Hundreds of New York City police officers made a statement at the funeral of officer Ramos yesterday. As Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke, many decided to turn their backs in protest. In spite of calls from officials ranging from the Brooklyn borough president to the Mayor himself to put a pause on the anti-police brutality protests, the police took it upon themselves to have their own show of discontent.
Following the incendiary rhetoric of war coming from Pat Lynch, this latest action shows total disregard for the mayor and the civilian authority which he represents. It’s almost as if the police are in charge and the mayor answers to them. Is it Mayor de Blasio’s New York, or is it Bratton time? If this occurred in another country, it would be regarded as the move of a police state.
Let’s take a look at another past incident of the actions of city employees who stood in contrast to a sitting mayor. For this writer, the three day strike of transit workers back in 2005 comes to mind. The TWU was excoriated by the media in print, radio and television- and labeled as “thugs” by Mayor Bloomberg who turned their back on the city. Fairly sharp contrast, isn’t it?
The comparison needs to be made for the purpose of understanding what some would regard as an old question. Are the police part of the working class? There are sides of the argument about the role of the police that deem them as an “occupying army”. There is a world of difference in the outpouring of support. JetBlue flew 700 officers to yesterday’s funeral free of charge. Were there any such overtures towards the families of Eric Garner or Akai Gurley?
Today is the third day of Kwanzaa. Today’s principle is Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility. I choose to use this post to encourage us to collectively remember history, and use it as a way to understand today’s struggles. It is my responsibility as a Black writer to do these things. I now leave it to you to comment.