hearing – even wearing hearing aids. Could easily be mistaken for refusing to obey an order. So I’m at risk now…

        Civilians should never be shot for failure to instantly obey! This no excuse for murder!

      2. Llewelyn Moss

        That’s my theory about the Fergusson Mike Brown killing. 1) The cop (Wilson) yells at the kids to get the F**k Out of the Street. 2) The kids flip him the bird (or something similar). 3) Wilson slams the car in reverse. 4) Wilson, in a Roid Rage, guns down Brown to teach him respect for the Police. Of course, we’ll never know since the grand jury was rigged to let the cop off the hook . And that’s now a proven fact, since the DA admitted he let witnesses testify that were known to be lying.

        1. flora

          ah. ‘roid rage. good point. how may police involved in a citizen’s death are immediately subject to a steroid doping test?

  12. Eureka Springs

    In my experience whether it’s gun free countries like Japan and England or gun filled countries like the U.S… Rights to peacefully assemble and redress grievances by the people are suppressed by all of these so-called democratic governments. I think this is a major failing whether guns are involved or nay. And police are only too happy to help suppress.

    I seem to recall during the early tea-party daze many assembled with guns openly displayed (even in the presence of the President visiting AZ) and none of those demonstrations faced the troubles I have experienced as an anti-war protester in many gun free peaceful protests. You know, protests dedicated to non violence as could possibly be. The greatest danger was hot dripping wax on ones own fingers from candlelit vigils. Yet agents provocateurs did their thing (threw rocks into nearby windows as thousands chanted NO violence) as police simultaneously kettled and arrested tens of thousands.

    I’m always amazed when fine folk like Yves and Lambert bring up gun control and when they don’t bring it up. Post Ferguson and all other reports of police killing innocents they have consistently failed to suggest gun control might need to include police and military.

    Much more just how heavily armed all police depts./agencies are now. It’s frightening! Swat teams everywhere. In addition to police enforcement of unconstitutional laws suppressing assembly, use of agents provocateurs, massive illegal surveillance, these seizure laws now a part of their planning – wish lists and as matters of their own budget planning, all under the auspice of the war on drugs…. Pure theft by officers of law with no redress ta boot.

    We live in a lawless society… from torture regimes on down. There is no good reason to trust…even less good reason to suggest only the peoples rights to keep and bear arms should be further diminished. Tragically, a crazy person went round the bend in NY… stop treating the rest of us as crazies too. It’s a race to the bottom with the same vigor as the other benevolents.

    1. James

      Agreed. Post 9-11 it has been open season on pretty much anything and everything. The horrors we’ve imposed overseas have now finally come home to roost. And yet we’re somehow surprised by all of this?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is a finance and economics blog, so I’m already off our beat in discussing Ferguson and Garner, but the creeping Weimarization of our society is too important not to discuss.

      Lambert and I have made our views on gun control very clear. Pretty much everyone in the US has their minds made up on this topic. Unlike writing on other topics, where we might influence policy on the margin, we have no particular competence to make our views on this more authoritative than that of any other citizen. And the comments generally go to hell if we bring up gun control more than when it is obviously part of a big story.

      1. Nonanon

        When you say, comments go to hell, do you mean, not to your liking?

        Had to ask. I would think someone in your position is quite far removed from the facts which most of us live by everyday. We’re the victims of the vampire squid banks. I realize maybe your returns aren’t as high as they could be, but middle class america is losing their fight and with negative returns. How long would you be able to stay in business. How long would you? The revolution which needs to occur in this country isn’t class or racial, it’s against those who would seek to put man in perpetual servitude. How bad does it have to get before a universal awareness dawns. I suppose we’re going to find out.

        Oh, and I don’t see gun control as working to anyone’s advantage except the oppressors.

  13. Horatio Parker

    I can’t help but wonder who could potentially profit from this. Perhaps if DeBlasio were more the neocon union buster type, he could hire private security and begin the splintering of the force. The unified NYPD is a very recent phenomenon.

