Monday, December 22, 2014

Justice. Only Justice Shall Thou Pursue

I learned about the execution style killing of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, in Brooklyn while at a family gathering, and it is heartbreaking to learn under any circumstances.

These officers were doing their jobs, trying to reduce crime in a high-crime area of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn they weren't even from the local precinct but  rather called in from other parts of the city to help. The man who killed them had an agenda that had nothing to do with protests or protesters; he had a lengthy criminal record and had shot and nearly killed his girlfriend before coming up to NYC to engage in more mayhem.

But NYPD supporters who ignore all that ails the Department and that there are bad officers in their midst, will try everything to link the killer to the protests. The PBA's Pat Lynch and others will try and blame the Mayor for the killings, claiming that the Mayor doesn't support the officers wholeheartedly and without reservations.

The problem is that there's no truth to the matter asserted. The Mayor does support the police. He also doesn't want anyone to tolerate criminal behavior by the police. He wants justice applied evenly and fairly. He has to warn his son (who is black) that police might not respect him or treat him properly because of the color of his skin, even if he does nothing wrong. That's not disrespecting the police; that's stating an objective fact. Police in NYC, and nationally, do engage in racial profiling and they do stop blacks far more often than whites when adjusting for per capita.

Justice. Only Justice Shall Thou Pursue. It's originally found in the Old Testament. It's a call for justice and to follow the law.

It's not just an empty slogan.

I've been referring to this belief quite frequently in the past several months, if only because it's become abundantly clear that there are some people who don't think that justice applies to everyone.

Some people believe that law enforcement is immune from being responsible for their actions that result in the death of unarmed people and particularly unarmed black men and children. This belief extends to the police and prosecutors who are supposed to uphold the law.

When the police and prosecutors fail to do their jobs properly, that harms everyone - it's a breach of the social compact that the police have with us. And they have to be responsible for their actions as well.

It's pitiful that the police boosters are trying to pin blame on people like Al Sharpton or Mayor DeBlasio for the shooting of the two cops; we don't hear these same voices blaming right wingers like Rush or Hannity when white supremacists and sovereign citizens use the same rhetoric and vitriol in stalking and targeting law enforcement. There, those people are categorized as lone wolfs and not representative of everyone else.

Personal responsibility.

It cuts both ways. It is ultimately the responsibility of the shooters and criminals who carry out these acts. It is also the responsibility for everyone to call out those who use extreme rhetoric.

Justice demands it.

The need to seek justice for those who are killed at the hands of police is not mutually exclusive with the need respect or to mourn their losses in such horrible circumstances. The NYPD has done heroic things, such as running into the burning WTC before it came crashing down on 9/11, and they've killed unarmed black men including Sean Bell, Eric Garner, and Amadou Diallo. They've sodomized Abner Louima, and the fight for justice continues. Good cops shouldn't stand to see their ranks sullied by those who violate the social compact, and yet that's exactly the message we get from their union leadership who blames the assassination on the mayor who represents an entire city, and not just a police union.

Justice demands it.

Cross posted at LGF.


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