It’s Time To Stand With Our Police

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My community, New Rochelle, NY, has an excellent police department. My family is pleased with the safety we enjoy thanks to the brave men and women in blue. I serve as a Westchester County Legislator and am also impressed by the excellent work of the Westchester County police. The job of police officer is as difficult as any in our society. Each day when police officers leave their homes, they put their lives on the line to protect all of us. In their duties, the police deal with the most evil aspects of our society: murder, assault, human trafficking & prostitution, domestic violence, drugs and others, which must negatively impact them in various ways. And yet, they keep heading out there to protect us. Most police officers do their jobs very well. Yes, mistakes are made and it’s a tough job to perform perfectly all the time. And yes, there are some bad cops out there, as in any profession. The officers that make mistakes can be punished in a court of law or through internal discipline procedures, and we certainly hear about cops being punished in the media.

I believe we should stand with our police when they are unfairly criticized – and that time is now. You cannot watch the protesters from Ferguson to New York City (“NYC”) and not see examples of hatred towards police. Not every protester is bashing cops, but many are. This past weekend in NYC, protesters were caught chanting: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!” It’s impossible to understand how anyone could chant such hateful words.

We all must support freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble to protest about issues, and many people are doing so across the country. However, other protesters are crossing the line into violence and other illegal actions. In NYC this past weekend, we had a protester mob attack two police lieutenants.  The New York Post reported:

“The violence erupted shortly after the two lieutenants attempted to stop one of the angry agitators from hurling a garbage can at other cops standing in the walkway below, police said.

That’s when other demonstrators intervened and attacked the officers — knocking them to the ground and kicking and punching them before trying to steal their jackets and radios, according to police.”

Mayor DeBlasio recently stated, “People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives . . . The relationship between police and community has to change.” Is this based on empirical research? No, it’s not. It’s just his flawed opinion. His views are at odds with the fact that over the past 25 years the NYC police have made it the safest big city in our country (confirmed on Politifact.com) and crime deceased in every neighborhood. And by the way Mr. Mayor, who wrongly stands with the protesters instead of the police, I personally don’t know a single person that is not fully aware that “black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives.” As a Catholic, my faith has taught me this fundamental truth since I was a little boy. It’s never been in doubt to the vast majority of New Yorkers.

Like so many others, I’m troubled by the Eric Garner video. To me, Mr. Garner’s crime was minimal and he did not appear to be resisting arrest that much. But as an attorney, I respect the rule of law and recognize that those accused of a crime may rely on their constitutional rights in their defense. I and all the protesters were not on the grand jury, and we did not review all the evidence presented. Regardless of our opinion on the grand jury’s actions, we must accept the result of their deliberations, while being saddened by the death of Mr. Garner.

So while it appears mistakes were made by the police in the Garner death, I don’t believe their actions can be deemed racist in any way, and it does not appear they intended to kill Mr. Garner. I expect that the police officer who caused the death will face police discipline and sanctions. But I also noticed on the news another group of protesters chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, these racists cops have got to go!” Who are the racist cops they are referring to? I don’t have an answer.

This cop bashing is wrong in the face of the facts and a slander of many brave police officers regularly placed in dangerous situations to protect us. It’s time to vocally stand with our police against reckless and erroneous attacks – stand with them on social media and when you hear someone slandering them, and also by saying “Thank You” when you see a police officer protecting our streets. I will do so right now – thank you to the New Rochelle and Westchester County police for protecting my community and my family so well.

Jim Maisano
Jim@FreeVoter.com

5 thoughts on “It’s Time To Stand With Our Police

  1. Jim I applaud you for stating your opinion, many people just waffle. I think the earnest protesters(not the looters) are protesting a long history of racial inequality and the modern idea because there are laws, we can assume fair treatment. Sadly not always the case. It actually may make it worse, “hey there is no racism ,we have laws.” These recent cases are a real touchstone of racial discourse no matter what the opinion on the verdict, maybe that will be a good thing.

    I support police, but not blindly I support the justice system, also not blindly. It is all of our jobs in a democratic society to seek out and identify injustice. I am a teacher when a teacher is fired for wrong doing I do not expect it reflects on me, If a cop is accused of wrong doing I cannot paint all cops with that brush either.

    I support the peoples right to protest and voice their opinions, even in civil disobedience. I support you and I am glad you are welcoming to dialogue. Sadly some leaders have the power and lack the capacity to unite us or hear us.

    I hope these incidents do not set race relations back but allow us to move forward with a more open mind and heart. You can’t hope problems away. But hate in the open or hidden in agendas needs to stemmed and soon.

    Thank you for your service as well.

