Eric Garner Protest 4th December 2014, Manhattan, NYC
(Image by The All-Nite Images) Permission Details DMCA
The problem with cops killing goes deep. We have prosecutors who, by protecting cops who kill, betray the public's trust. But we are also facing a deeply pathological cop culture that makes bad cops more dangerous and provides the opposite of support for good cops to stand up and speak out when they say bad cops who should not be police officers.
"The New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA), one of the city's main police unions, is urging its members to sign a letter requesting that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council SpeakerMelissa Mark-Viverito do not attend their funeral services should they be killed in the line of duty."
NYC Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said, at a press conference, that the police felt that De Blasio had, "thrown them under the bus." The letter the police were being encouraged to sign said it was because De Blasio wasn't supporting or respecting them.
Lynch is a former cop, who has become an unflinching attack dog, advocating for police regardless of their actions or behavior. Police deserve strong advocates, but they also need leaders who set the right examples. Lynch fails at that job, as two commenters on a Newsweek article stated:
"I am sure that Patrick was a good cop. I am sure that Patrick was a great cop. And it is very sad that not all cops were nor are like Patrick once was. However, your friend needs to stop defending all cops, and limit his defense to the good ones. He is hurting his cause, the police department, The City of New York, The State of New York, The USA, Earth, and the Infinite Universe, by defending a scum bag."
And another commenter described Lynch as a racist,
"...who has NEVER found a victim of police violence that he could manage to muster up even the smallest amount of sympathy for."
This tells us a lot. It tells us that the police union leadership, leadership elected by the nations biggest police union, is engendering a dangerous, attitude that does not respect the law or the hierarchy the police are a part of. Lynch fails to respect the need for accountability and for respect of the citizenry. Such arrogance is a big part of the problem.
The attitude expressed in the letter uninviting De Blasio is a tell-- a potential warning sign of a bad cop. Every cop who signs it should be flagged as suspect"
Suspect of what? They should be suspected of having attitudes that they are above the law, attitudes that they are entitled to engage in violence and abuse of citizens. They should be suspected of disrespecting rules and authority, perhaps even of past police brutality, or at the least, failing to hold fellow officers accountable for obeying the law and the rules.
Believe me, I am anything but an authoritarian. But police are, by definition, in positions of power. They are part of a hierarchy. They work within a set of rules and structures that give them power but which also regulate that power. Such blatant disrespect for those higher in the hierarchy is a a clear sign that those who sign the letter do not fit in the hierarchy, are not fit to be police.
So let them sign those documents and hand them in, and hopefully, out themselves. Mayor De Blasio should track every one of them, and also review the history of those police to see their past track record dealing with blacks and civilians.
The fact that the union leadership is suggesting and encouraging this behavior makes it clear that the police culture is pathological. it makes it clear that police are not only unwilling to police their own ranks to identify the bad cops. It's probably worse than that. These police don't even see cops who kill unarmed, defenseless people as bad or even a problem.
Sadly, the police have learned from the example set by recent US presidents-- take power and hold onto it and fight for it.
Also, police recruiting practices have changed. More and more, people are recruited using the lure of excitement, the ability to use guns, to exert power. This attracts psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. These are the kinds of people who never respect the rules, who abuse the power they have as police.
Most police are good, but the cop culture, as exemplified by people like Patrick Lynch, is deeply pathological. We need to see good cops refusing to tolerate bad cops. Until that happens, we need protests. We need street actions and strong challenges to the current status quo.