– Everything PR Commentary on the current state of the NYPD in NYC and Official Response by Ed Mullins –
The recent deaths of two NYPD police officers in their squad car in New York City has sparked even more controversy over the protests of the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner. The grief and sadness over these deaths has generated strong feelings on both sides. A look at the questions surrounding these events can throw some light on the complex issues surrounding effective policing.
Questions of Excessive Force
Protests against the use of excessive force by police officers grew out of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Missouri teen, who was involved in an altercation with an officer of the Ferguson Police Department. The young man’s death left residents of the Ferguson neighborhood wondering how a young man lost his life. Residents of the city and surrounding communities began marching in protest on a daily basis.
The List Grows
Michael Brown was not the only unarmed young man to die by police weapons. Eric Garner succumbed to a police chokehold while being taken into custody for selling loose cigarettes. In addition, the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed in Cleveland, Ohio because he was brandishing a toy gun also caused indignation and outcry.
Police Departments Around the Country Respond
In response to the growing number of protests, police departments around the country committed to a review of their policies in hopes of finding better ways to deal with community policing and avoid unnecessary deaths. Other law enforcement agencies contended that current policies were necessary for protecting officers on duty and no changes were needed.
The NYPD Mourns Their Own
On December 20th, two New York City Police Department officers were sitting in their police car on the streets of Brooklyn. They were confronted by a man who shot them at point-blank range, killing them. The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, never had a chance to draw their weapons. The suspect, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28 years old, formerly of Baltimore posted his intentions to get revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown on social media.
Letter From Ed Mullins, President of SBA of the NYPD – Following murder of 2 NYPD Officers
Dear Fellow Sergeant:
In the past 18 hours I have received numerous emails, texts and telephone calls of sympathy, support and outrage from our members, citizens of this city, friends of law enforcement and other members of the law enforcement community across this nation.
On Friday at our monthly delegate meeting we discussed the importance of leadership and the absence of it. It was clear to all of us at that meeting that this city was on the cusp of a tragic event. Sadly, less than 24 hours later two members of the NYPD Police Officer Wenjian Liu and Police Officer Rafael Ramos were executed, purely for being police officers, a profession that is filled with hundreds of thousands of men and women who choose to help others.
Today, I ask each of you to support the families of these two officers, keep them in your thoughts and prayers and to help bury our dead with honor. Each of them, was chosen by a higher authority for a purpose greater than we can understand at this moment.
Your purpose is now to lead the men and women of the NYPD through this terrible time, to assure them of their value and most importantly to guarantee that each and every member under your leadership returns home safely to their families.
We are locked side by side with the PBA. I assure you from the bottom of my soul there will be accountability from those who have enabled a lawless atmosphere in this city. Please be safe, wear your vest and remember all the men and women in the 84th precinct.
God Bless Each of You,
Politics Enters The Picture
What began as a fight over policy is fast turning to wider issues in the political realm. The head of the NYPD’s Police Benevolent Association, Pat Lynch, unleashed harsh rhetoric against the protests and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio.
In another volley directed at DeBlasio, New York City Police Department’s Sergeants Benevolent Association leader, Ed Mullins, has stood in support of his officers, taking the mayor to task for supporting the protestors, even withholding support for the Mayor’s bid to have New York City host the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
The Issues At Hand
Police departments across the nation feel that the first duty of police officers is to protect themselves while on duty, as they work in unpredictable circumstances.
Whether or not the current protests continue, police departments around the nation are likely to receive continued scrutiny.