    I’ve heard from a friend in Brooklyn that they’re seeing evidence of a slow-down: two units to a call. And in one of the whitest neighborhoods, Bay Ridge.

    1. TheraP

      Oh, God, no! No more outsourcing of security! Civilian control of police, it must be. No mercenaries on US soil!

      1. Horatio Parker


        But after watching how 911 was exploited by the authoritarians, I cant help wondering how they might turn events to their ends.

        I doubt DeBlasio is up to controlling the NYPD. I hope I’m wrong.

  14. DJG

    Somewhat anecdotal, but isn’t there a story that during a doctors’ strike in some country the death rate went down? Let the NYPD work to rule. They may be surprised at what happens to their policing.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I know it was the Civil War, but the hospital with the best survival rate was where they sent those beyond all help in Richmond. The site only had a cleaning and cooking staff, no doctors or nurses. The human body can be resilient in the right environment.

      As for the cops, it’s not like they actually do anything besides toss half the reports filed by the upper classes which are largely about items they left in the open.

    2. Larry B.

      Did hear on NPR recently about study where they looked at survival rates for heart attacks when there were major cardiology conventions going on. Outcomes dramatically improved when the cardiologists were out of town. Bills were lower, too.

  15. Dean

    1. Kill your television
    2. Bank local or with a credit union
    3. Downsize
    4. Shop your farmer’s market
    5. Pay with cash

    1. Gaianne


      Very on topic. Why? Outrage is fine, but what are you going to do? Join the demonstrators, if you have a mind to–but in the overall scheme of things this is a reargard action. (Reargard actions are worth doing: Slowing the enemy is important!) The pro-active side is to form the largest team you can, and reorganize your personal lives to deal with the trouble which is certain to come.

      Do your local police carry tasers? This is all you need to know: Already torture is part of your everyday life.

      In most places the police cannot be fixed. (But do fix them if you can: Police should be enforcing the law, and protecting–not shooting or tasing–the public.) Short of that, learning how to evade them is the key skill.


      1. jrs

        of course it’s a lot easier to evade them if your skin is on the pale side … and a lot harder if there’s lots of melanin.

        1. Nonanon

          So, you would avoid putting yourself in situations where confrontation might occur, or doing things that might be misinterpreted?

          Hmm…. good advice. MLK and Ghandi would agree.

          How does one’s skin color put additional obligations on those whose job it is to enforce the law, when it’s the same demographic who commit the most crime? I think it puts the obligation on the demographic under scrutiny, not the other way around. Unless I missed something in civics class.

  16. Jackrabbit

    AFAICT the protestors have done nothing wrong. Their hands are clean. If there was any connection, we would be hearing about it on MSM day and night. And De Blasio acknowledges in his speech that “it’s so hard to make sense of it – how one deeply troubled, violent individual could do this” So how does he then leap to an ‘attack’ on ALL of us and an implied moral obligation to cease protesting?

    The Mayor and NYPD are insulting the memory of these two police officers by using their deaths to stifle peaceful protests that have been very effective and inclusive. The manner in which the Mayor made his “call” is more of a challenge to the protestors then a reaching out to them. He says we should all unite but offers that unity only via uplifting police when the main point of protestors has been that the police are held in too high esteem – so high that they are above the law.

    IMO, the protestors can not simply cease protesting. They must reply to the Mayor’s slanderous posturing. If they do that well, they can reinforce and expand on their message by highlighting the connection between bad policing and craven politics.


    Transcript of Mayor De Blasio’s Speech
    H O P

  17. Jack Heape

    Yves, in the article you said, “Mayor Bloomberg boasted that he had the seventh biggest army in the world at his disposal.” I think many people forget the history of police forces in America and how they came about. Until the early 1900’s, most law enforcement was provided by the sheriff’s office. Before the civil war most sheriff’s offices were non-uniformed organizations without a para-military organization. “Police” in America became prevalent after the civil war, particular by corporations to break unions and control company towns. The Pinkertons are a good example. Police have always had a “us against the civilians” mindset. The term “Protect and Serve” is a joke. Many people think that the police’s job is to force the law, but this is just not so. In fact,as recently as 2005 the Supreme Court ruled that police do not even have a duty to protect the citizenry from harm. So it should not be surprising that the police in NYC are looking out for #1. They always have. And until we change the law they always will.

