NEW YORK, NY – The timing could not have been more reflective of how the racialist NYC elected officials show by their words and actions that they do not believe that black lives matter.
Three weeks ago, on Sunday night, June 28th, 17- year old African American Brandon Hendricks was killed when gunfire broke out while he was attending a friend’s birthday party in the Bronx. As saddened New Yorkers learned from the media reports of his slaying, Brandon had been the captain of the James Monroe High School Basketball Team, and had graduated from the school just one week before. And as New Yorkers also learned, Brandon, whose last words in this world after being shot were, “call my mom,” had been recently engaged in the joyous process of deciding in which college to enroll this coming fall, trying to make the best choice out of the many vying to recruit him to play on their basketball team.
“He wanted to live,” said his grieving mother Eve Hendricks. “This was not his destiny. His destiny was to live forever and to be the greatest of all. He was very smart. He always thinks about others before his thinks about himself.”
And on the early evening of Tuesday, June 20th, as if they had never heard the name Brandon Hendricks and never heard the words of his heart broken mother, the City Council by a 27-17 margin voted and Mayor de-Blasio soon approved slashing the NYPD’s current $6 billion budget by $1 billion, a cut which by all calculations will soon result in there being thousands of fewer officers patrolling the streets to protect our citizens, and, seemingly emboldening criminals even before the cuts were put into effect, has already led to a major increase in violent crime.
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The 17 honorable Council Members who voted against defunding the police understand this and knew what was going to happen. Among those 17 were Staten Island Republican City Council Members, Joe Borelli and Steven Matteo. Explaining his vote, Matteo stated, “Effectively gutting the NYPD and their ability to fight crime would not only severely diminish the NYPD’s capabilities, it will imperil the tremendous gains this city has made in fighting crime and keeping our residents safe.”
But Matteo’s words were not heeded by the Mayor and his 27 anti-police, race baiting fellow travelers on the Council. As if trying to assume the title of the Council’s number one police hater and race baiter, from among fierce competition from his 26 peers, Queens Democrat Council Member Donovan Richards, the probable 2020 Queens Borough President, stated, “A $1 billion budget cut can’t address the racism that runs rampant in the NYPD.”
“Racism that runs rampant in the NYPD?”
Race baiting Richards, the Mayor and the other infamous 27 should be informed that the NYPD is among the most diverse police departments in the nation: its minority officers- including Blacks, Latinos and Asians- have become the majority in the department. Beyond reading the data that proves this, Richards and his cop hating peers could be made aware of the diversity of the NYPD just by taking a walk around the streets of our city and observing the wide range of the ethnic and racial identities of our men and women in blue.
The Mayor, Richards and the other 26 should also be informed that the often repeated canard that white police officers, the new minority in the department, practice any form of racism has been totally debunked by numerous independent and governmental studies covering the interaction of the police and minority communities in NYC.
Still, perhaps it would be even more informative if the Mayor and the 27 journeyed to 180 Greenwich Street, the site of the old Twin Towers, to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum, when it re-opens after its COVID-19 caused closure. There, they would find among approximately 11,000 9/11 artifacts, such items as helmets, shoes, wallets and photos, which once belonged to some of the 2,977 people killed that day, including 343 firefighters, and 23 NYC Police Officers.
Among those artifacts the Mayor and the 27 would see would be NYPD shield 10467, once worn by the highly decorated Officer Moira Ann Smith, 38, the only female police officer to die that day. In addition to Officer Moira, the Mayor and the 27 would be able to see the names and read the inscriptions describing the heroism on 9/11/2001 of each one of the 2 detectives, 4 sergeants and 17 officers who lost their lives after running into the north or the south towers on their mission to save the lives of people of all races, religions and creeds. To these fallen heroes all lives mattered.
Among another one of the NYPD heroes the Mayor and the 27 might also learn about would be Sergeant Rodney Gillis, 34, a 13- year decorated veteran who served in the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU). On that horrible morning, Sergeant Gillis raced with 4 other ESU officers to the 20th floor of the South Towers.
Were they interested, the Mayor and the 27 would know the last words that Sergeant Gillis transmitted over the radio to officers on the street outside were, “We’re on the 20th floor of the South Tower. We’re meeting a lot of resistance.” Several minutes later, the South Tower collapsed, killing Sergeant Gillis and the 4 ESU officers who had raced up to the 20th floor with him- Santos Valentin, Ronald Kloepfer, Walter Weaver and Jerome Mark Patrick Dominguez.
The Mayor and the 27 would learn from looking at the pictures engraved on the memorial plaque that Sergeant Gillis was an African American and that the 4 police officers who died with him that day came from other proud backgrounds. Perhaps then the Mayor and the 27 would come to the realization that lives of these 5 brave officers, just as their 17 other brothers and one sister who perished that day, were not defined by their race, but rather by their willingness to sacrifice their own lives in the service of people of all different races.
The Mayor and the 27 should then consider visiting FDNY Memorial Wall, where added to the list of more than 200 fireman who suffered the same fate, they could find the names of the 241 police officers who have died over the past 19 years from cancer and other horrible diseases directly linked to the deadly toxins they inhaled the days following the attack while on a search and rescue for all of God’s lost children of 9/11.
But I must sadly concede that because it would expose to them to the self-evident truth of the heroism and humanity of the NYPD, the Mayor and the 26 would almost certainly never venture to 180 Greenwich Street. Rather, they prefer spreading lies about the men and women who risk their lives every day protect us. Still, they are not the first nor the only liars with titles and power.
