Bratton To Top Commanders: Do What You Can

Last Wednesday, New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the unions.  He told his top commanders, who come after the unions, over the next two days:

Seeking to end more than two weeks of a precipitous drop in police activity, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said on Friday that he had instructed top commanders to do what they could to reverse the trend.

What Bratton did not do is order the police officers under his command to do the job for which they’re paid.  Nor did he order the cops under his command to perform the function for which their peculiar authority is given by the people of New York.  No, Bratton told his top commanders to do what they could.

To their credit, the unions have done an extraordinary job of spreading their message to the public about how the cops are their heroes, our saviors, so they should be entitled their occasional beating and killing.  Well, we’ve been over this ground already.

The New York Times used its rectal thermometer to take the temperature of New Yorkers after the rank and file cops made clear that they will not succumb to civil authority.  There should have been a high fever. Instead, the temperature was tepid.

A wide assortment of interviews conducted to gauge the temper of the public over the police-mayor strife found people blaming the police, people blaming the mayor, and many on both sides wanting a final act in this ugly play that seems stalled without an obvious ending.

Framing this as “police-mayor strife” was the leading indicator.  The mayor was the embodiment of the issue, taking position against the police engaging in unconstitutional conduct like stop & frisk, or killing unarmed black men.  But these are mayor issues; these are foundational issues. The strife was between the police and everyone else, enough so that even black cops were afraid.

Many citizens are clearly repulsed by how the police are expressing their anger. They have turned to calling them “infantile” or “sulky children.” Some feel they should be docked pay. Or fired. Others roundly criticize the mayor as the root of the problem.

After all, what would we do without the police to protect us?

Ivy Zheng, 40, who lives in Queens and helps her husband with his point-of-sale and security-camera equipment business in Chinatown, said, speaking in Mandarin: “We should all support the police. Without the police what would we do — it’s too scary to think about.”

And really, isn’t this all because we’re unworthy of the sacrifice cops make for us?

Michael Urbaez, 31, a carpenter from the Bronx, does not especially like the slowdown but feels the police are warranted in showing their disdain for Mr. de Blasio, whom Mr. Urbaez considers a poor role model.

“I’m all for the cops,” he said. “I understand what they go through in their daily life — my cousin is a cop. Today I see a lot of no respect everywhere. I take the train every day, I see kids with no morals.”

And that’s all the police unions, the shills, the articles extolling the virtues of our saviors, needed to overcome the consequences of what they’ve done here.  Villify the people, venerate the police, and life in New York can return to normal as far as the people are concerned.  Just let the war be over, and we can all forget about it as if it never happened.  See? Problem solved.

Except for Mayor de Blasio, who has now been proven powerless in the face of police insubordination.  And Commissioner Bratton, who was reduced to begging his troops to not make him look like the most worthless chief ever, who then had to watch as the rank and file spit in his face.

And except for the people of the City of New York, as cops return to the streets to do as much of the job as they feel like it, in whatever way they feel like it, because they own the streets.  They own the mayor. They own the commissioner. They own the courts, as the judges have long been too afraid of the cops to take any risk of their disapproval.  And they own us.

The fear was that Mayor de Blasio would engage in talks with Pat Lynch as to how many free shots plus pay increases he would have to give to the PBA to get the cops to not make him look foolish.  Which of our constitutional rights would be put on the table to get the police to love him?

That fear was misguided.  If this disappears with barely a whimper, it’s unconditional surrender.  There is no parity between the people of New York City and the police force. The idea was that they work for us. The idea was that they serve us. They smacked us in the face and told us we got it all wrong; we exist for them.

If they go back to work, if nothing comes of this, if there are no consequences or lesson taught and learned, they win.  That Bratton asked only for his commanders to do what they could shows they have forfeited command and control over the cops, and that’s the best they can do. The cops still get paid for not doing their job.  Life goes on as if it never happened.  And Eric Garner is still dead. Problem solved.

19 thoughts on “Bratton To Top Commanders: Do What You Can

  1. David M.

    How insane is it that in the face of a rebellion from abject flunkies, the commissioner and the mayor mess all over themselves in their hurry to submit? I’m reminded of Marc Randazza’s post on Pearl Harbor, and not just for the “abject flunkies” bit. Guts and hearts.

    Total, unconditional, public surrender of the civilian leadership, because cops are mad! It must be pretty reassuring to be a New Yorker these days.

      1. RAFIV

        This post sort of reminded me of Act 3, Scene 3 of Henry V. That whole not left “half achieved Hatfleur” part.

        See, a Tummy Rub for you and a gratuitous reference by me to make me look wicked smart. Perfect SJ comment.

        /mike drop

  2. Alice Harris

    So true! This is a totally outrageous situation and must not be tolerated. Where are the lawmakers, judges, or “authorities” who are eager to fix every other perceived problem? We are in a real mess. Some of the grownups in the room need to step up. This insurrection must stop.

    1. SHG Post author

      Perhaps you missed that part of the post which noted that the people don’t care. They just want the problem to go away. The “authorities” have punted, police have effectively sold their savior story to the public and the people just don’t care. That, Alice, is the how the “insurrection” ends.

      1. Alice Harris

        I noted that and I believe you are right. guess I’m just saying that people ought to care. Like so much about the criminal (justice) system, the general public doesn’t know and doesn’t care what happens unless they or their lived one gets caught up in it.

        1. SHG Post author

          They ought to. My usual rule of thumb is no one cares until it touches their life. I would have thought this one might, but still, it’s easier to let it go than face it. And if the public is willing to let it go, then so will the authorities.

        2. Ken Mackenzie

          There is also the libertarian view that “the people” are quite happy to be less heavily policed.

          1. Alice Harris

            I’m one of them. This lack of arrests for minor b.s. charges would make me happy if a permanent state. What doesn’t make me happy is the police being in charge, answering to no one, and running the show.

          2. morgan sheridan

            I’m far from a libertarian, but less policing isn’t the worst idea ever. I’m more of a “I’ll govern myself and do my best to uphold my part of the social contract, thank you very much” kinda citizen and yada, yada, yada.

  3. John B

    I’ve been following this mostly through your blawg and the news as a far outsider (Living in the midwest). I was pretty stunned when I started seeing Anti- de Blasio content start to show up on my facebook feed. It was all pretty standard meme fare that would just reinforce people that already held pro-cop stances, but the fact that it was there was disturbing. It seems the all out press by the unions is going well outside of NYC seeking support from any corner they could get it.

  4. Ken Hagler

    Is it even possible to fire those cops, or did their union pressure the city into signing a contract saying they can’t be fired without jumping through all kinds of hoops that amount to the union giving permission?

  5. John Barleycorn

    I bet there are more Barbie dolls in NYC than police officers.

    You guys should make the sacrifice and steal your children and grandchildren’s Barbie dolls and start handing them out to the brave heroes of Gotham to show your solidarity.

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