  18. not_me

    May God bless their families and may they rest in peace.

    Which God is that? The one who forbids usury from one’s fellow countrymen and systematic oppression of the poor? The One who does NOT command a war on drugs but rather sympathizes with the desire of the poor to escape, at least temporarily, their misery? Maybe if the police knew the God they purport to pray to they’d have more sympathy for the people they suppress?

    The police strike me as a very spoiled and self-deluded lot to value themselves so highly. And cowardly too. I remember Joe Friday on Dragnet carried a 38 revolver, a badge and NO body armour but that was when being a policemen was an honorable profession.

    And btw, I hope you anti-God folk like a population, a police force, and a military that has lost its fear of God and the hereafter and now is just worried about saving their own precious skins. Maybe you should have kept your atheism to yourself and appreciated any belief system that makes people behave better than they otherwise would?

  19. Denis Drew

    Blame Bloomberg and Kelly, not de Blasio. The national street protests are not the result of a few isolated incidents but of years of police depriving minorities of their dignity, their supposedly Fourth Amendment protected rights.

    Bloomberg and Kelly upped stops-and-frisks 7 times after crime went down 4 times = 28 times as many stops per reported crime. Or, if you need the eighth-grade math spelled out better for you: if there is a thousand to one chance that stopping a kid on the way to school is justified, there is a million to one chance to stop two, etc.

    Who would claim that if Bloomberg and Kelly were still in office that it would have been less likely this hate crime would have happened? It would have been more likely to have happened.

  20. PQS

    The police unions (hA. Now THERE’s a UNION most Americans could support – at their peril…) are engaging in vile distraction from the fact that many large police forces in America are under investigation by the DoJ for either misconduct, coverups, bad policing, or even worse crimes. Some of them for the second time in ten years (Cleveland). Milwaukee, Ferguson, Seattle, Albuquerque, the list continues….

    The cops hate sunlight more than almost anything. And they hate being called out on “excessive force” and “civil rights violations” because they don’t believe there are any. Perp doesn’t obey? They deserve everything they get, no matter their age, skin color, handicap, or any other mitigating factors. Obedience is the goal. Compliance is the mandate.

    Too bad DeBlasio appears to be “soft” on confronting these goons. Because that’s really what has to happen. They are using this incident to reinforce their position of power and put the politicians in their place, and I agree with the video that this is a sort of coup, although I wouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt to be that clever…

    When the Right wing governers and mayors across the country started to slash spending and attack teachers and other public sector workers, but left the cops and firefighters off the table in the negotiations, they made a choice we are all having to live with now – they chose the cops over the rest of civil society. No wonder they’re out of control.

    And the rhetoric works, because it is so deeply rooted in American ideals about “good guys” and “bad guys” and all the attendant racial and class components. I’ve had to refrain from going nuts on FB these past few days over all the “we love cops” posts.

  21. fresno dan

    I think gun control is a good idea. On the other hand, many of the arguments of those who feel it is a countervailing force against police oppression have a point.
    A little historical note that also shows how things change (Ronald Reagan was FOR gun control and Martin Luther King applied for a permit to carry a gun – how is that for having your preconceptions shattered???)
    Civil-rights activists, even those committed to nonviolent resistance, had long appreciated the value of guns for self-protection. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in 1956, after his house was bombed. His application was denied, but from then on, armed supporters guarded his home. One adviser, Glenn Smiley, described the King home as “an arsenal.” William Worthy, a black reporter who covered the civil-rights movement, almost sat on a loaded gun in a living-room armchair during a visit to King’s parsonage.

    The Panthers, however, took it to an extreme, carrying their guns in public, displaying them for everyone—especially the police—to see. Newton had discovered, during classes at San Francisco Law School, that California law allowed people to carry guns in public so long as they were visible, and not pointed at anyone in a threatening way.

