In the battle between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York Police Department, Tuesday's lead New York Times editorial took the side of the city's left-wing mayor under the striking headline, "Police Respect, Squandered." de Blasio has been fiercely opposed by the New York Police Department since inflammatory remarks he made that maligned cops, after a local grand jury declined to press charges against officers for a chokehold that killed Eric Garner in Staten Island.
To which a regular reader of the paper could retort, what "respect" did the paper ever show the NYPD in the first place? The MRC demonstrated that the Times regularly sided with left-wing Occupy Wall Street protesters during their running battles with cops back in 2011.
A freelance reporter who covered the OWS protests for the paper took a pot shot at the "the baton-wielding, helmet-wearing monsters who seem to actually push the movement into a more exciting place every week." The Times was also alone in taking seriously suggestions that the OWS protesters were tricked into blocking the Brooklyn Bridge by cops and subsequently arrested.
More recently, the Times devoted front-page treatment to accusations of racial bias by the NYPD that the paper's own Public Editor considered overstated.
Tuesday's lead editorial chides the police for their "disgraceful....snarling sense of victimhood" and for not respecting authority (an odd stance for a liberal page) and neglects to mention just why police officers may be angry at de Blasio:
Mayor Bill de Blasio has spent weeks expressing his respect and admiration for the New York Police Department, while calling for unity in these difficult days, but the message doesn’t seem to be sinking in.
When he spoke at a police graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Monday, some in the crowd booed and heckled him. This followed the mass back-turning by scores of officers when the mayor spoke on Saturday at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos; the virtual back-turning the day before by an airplane-towed banner (“Our backs have turned to you”), and the original spiteful gesture by officers on the night Mr. de Blasio visited the hospital where Officer Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, lay dead.
Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments -- a funeral of a fallen colleague -- and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.
These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.
The New York Police Department is going through a terrible time, and the assassinations of those officers only underscore the dreadful dangers that rank-and-file cops face every day. And, in truth, there is some thanklessness to being a cop. Officers often feel beleaguered, jerked around by supervisors and politicians, obligated to follow rules and policies that can be misguided, held responsible for their mistakes in ways that the public is not, exposed to frequent ridicule and hostility from the people they are sworn to serve. It has always been that way with cops.
But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign -- the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence. This is the view peddled by union officials like Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association -- that cops are an ethically impeccable force with their own priorities and codes of behavior, accountable only to themselves, and whose reflexive defiance in the face of valid criticism is somehow normal.
By the end the paper was almost begging the NYPD to respect de Blasio:
....Surely many officers understand and accept his conciliatory words and realize that the things Mr. de Blasio has done -- like hiring Mr. Bratton, increasing financing for the department and modernizing its equipment -- are motivated by an honest desire to do right by the Police Department.
The grieving rank-and-file need to recognize this and also see the damage that many of their colleagues, and their union representatives, are doing to trash their department’s reputation.
A reader would wonder what poor de Blasio ever did to make the police so vengeful. For that one had to look at a related story on de Blasio being booed at a police academy graduation, though not until paragraph 13 was it suggested why police might be angry at the mayor.
Mr. de Blasio, who came into office pledging to reform the Police Department, encouraged demonstrators who protested the grand jury decision, saying, “Anyone who believes in the values of this country should feel called to action right now.” And he said that he has often spoken to his biracial son about “dangers he may face” in interactions with the police.