The heads of the three police unions in New York City are on the warpath against the head of the United Federation of Teachers because his union was in a civil rights march led by Rev. Al Sharpton on Staten Island Saturday August 23.
The March was to protest police brutality and the killing of unarmed suspects by out of control police officers -- in this case the killing of a Black man, Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold the medical examiner declared a homicide.
This has brought out the worse in the union leadership who have issued inflammatory statements attacking the motives of Rev Sharpton and Michael Mulgrew, head of the United Federation of Teachers. It seems that these leaders (for policemen, sergeants, and detectives) have become stooges of racism and reaction and should resign for the good of their members and the people of NYC.
Pat Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association said in The New York Times (8/23): "What the Rev. Al Sharpton is trying to do is take due process from a New York police officer. Every demo with Al Sharpton becomes an anti-police rally." Sharpton said it was NOT the police he was protesting but "a chokehold." He also called for a federal investigation. Calling a protest against an illegal chokehold, one forbidden by the NYPD, and federal involvement is NOT trying to take away anyone's "due process." It is a bigoted stereotype of Rev. Sharpton to say that all his demos are anti-police, unless you think brutality and murder are what the police are all about. If Pat Lynch thinks his members are all about that, he should resign.
Rev. Sharpton, one of the leaders of the civil rights movement in NYC and nationally, is slandered by Pat Lynch who told The Chief (8/23), "Sharpton's goal is never to start a dialogue, or teach the community to understand police, or bring the police and the communities together. His role is always self-serving, always to stir the pot, always on the shoulders of police officers." Sharpton is protesting brutality and Lynch is protesting Sharpton. It is obvious who doesn't want to bring the police and the communities together. Lynch should resign.
Lynch asks this about Mulgrew and the UFT (New York Times 8/23): "How would he like it if police officers lined up with the activists who oppose his efforts to shield bad teachers and undermine effective charter schools?" This quote indicates that Lynch sees his job as shielding bad cops and undermining effective civilian control of the police. We all know that one rotten apple in the barrel will spread that rot to the other apples. The members of the PBA and the public don't need a leader of Lynch's ilk. He should resign.
I don't want to pick on Pat Lynch. His fellow stooges also need to resign. Edward D. Mullins is the leader of the Sergeants' Benevolent Association-- he claims to lead a union. He says the head of the UFT should resign, yet Mullins is a politically active Republican. It is no secret to working people that the Republican party is actively hostile to unions and to the interests of working people in general. If you want to be a Republican fine, that's your business, but don't bring your anti-working people prejudices to the fore and try and fool people into thinking you really care about the class you have sold out by working for a party of big business laborphobes.
Mullins says "Without law and order there is no education." He accuses Mulgrew of "aligning himself with overriding the judicial system" (The Chief). The evidence is just the opposite. Mulgrew is reported as saying the march is not anti-police. He wants to bring the community and the police together. The Three Stooges however are more interested, it seems, in protecting the rotten apples than in protecting their members and the public. Mullin is the one who should resign and let a real representative of workers lead his union.
The last stooge, but not the least, is Michael J. Palladino, leader of the Detective's Endowment Association who proclaims "The UFT is aligning themselves (sic) with extremists like Al Sharpton" (The Chief) What civil rights leader in this country hasn't been called an extremist. We don't have to spend much time on this stooge, just remember if you believe all people should have the same rights, that the police are just as subject to the law as anyone else, and if there is no justice there will be no peace, then in Palladino's book you are an extremist. He too should resign for the good of his members and the people of New York City.
Thomas Riggins, PhD CUNY, is a retired university lecturer in philosophy and ancient history and the former book review editor for Political Affairs magazine.