    In February of 1967, Oakland police officers stopped a car carrying Newton, Seale, and several other Panthers with rifles and handguns. When one officer asked to see one of the guns, Newton refused. “I don’t have to give you anything but my identification, name, and address,” he insisted. This, too, he had learned in law school.

    “Who in the hell do you think you are?” an officer responded.

    “Who in the hell do you think you are?,” Newton replied indignantly. He told the officer that he and his friends had a legal right to have their firearms.

    Newton got out of the car, still holding his rifle.

    “What are you going to do with that gun?” asked one of the stunned policemen.

    “What are you going to do with your gun?,” Newton replied.

    By this time, the scene had drawn a crowd of onlookers. An officer told the bystanders to move on, but Newton shouted at them to stay. California law, he yelled, gave civilians a right to observe a police officer making an arrest, so long as they didn’t interfere. Newton played it up for the crowd. In a loud voice, he told the police officers, “If you try to shoot at me or if you try to take this gun, I’m going to shoot back at you, swine.” Although normally a black man with Newton’s attitude would quickly find himself handcuffed in the back of a police car, enough people had gathered on the street to discourage the officers from doing anything rash. Because they hadn’t committed any crime, the Panthers were allowed to go on their way.

    1. PQS

      Don’t forget what happened to the Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, though. Shot dead inside Hampton’s apartment by none other than Cook County’s finest. After a public outcry and investigation, cops were cleared of all charges.

      And the NJ police are howling about getting back Assada Shukur within hours of the announcement of the normalization of relations with Cuba.

      These people and institutions are at war with us, have been for a long time, and don’t forget. Someone upthread mentioned the Taliban…..

  22. TheraP

    Thank you for this post. It cuts to the heart of what we’re up against. And it’s even bigger than this one nodal point being pressed on here.

    Someone up above asked “who” profits from all this? Who profits from our country, for example, since 9/11 being referred to as a Homeland (evocative of Germany – die Heimat – or South Africa with its homelands for oppressed indigenous peoples)? Who profits from police unions being spared cuts, for example, when Walker in WI successfully fought (and limited) most other public employee unions? Who profits when so many govt duties are outsourced to private firms (from surveillance to military responsibilities)? Who profits when legitimate protests are policed by cops on horseback or wearing riot gear and armed with high-powered rifles? Who profits when protestors are limited to certain fenced-in sites only? Sites far from where the big-wig events and people are the ones being protested? Who profits when police and military personnel are uniformly called heroes and warriors?

    The only thing that seems to have woken up the citizenry is that now even whites realize we too could be executed by a cop – if we fail to obey them immediately and/or are misperceived as carrying a weapon. The only thing that seems to have changed is that now 2 police officers have been murdered by a crazy person. Heroes were murdered this time! Before it was “just” innocents or black youths.

    I could see the difference when people protested the Iraq war. During Occupy protests. When Walker wanted to ram through legislation in WI or when people gathered at the beginning of the Recall Scott Walker effort. (Helicopters circled above a peaceful meeting of middle-class citizens! Police lined the walking route!)

    Up till now, these “heroes” have been lauded. Suddenly, we citizens see them as dangerous! Well, that’s been clear for some time actually.

    We have to stop thinking of the military or the police force as heroes or warriors. They are public servants! Full stop. They are not in charge. They are not better or braver than the rest of us. They are not the private armies of politicians. They are not occupiers or lords of our cities and towns. Occasionally one of them might do something heroic. As heroic as Protestors who face them – exercising their Constitutional rights.

    I am sick of living in what more and more feels like occupied territory. And I am not referring to the Occupy Movement. I am referring to the now quaint, almost out-dated concept that principles upon which this country was founded (the right of a people to seek redress from grievances, to recognize when governing documents are no longer obeyed or are in need of serious revision, to assemble, to freely speak and write – even if that means devulging wrongs committed by “authorities” and whistle-blowing wherever it needs to occur) … That we need Permission and Policing! To exercise our rights or to protest the infringement of them. And make no mistake, when the right of one is infringed, that is an attack on society itself.

