Dr Boyce Watkins: NYPD Uses Officers’ Deaths to Bolster Its War Against Black People

| December 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

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With the death of two NYPD police officers at the hands of an obviously mentally disturbed individual, there are those who have decided to take advantage of this tragic situation for their personal and political agenda that has no place in the moral fiber of such an awful situation. There have been calls for the immediate ceasing of protests to actually blaming protestors and their organizers for these deaths which is without merit. Noted professor and political activist Dr. Boyce Watkins has recently spoke about how this incident is being used to further distract from the obvious problem that is happening across America and that is sytemic police brutality against its citizens. 

The tragic deaths of New York Police Department Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were painful for nearly all of us.  I feel an even greater sadness than most because my own father was on the police force in my hometown of Louisville, KY for over 25 years.  As the nation is fighting against the pain of police brutality and terror, these shootings remind us of the respect that many of us have for good police officers who put their lives on the line every day for public safety.

Screenshot 2014-12-24 09.52.15But in the midst of the tragedies, there are those who have sought to use these deaths as an opportunity to divert the public’s attention away from the severe injustices committed by the New York Police Department against American citizens.   While it’s been three years since the last officer was killed, the NYPD has a very long, disturbing history of killing unarmed black men.  When an officer is killed by a deranged black man, the nation mourns.  But when a black man is killed by a deranged cop, there is usually an acquittal.  There lies the fundamental problem.

Here are a few thoughts I had with regard to this tragedy and the way some are shameless in their attempts to use this as a way to allow the NYPD to continue its assault on innocent citizens (mostly black males).  In fact, the NYPD’s quest to leverage public sympathy to divert from its own wrong-doing is no different from the way the United States pointed to 9/11 as a way to justify continuous and inexcusable terrorism of the entire Arab world.

As I prepare to discuss this matter on CNN tomorrow, here are a few thoughts that came to mind:

1) The deaths of the two NYPD officers are clearly tragic, but they should have nothing to do with the protests or the public perception of the NYPD.  This tragedy must be mourned, but it’s ridiculous to somehow make all citizens pay for an act committed by one person. In fact, the overreaction by the NYPD might be indicative of their inability to separate criminals from the rest of us, which is a big part of the original problem.

2) The NYPD’s animosity toward New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is also a reminder of the very same kind of bullying that some (not all) NYPD officers seem willing to apply to maintain the strength of the blue wall of silence.  In this world, any source of non-conformity is considered traiterous, and the unwillingness to submit to unregulated police aggression is considered anti-police.  The mayor never said, “We don’t like cops.”  He never said, “It’s OK to kill cops.”  Instead, he simply said, Cops should not be allowed to kill citizens in an unjust fashion.  Once again, the sharp and bitter reaction of the NYPD to even the mildest call for accountability by the mayor is reflective of an agency that is accustomed to protecting its own rights at the expense of American citizens.  The mayor works for the people of New York City, not the police department.

3) Some ask if public animosity toward the NYPD contributed to the deaths of these two officers.  There might be a connection, but not in the way some think.  The murders of the NYPD officers might be correlated with the sentiment of distrust toward officers the same way that a man killing a gang member might be correlated with the fear of this gang’s terrorism on the community.  Even if a gang is terrorizing a neighborhood, most people would never kill any of the gang members.  However, there may be that one person who overreacts, and others might have a hard time being sympathetic.

Unfortunately, the NYPD has received so much negative publicity for consistent disrespect of the rights of American citizens, that they are seen by some to simply be a state-sanctioned street gang with the ability to operate above the law.  Until this changes, it will be difficult for people to remember that most officers join the force with noble intentions.  Instead, people will remember the harm that they’ve experienced at the hands of police.  Most people are marching in the streets for PERSONAL reasons, not political.


Police dragged an asthmatic naked woman from her NY apartment

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