Wednesday, January 7, 2015

De Blasio turned his back on the police first

New York Mayor de Blasio is upset that police officers literally turned their backs on him at another police officer’s funeral. He says the officers were “disrespectful to the families involved.” No, Mayor, they were actually honoring the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Let me be blunt. Mayor de Blasio has blood on his hands because of his outrageously irresponsible comments in the wake of the the death of Eric Garner. Instead of showing respect for the grand jury system and the citizens who serve on it, de Blasio took the opportunity to stoke the flames of the great racial bonfire that now burns out of control in this country.
Much like our commander-in-chief who possesses the power of unity but casts it aside for the politics of partisanship, de Blasio squandered a golden opportunity to put his office to good use. The mayor has repeated his “centuries of racism” remarks several times, as if the Eric Garner death had anything to do with race. The supervising officer on the scene was black. Garner’s own family says the incident had nothing to do with race but was more an issue of excessive police force.

That’s where the discussion needs to be centered. I, like many others, watched that video and thought the police were heavy-handed in their treatment of Mr. Garner, but a grand jury disagreed. We have to respect the grand jury system. Mayor de Blasio should know that more than anyone but he’s a cheap, partisan hack who, like Sharpton and Jackson, never misses an opportunity to exploit race.

Like the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, the grand jury is the issue, not the police. I ask those who call into my radio show upset about both decisions what they would replace the grand jury with. They have no answer. That’s because the grand jury system is as close to jurisprudence nirvana as we have on this planet. Is it perfect? Certainly not, but it’s a system whereby ordinary citizens — not politicians or anyone else with an ax to grind — come together and decide if charges against a fellow citizen rise to the level of indictment.

That’s what happened in Ferguson and that’s what happened in New York City. In the aftermath, the mayor should have made that point clear. Instead, he traveled down that racism road. It certainly takes a bigger man to choose the road less traveled.

The mayor’s constant drumbeat of “centuries of racism” certainly didn’t help to make police officers safer. In fact, many believe his remarks helped build the climate of hate that led to the two police officers being assassinated. Apparently, thousands of police officers concur.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton agreed with de Blasio’s comments that the back-turning by officers was disrespectful to the families of the slain officers. “I just don’t understand it,” he said. Commissioner, if you don’t understand why men and women in blue would be upset with a mayor who called the police a bunch of racist and said they needed to be “re-trained” then you have no business being their commissioner.

Two men gave their lives for the city they loved. Two men died needlessly at the hand of some crazed gunman who somehow got the idea that police in New York were racist. Hmm. Wonder where he got that. If Mayor de Blasio really wants to honor the memories of the fallen officers and show some respect for their families, he needs to do the decent thing. He needs to resign. And take Bratton with him.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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