    We have a long list of grievances. Fomenting wars of aggression. Overthrowing foreign governments. Torture. Police brutality. Corporate brutality (wage theft and so on; writing of laws to fleece citizens and protect themselves). An election in which the Supreme Court contravened the Constitution to install a president of its choosing. Black men deemed dangerous for speaking loudly or daring to inhabit their masculinity. (Or if behaving meekly, castigated for weakness!). Election of judges! Crony capitalism infiltrating every corner of our society. Propaganda becoming so ubiquitous as to result in the breakdown of civic trust. Poor food, dirty air, water, and soil with corporations free to rape public forests and public lands, leaving polluted sites for future generations (if we have any…). Healthcare and education now deemed Industries For Profit and not social goods available to all (don’t get me started on these!).

    The failure to deal with any of this. The harboring of war criminals. Of Supreme Court criminals. Of police criminals. The inability to even organize to protest without becoming suspect of being enemies of the Homeland and therefore traitors to this Exceptional United States of Atrocities. How can we teach the young to obey the law when even presidents can break it? When the Judiciary can break it? When politicians sell themselves to the highest bidder? When corporations sell us unhealthy foods via propaganda similar to the selling of elections and the fool- me-with-a-charter-school or “I’ll be a fool and believe that healthcare is a marketplace cuz I’m free to choose an Insurance Company!”?

    Ok, I could go on. But this problem where the NYPD believes it has control over the citizenry and duly elected officials, this issue of the execution of black men on our streets, this problem of whether we citizens have rights to protest oppression, this problem of endless wars and endless surveillance, this problem of failures to care for our citizens’ health, welfare, education, job decency, right to leisure…. It’s all Connected!!!

    1. Nonanon

      Maybe because the police there have become a federal police force and don’t answer to the mayor.

      Follow the power and it leads to k street and back to wall street.

  23. JTFaraday

    I completely agree with Glenn Ford’s comments that the police are subject to civilian governance. But what are we to also make of the grand jury decisions– don’t indict, don’t even look at these incidents more closely– which seem like an abdication of civilian governance, to me.

    The Mayor and his Administration are kind of flapping in the breeze here.

    1. bob

      They are NOT subject to civilian oversight. Should they be? Yes. Are they? No.

      And if the ugly head of the populace were to demand it, the NYPD go just go to it’s many private funding sources and go completely off the reservation.

      1. JTFaraday

        The grand jury had an opportunity to subject them to civilian authority by deciding to further the investigation of the Garner incident, which could have then been parlayed into a further investigation of the institutional culture that helped form the cop that killed Garner.

        It’s not that they didn’t have that power. They chose not to exercise it.

        These people had to know they were full of shit. Even grand culture war poo-bah Bill O’Reilly knew they were full of shit.

        1. bob

          This is just victim blaming. You do know that the DA, and therefore probably the police know who ALL of the jurors were?

          They did exactly what they were told to do, under penalty of the same abuse they were sent in to judge. Blaming the grand jury is nonsense.

          1. JTFaraday

            That doesn’t change what I said one iota. They had the legal power and they chose not to exercise it. I’m not going to write their part out of history.

            People risked their ass out on the street because someone else didn’t do their job in court.

            1. JTFaraday

              In that, it’s no different from Occupy Wall Street. If people with risk assessment jobs had done them, no Occupation required.

            2. hunkerdown

              But why did they choose not to exercise it? That does matter if your aim here is not to celebrate the fundamental attribution error.

              1. JTFaraday

                He says they couldn’t exercise their right and their responsibility because the cops would follow them home and bully them. We don’t know why.I might think that if a cop bullies me after I’ve sat on a grand jury, it’s not going to look too good for them, but one’s mileage might vary.

                1. JTFaraday

                  The point is, the Grand Jury was the point at which civilian governance should have taken place. That is the point at which the Mayor and his Administration should have gotten support for that civilian governance. For reform.

                  Now it’s back in the streets and the cops are threating to delegitimize and overturn the entire system of governance. So, it will turn into a war wholly in and of the streets, that a lot of people are all too eager to turn into a (nationalized) race war.

