by Bob Barr
If there were lingering doubt remaining in the mind of any New York City police officer that the state’s elected leadership is biased against the NYPD, it would have been erased last week.
On July 8th Letitia James, the Attorney General for the state of New York, issued a “Preliminary Report on the New York City Police Department’s Response to Demonstrations Following the Death of George Floyd.” The 57-page document makes clear that neither the governor (who requested the report) nor the attorney general “has the backs” of the largest civilian police force in the country.
From start to finish, the report illustrates that the lens through which the state’s attorney general views the NYPD is one that presumes the department to be rife with racism, and which repeatedly responded to “peaceful” protests with unnecessary force. Even though the report is deemed “preliminary,” the attorney general exhibits no hesitancy in recommending long-term, systemic “reforms” to the NYPD.
At its core, this report is designed to support pre-conceived changes to the NYPD, premised on obvious disdain for the department as it currently exists.
The report punches all the right rhetorical buttons. The attorney general states that the office hopes to “reimagine” the role of the city’s police force, and thereby to “rebuild” the “trust” between it and the people of New York that the NYPD itself has destroyed. The report talks grandiosely of how its recommendations will, if implemented, fundamentally “redesign public safety and the role of police in society.”
The wording throughout the report reveals its bias in favor of the protesters and against the police. References to actions by the protesters are prefaced with the term “allegedly;” responsive actions by the police are not similarly modified. Even when the report notes that police were subject to having objects thrown at them (everything from frozen plastic bottles of water to glass bottles and bricks), they are not deemed to have “responded” against the violence aimed at them with pepper spray and batons, but rather that they “retaliated” against the “peaceful protestors.”
Descriptions of police responses and mob violence are lumped together as “violence by protesters and police,” with no distinction between the two groups or the appropriateness of their actions.
Concern is expressed in the report that the actions by the police were “terrifying” to the protesters, and “generated a lot of fear amongst the crowd.” Nary a word is found in the report for whatever fear may have been felt by police officers facing unruly, violent crowds armed with glass bottles, bricks and Molotov Cocktails.
The report is at pains to note that the “fear” felt by the protesters resulting from the violent actions of the NYPD, constitutes “ongoing emotional and mental trauma,” such that some of the protestors now find themselves having “trouble sleeping and eating,” and are “afraid to leave their homes” for fear “that NYPD would attack them in the street.” Such testimony, though bordering on nonsensical, nonetheless is consistent with the premise of the attorney general’s investigation, which was to document “perceived wrongdoing” by the NYPD.
This report is part of an orchestrated plan laying the groundwork for a complete revamp of the NYPD in the image of the New Left that is being pressed openly by George Soros. In the strange new world recommended in this report, police would have no jurisdiction over traffic offenses, and “minor offenses” such as “fare evasion,” trespassing on private property, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession would be decriminalized, so as to reduce fear-inducing confrontations between police and citizens.
The Commissioner of Police no longer would have effective control of the NYPD, which would instead be lodged with a greatly strengthened Civilian Complaint Review Board and Office of Inspector General.
The recipe detailed in this Report, even clothed as it is as “preliminary,” is a prescription for disaster for the citizens of this once great city.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.