If there’s one story that’s made the blood of New Yorkers boil this week, it’s the one about the NYPD and the West Indian American Day parade.
Let’s be clear. New York has parades all through the year (except the dead of winter) in all five boros of this great city.
Yet the racist, vile, offensive language some cops allegedly used in connection with the annual march down Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway is unique.
A Facebook group that includes stuff like “savages” and “animals” in reference to revellers? Yes, people have the right to their opinion.
That opinion, however, takes on an added significance when the person carries a gun and is charged with protecting the safety of the people they disparage. This group grew to include 1200 users, not all of whom may have been police officers. Yet a forum that could easily have been used to vent about having to work on Labor Day turned into something much uglier.
It ought to be pointed out that the attitudes expressed about the West Indian Day parade seem to be similar to those held by some (not all) cops about Occupy Wall Street.
If that’s true, and, as a listener pointed out, it stems from an imperial arrogance and superiority complex on the part of some cops, it’s dangerous. The recent spate of police excess, from cuffing a city councilman at this year’s parade, to alleged ticket fixiing, gun running, arresting journalists trying to cover a story, and drug planting on innocent people would seem to indicate a segment of the department out of control. Yet there’s little appetite on the part of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly or Mayor Michael Bloomberg to even acknowledtge a problem exists.
The people of New York City deserve better, whether they’re protesting in Lower Manhattan or marching down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The feeble excuse that cops feel themselves in danger policing the carnival parade simply won’t wash.
The NYPD, all 34,000 of them, have the right to an opinion about their job.
It must be pointed out, however, that people across America have lost jobs and even been subject to arrest over stuff they post on Facebook. The cops who posted to that now defunct Facebook group should find another line of work.