Helicopters in the air. Dogs in the hallway. RMPs everywhere and tons of cops. A mass murderer? Terrorists? Nope. Shit for brains, as nothing else explains the incomprehensible excesses to arrest a 28-year-old protest leader for talking with his megaphone near the ear of a cop.
But wait! They came without a warrant. They left without an arrest. Even in the grand scheme of stupid cop tricks, this one takes the cake.
Derrick Ingram, an organizer of a group leading New York’s Black Lives Matter protests, was besieged inside his Manhattan apartment on Friday while a police helicopter patrolled overhead, officers banged on his door and police dogs waited in the hallway.
The street outside had been closed off by roughly two dozen police vehicles and dozens of officers, including some who were wearing tactical gear and carrying shields. At the end of the block, Black Lives Matter supporters had gathered with bullhorns and cameras to protest what appeared to be Mr. Ingram’s imminent arrest.
The cops knocked. Ingram instagrammed the moment while supporters stood outside capturing the moment for the new reality show, Funniest Cop Videos.
“What did I do? What did I do?” he said on a livestream posted on Instagram. “I was born Black, that’s what I did.”
On the one hand, this didn’t happen to other people “born Black,” so maybe it involved a bit more than that. On the other hand, half a precinct worth of cops don’t show up to embarrass themselves so badly most of the time, so he’s got a point.
At a time when police action is under such intense scrutiny, when the right to protest is at its apex, when the likelihood that no one will notice the cops engaged in absurd excesses and when the person you came to arrest, without a warrant, happens to be a leader of that protest, you would think someone with half a brain would stand up and say,
You know, guys, after the shitstorm raised by the arrest of Nikki Stone that went viral, maybe we should go low key this time? Maybe we should act surgically. Maybe we should just give Ingram a call and ask him to come on down. After all, it’s not as if we don’t know where to find him.
It is almost inconceivable that the NYPD could have not realized the error of its tactics here. There is no justification, not even to the most ardent apologist. The optics were beyond horrible. And this fed into every complaint about police excess possible. The only thing they didn’t manage to screw up was to break down his door and kill him. Thankfully, they didn’t have a warrant, or that might have happened.
Not everything the cops do is wrong or bad. This was. And they picked a hell of a time, place and manner of doing so. It seems impossible that the NYPD could pull such a monumentally stupid move. And yet they did. This is hardly the way to show the public why you deserve to exist.