NY Police Union Warns That Beatings Will Continue Until Their Morale Improves
Police officers feel just awful right now. It's as if Americans are judging the police for the actions of a few bad apples and all the other apples who defend them. Why can't we just open our eyes that their tear gas has sealed shut and realize what a vital role the police play in our society? The crops just won't grow unless a few unarmed black people are killed each year.
The New York Police Benevolent Association held a whiny-ass press conference yesterday where they complained that protests against ongoing police violence hurt their feelings — although, the literal police violence at these protests hurt people's skulls. The New York Post described noted asshole Patrick Lynch as the “fiery head of the city's largest police union," because a “fiery head" is what you want in police work.
Lynch admitted that the murder of George Floyd was in fact a murder. He wanted a cookie for that shit, even though he has zero interest in addressing the systemic issues that gave Floyd's killer a badge in the first place or kept him in the force after more than a dozen complaints. If someone hadn't recorded the murder with 21st Century technology, the police would've covered it up (they did try!) and blamed Floyd for his own death. No, what's grinding Lynch's gears the most is the imaginary “abuse" of police officers.
Pat Lynch on the effect of the anti-police movement: Our politicians want us to walk away from our communities and… https://t.co/9Bbu1kNV4M— NYC PBA (@NYC PBA)1591722232.0
LYNCH: They're asking us to pull back! They're asking us to walk away from you! They're asking us to abandon our communities! They're asking me to walk away from where I live. They're asking me to walk away from where I work. They're asking us to walk away from neighborhoods we brought back. And that's what's happening. And you know what? We don't have a choice! If we put our hand on the criminal, you're going to jail. I'm not being dramatic. That's how bad it is.
Lynch was being more than a little dramatic. We're only asking the police not to kill or brutalize us. It's a small ask, but I suppose he thinks that's like asking for a pizza without cheese or dough. What's the point? Lynch insists that the NYPD has “brought back" neighborhoods thanks to tactics that turned those communities into police states. I beg to differ. Eric Garner was killed on a city street for suspicion of selling cigarettes of mass destruction. Nothing justifies that, even if it might make tourists who never even venture into those neighborhoods feel safer in Times Square.
The Henry Winkler impersonator was also pissed that elected officials were passing legislation without consulting the police. No police union anywhere has ever supported a bill or policy that would increase their accountability or lessen their skull-busting powers. When your six-year-old keeps insisting on graham crackers and ice cream for dinner, it's usually best to exclude them from meal prep discussions. They're not a constructive participant.
Notice that when Lynch denounces some imagined anti-police policy, he says, “If we put our hand on the criminal, you're going to jail." He can't even say “suspect," as if he's read the Constitution at some point in his life. The grotesque treatment we're seeing of protesters can be traced to the police dehumanizing so-called “criminals." They're no longer citizens or even humans, so the police can do whatever they want in the pursuit of their definition of justice.
The police don’t realize their actions and arrogance have been the most effective anti-police campaign we’ve seen.… https://t.co/X7j0eATnW7— Jemele Hill (@Jemele Hill)1591755541.0
Now Lynch was almost rational compared to PBA president Mike O'Meara. He wasn't just dramatic. He was all Stanley Kowalski in a very disappointing regional theatre version of Streetcar Named Desire. The toxic masculinity and entitlement was on full display. The dude even waved around his badge during his rant, as if we didn't understand this was a police-related discussion. He's shouting into a microphone with the PBA insignia. Even that mic is a cop!
O'Meara believes it's the media and legislators who've convinced black people that the police are killing them. He claims that the police have 375 million interactions with the public and very few end in murder or forced sodomy. What's everyone complaining about? We could also point out that most public interactions with the police don't result in their deaths, either. Fewer police officers die per 100,000 workers than the people who trim your hedges. They also make significantly more money. But obviously, human empathy isn't O'Meara's jam.
O'MEARA: But what we read in the papers all week is that in the black community, mothers are worried about their children getting home from school without being killed by a cop. What world are we living in? That doesn't happen.
OK, despite all his personal experience as a black mother, O'Meara can't dispute this very real concern they have. I don't think beating up even white protesters on camera has alleviated black women's legitimate fears.
O'MEARA: Our legislators are failing us. Our press is vilifying us. Stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect. That's what we're here today to say. We've been vilified. It's disgusting.
Wow, O'Meara sounds like a common black person who wishes the police didn't racially profile us. Black people have been arrested outside their own homes because they “fit the description" (i.e. had the same skin color) of a suspect. Cops willingly wear the same uniform as “thugs" who kill innocent people. Cops want the public to treat them like Andy Taylor, but the residents of Mayberry respected their sheriff because he didn't carry a gun and never choked out defenseless women.
Even white people's opinion of the police has shifted dramatically in the past week. It turns out that the police brutalizing people during police brutality protests isn't the most effective PR campaign.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).