The NYPD has a lot to explain. Again, New York officers and others coming from other cities took advantage of the funeral of officer Weinjian Liu – who was killed along with his colleague Rafael Ramos -, to turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio as a sign of protest. The snub comes in the wake of the failed meeting between the City’s leader and the police unions led by Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
The image of the police using the funeral of one of their own to protest against their main civil leader is a disgrace for the city. The police’s attitude, rejecting the petition of commissioner Bill Bratton and the plea of the Liu family to respect the funeral ceremony, confirms that we the citizens have a lot to be worried about.
When the police do not understand their own mistakes or the citizens’ protests against attitudes raising racism suspicions, the problem is more rooted than we thought.
Among the reasons of the new police protest are the new municipal guidelines being studied to better their relationships with citizens. Those are reforms requested by many to bridge the gap between the police and the community and to fend off suspicions of injustice and racism.
The mayor may have made mistakes in his critique of certain police actions, or for warning his son Dante to avoid encounters with officers, which are often unfair to minorities. But none of his actions, like ending stop and frisk, are anti-police but in favor of citizens’ rights. De Blasio still maintains the broken windows policy against small crimes, and trusts Bratton to keep down the historically low crime rates.
The NYPD and its unions need to reflect more and protest less. To defend the police is to defend the society to which it lends an irreplaceable service, while respecting the people elected by the citizens to lead a reform that those attitudes make all the more urgent.