    Dave

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  2. Hey Mr Maisano. I’d just like to share my opinion on the situation and clarify some points. Police, obviously do not deserve the treatment you mentioned above, but it’s difficult to share such an enthusiastic love for the police when, quite consistently, the police are harming, whether it be legally or illegally, someone who happens to look like you. In the majority of these cases, young black males are the victims. While that may be coincidental, the legal followup (or lack thereof) seems a little harder to dismiss as chance. Secondly, to say every officer is racist would be silly. But to say that the lack of remorse shown by the officer in the later released videos isn’t indicative of a general disregard for the life of the injured would be dishonest. Something motivated the officer not to care enough about Garner to stop choking him. Whether it be the fact garner was “a big black guy” ( as some would describe me) or the fact he was involved in criminal activity, neither justify his treatment of garner. Regardless of the cause of the negligence that caused the officer to end garner’s life, such behavior demands re-education of the officer in question if not the entire police force. This “us against them ” mindset is silly when used by protestors, but potentially fatal when used by officers. Something has got to give in a major way to stop this generations long tradition of police brutality targeting young minorities as well as everyone else in the country, innocent or otherwise.

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  3. Jim,

    As a fellow blogger on Free Voter, an African-American, and admittedly a bit more left leaning than yourself, I am compelled to respond to your post.

    First let me say that by all means, I support the police and the job they do. They have the courage and strength to do a job that quite frankly I could not imagine doing. Putting your life on the line every day to protect and serve others is an admirable task that should be celebrated.

    I am appalled by the actions of the minority of protesters (not many as you put it) who find it appropriate to scream, spit, and physically assault any police officer. The problem with many in our society is that as a whole we lack the ability to see from another’s point of view.

    Your statements about the outcome in the Garner grand jury equivocates:

    – “He did not appear to be resisting that much”
    – “I nor the protesters were in the grand jury room”

    Like I said in my Free Voter post, I’m fine with the grand jury outcome in Ferguson (with the one caveat that firing 18 rounds seems excessive). The Staten Island decision is an embarrassment.

    So step into my shoes for a second. I’ve had to have the conversation with my son about wearing his pants baggy and about wearing a hoodie. How many white parents have had to have that conversation? I live in the same nice suburb you live in. Next year, my son goes off to college. My mother has been calling everyday since Garner decision worried about where my son is going to college next year and have I spoken with him. My friend and I are getting our boys together with their friends to discuss how to handle themselves in any kind of police confrontation. Will you have that conversation with your son when he goes off to college? Most likely your conversation will go in the direction of not getting caught in a UVA type situation, conversation we will have as well. So it is a real concern in the African-American & Latino community, from all economic backgrounds.

    I’m no big fan of Mayor DeBlasio, but I applaud his statement. Raising an African-American young man, he empathizes with the feelings black fathers & mothers face. In my view, his opinion is not flawed. You only need to look to the changes in LAPD since Rodney King to understand that having a police force that resembles the people they serve and being out in the community is the best way to diffuse distrust. As far as police being able to discipline themselves, take a listen to this report (http://www.wnyc.org/story/cops-complaints-and-one-ugly-altercation-caught-tape/) and you will see what a flawed view that is.

    So the issue isn’t whether the officer intended to kill him. The issue is that he did and he did so with a chokehold that was illegal. I get it, the victim was a large gentlemen so the officer needed some kind of advantage to restrain him. However, once he was on the ground, did he need to continue the hold, especially with four officers right there to assist? Saying I can’t breathe 11 times isn’t enough? Does it need to be an even dozen?

    Sorry, I digress. The concern here is about police brutality. Was this an act of racism? No one but God and the officer can answer that question. That said, watch this interview on the day of the Garner decision. Former police office Bill Stanton defends the actions of the officers that day. But listen carefully to his description of the victim. At least three times he refers to Mr. Garner as a “big, black guy” as if to justify the force applied to subdue him. (http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2014/12/03/fmr-nypd-officer-defends-decision-in-eric-garner-case/) Just like I can’t say (and wouldn’t say) all police officers are racist. No one can say none of them are. Of course there are racist police officers, just like there are racist politicians, athletes, bus drivers, factory workers, etc.

    The real issue is not the police as it is the legal system. I don’t agree that we must accept the results of the grand jury deliberations. If we quietly accepted the results of every legal decision, women and African-Americans would not have the right to vote, among other things.

    This country was founded on the principle of fighting injustice with all of ones fiber.

    I agree that we must stand by the police for they do an outstanding job for the most part and one many of us wouldn’t do.

    I just wish Jim that you were as fervent in your disgust of the grand jury decision as you are with the minority of protesters that are disgracing themselves.

    Jeffrey

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  4. Mayor DeBlasio recently stated, “People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives . . . The relationship between police and community has to change.” you said Is this based on empirical research? No, it’s not. It’s just his flawed opinion. I’m confused, you suggest there is a flaw in his logic. There are about 350,000,000 people in America, have we all been enlightened, the racial issues disappeared ? I think not ,but even if we live in the new utopia there is nothing wrong with people knowing that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives. moreover it seems like an innocuous statement of fact this is information should have. and with respect to The relationship between police and community you see no need for change , Really?everything is A-ok no problems. Sir, whether it be the police or the community a change is going to be necessary. And one more thing, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam were acquitted for the Murder of Emmet Till and as you said Regardless of our opinion on the jury’s actions, we must accept the result of their deliberations. JUSTICE SERVED. it should be noted that in 1956 LOOK magazine the full confession of the two acquitted killers and even though They were still under bond on a charge of kidnapping Emmett Till, based on their own statements to arresting officers. But three grand juries failed to indict them. once again JUSTICE SERVED

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  5. I agree with you 100%. Excellent article Jim.

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