                  Then if the Federal Government steps in with civil rights issues, people like Working Class Nero up there will delegitimize that effort by yelling “identity politics!”

                  This doesn’t help anyone. So, I’m not letting the Grand Jury off the hook, period.

                  1. JTFaraday

                    In other words, Corey Robin is right. It is looking a little like a Weimar moment, one in which a system of liberal civil governance collapses.

                  2. bob

                    A group of civilians, compelled to be there, are the point at which “civilian governance should have taken place”?

    2. dimmsdale

      The Mayor and his administration are indeed flapping in the breeze here. Which is why I just emailed City Hall to express support for the Mayor. (I never do stuff like this, but really, he’s GOT to come up with the goods here to take control of the situation, or you can say goodbye to civilian authority over the police, nationwide–and don’t think every PBA head in the country isn’t watching NYC to see how it goes, because they ARE.)

      I also absolutely support the mayor in calling in the National Guard and/or federal troops, if it comes to that. It worked in the South, when police departments went rogue, and if Bratton and the blue wall want to play it that way, the mayor is not without options.

      1. JTFaraday

        Doesn’t calling in the military just fully accomplish the coup? Our federal government has been lawless since 2001. The reason I’m harping on the grand jury is that it was supposed to be the legal representative of the people of Staten Island, NYC.

        1. different clue

          The National Guard can be called out by a State Governor without Federal Permission. That makes deployment of the National Guard a State matter, not a Federal matter I believe. And if the NYPD rebels against legal submission to elected superior authority, that authority (the Mayor) might have to bring in greater impartial force ( the Guard) to force the NYPD to back down and stay backed down long enough to conduct the needed security purges and procedure purges.

          I have read ( can’t remember where) that bunches of black people in some urban tension situations have welcomed the National Guard as saviors from the Police. If the NYPD turns upon nonworshipful white New Yorkers, perhaps they would welcome the National Guard as well.

  24. bob

    Honestly, who does De Blasio think he’s kidding? It’s not his Police Department, or the police department of the people of NYC. They are an state level army, complete with very high level private funding and overseas offices.

    They ARE above the law. Any law.

    “The foundation offers the department flexibility for a wide range of programs that are harder to fund through the regularly city budgetary process, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. This includes funds for reward programs, Crime Stopper program and purchasing police equipment — and, according to its tax returns, several hundred thousand dollars directed annually for the NYPD’s Intelligence Division overseas deployment.

    “Our overseas program, our counter-terrorism program,” Kelly told WNYC. “The expenses of our officers we assign overseas are paid for by the Police Foundation, studies by the Rand Corporation we have had done, things we can’t do through the normal budget of the city.””

    “Vallone, the public safety chair, conceded the one area where he says the NYPD-Police Foundation partnership needs more oversight is the Foundation’s role in bankrolling the NYPD’s overseas operations. He just doesn’t know who would have — or should have — jurisdiction.”

    Also a good run down of their scope and reach-

  25. Maxwell Sterner

    This is the most significant and most defining legal case on protesters’ rights in the last 40 years, since the mass arrests of May Day 1970,” said Carl Messineo, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJ) legal director, which represented the protesters. “Mayor De Blasio seeks the authority to arrest today’s protesters in the same manner Mayor Bloomberg falsely arrested Occupy Wall Street protesters by the hundreds.”

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has agreed to meet in full to reconsider an August ruling that sided with protesters and chastized the New York Police Department for the way it herded and arrested 700 Occupy protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge in fall 2011. It concluded that the cops violated the protesters’ constitutional rights and the police did not have “cause” to arrest them.

    Attorneys representing the protesters say the NYPD seeks renewed power to make mass arrests after entrapping protesters, as was the case in October 2011, when police walked calmly beside Occupy marchers from lower Manhattan onto the bridge. As a majority on the lower Appeals Court panel noted, most protesters did not hear any arrest warning from police and felt they were led by cops onto the Brooklyn Bridge to continue their march.

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