The first disgusting and deadly lie about the NYPD was first spread on August 12, 2013 by U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, when she ruled that the NYPD’s Stop-Question and Frisk program (SQF) was unconstitutional and was being used by the police to unfairly target Blacks and Latinos. The program of Scheindlin’s ire, which was first prioritized by Mayor Rudy Giuliani (1993-2001) and even further employed by the NYPD under Mayor Bloomberg (2002-2013) allowed police to detain, question and frisk people, whom they suspected were carrying weapons.
Writing in her 195 – page ruling that between 2004-2012, Blacks and Latinos, who made up 50% of New York’s population at the time, accounted for 80% of the NYPD’s SQF stops, the judge concluded that the NYPD was guilty of racist practices, which she ordered, must be stopped at once. Scheindlin’s ruling offered a perfect illustration of the axiom “omission is the greatest form of a lie.” Omitted from her ruling was data which showed that the number of SQF stops made against Blacks and Latinos while they were in predominately minority communities directly correlated with the number of reports of gun violence in those same communities.
Also omitted from Scheindlin’s ruling was the fact that, in 1990 alone, there were 2,445 murders in NYC; in contrast, by the end of 2013, the same year of her ruling, the murder rate had dropped to 333. According to a broad consensus of police officials and criminologists, this unprecedented reduction of murders was attributed in large part to SQF.
In fact, so convinced that SQF had played a major role in making New York City the safest large municipality in the country, Bloomberg just 4 days after the judge’s ruling, appealed it to a higher federal court. Explaining why he decided to submit that appeal, Bloomberg stated simply, “I wouldn’t want to be responsible for any people dying.”
That appeal enabled the NYPD to continue to employ SQF for another year. But the legal battle to save SQF (which Bloomberg in his recent quixotic bid to win the Democratic nomination for president shamefully disavowed) ended in 2014, when Bloomberg’s successor, Mayor de Blasio (2013-Present), decided to withdraw the appeal. That decision surprised only those who were unaware of the Mayor’s hard-core leftist beliefs.
As he believed then, de Blasio, whose 25-year-old daughter has joined the current anti-police protests and who has proudly spoken of warning his bi-racial teenage son to fear the NYPD, it was the police, not the violent criminals they arrest, who are the enemy of Black and Latino people.
Continuing to hold that view from his first year in office up to the present, this past June 15th de Blasio ordered Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to disband NYPD’s Anti-Crime Unit (ACU), even though, despite his disdain for the police, he must have known that the 600 undercover officer unit had over the past almost 3 decades succeeded in seizing thousands of guns from violent criminals, saving the lives of thousands of their potential victims.
Presumably knowing the past success of the ACU, it should have come as little surprise to the Mayor and the 27 who cheered him on that since the unit’s disbandment less than a month ago, gun violence has exploded throughout the city at a level not seen since the pre-Giuliani era. Nor should it have come as a surprise to them that the 3 lethal components of stupidity- defunding the police, abolishing a vital unit along with a horrendous federal judge’s horrendous decision 7 years ago – would lead to the death of so many innocents.
The list of the names of of the innocents are added to the records of the City Morgue almost every day. Those innocents, the Mayor and the 27 should know, were all Black or Latino, and every one of them, just like Brandon Hendricks, deserved to live a full, happy and productive life.
So before the Mayor and the 27 continue maligning the NYPD, they should think about those innocents whose lives have been lost as a direct result of these so called leaders deadly misguided anti-police policies. There have been so many victims, so perhaps the Mayor and the 26 should begin by thinking about just 3, whose blood, like the rest, they have on their hands.
They should think about 19-year old Erica Lopez. Erica was fatally shot in the chest in the vicinity of 23rd Street and Fifth Ave in Manhattan around midnight on Friday, June 28th– a day in a week which was preceded by 58 shootings in NYC. Police officials reported that Lopez was standing with a 21 year-old man who was also hit by a bullet. Not seriously injured, the same man reportedly later told Erica’s family that she had sacrificed her own life by pushing him out of the way after hearing the sound of gun fire. “She took a bullet for him” said Erica’s best friend, Alma Corona. “She died a hero.”
They should think about 22-year old Terrence Bazile. Terrence was shot dead around mid-night, Wednesday, July 1st on a street in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The next morning neighbors reportedly heard his mother over a phone outside her house, crying, “By the time I saw my son’s body, they said we had to go into the morgue.”
They should think about Davell Gardner, at just 22 months the youngest victim of the carnage. Davell on Sunday, July 12th at around 11pm was resting in a stroller at a family cookout in Bedford-Stuyvesant when 2 gunmen descended upon the gathering and began a multi-bullet attack. Struck in the stomach by one of those bullets, Davell died at a local hospital in the early morning hours the next day.
The Mayor and the 27 need to be forever reminded of the words of Davell’s grieving father, in the days before he buried his son:
“You [his son’s killers] took my son’s life. I can’t get that back. I can’t hold him no more. I can’t hear him calling me ‘daddy’ no more. I can’t kiss him no more. I can’t play with him no more. I’ve got to put him in the ground now. He’s only one. He didn’t live to see two. He didn’t live to see life. It’s like I wanted to get him out of this violence before something like this happened.”
A question the Mayor and the 27 must answer: Have you no feelings of guilt, shame or sorrow?