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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Monday, December 22, 2014

You knew this was coming, even before N.Y. killings: Killings of New York Police Officers Spark Backlash to Protests - “If you visited from Mars in the last few months, you would think police do no good in society at all,”

From The Wall Street Journal:

The assassination of two New York City police officers this weekend has emboldened police and their supporters to lash out at weeks of nationwide protest and criticism that they say have left officers more vulnerable.

Police are investigating social-media posts by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the apparent assailant in the point-blank fatal shootings Saturday of the two officers who were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. In them, he allegedly talked about killing officers in retaliation for the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, N.Y., and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., this summer during confrontations with police.

Experts on law enforcement said the demonstrations that followed grand jury decisions not to charge the officers in those cases have strained police morale nationwide, as officers have been forced to defend their tactics, then deploy in big numbers to protests against those tactics.

“This senseless murder of two of New York’s finest further exemplifies the dangerous political climate in which all members of law enforcement, nationwide, now find themselves,” Baltimore police union President Gene Ryan said in a posting on the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police website. “Not since the political unrest of the 1960s have police officers been so targeted.”

The shootings of the two officers likely would inflame those who have organized responses against the protesters, and could make it politically difficult for elected officials to engage with demonstrators, said Hasan Kwame Jeffries, a history professor at Ohio State University who focuses on the civil rights movement.

“This is where it can be really dangerous,” he said. “This is reinforcing the worst thoughts of those who were hostile to the protests.”
Mr. Jeffries saw some parallels with the recent turn of events and the splintering of the civil-rights movement. When protests for racial equality became more militant in the late 1960s and sparked police shootings, some liberals stopped participating and elected officials cracked down on the gatherings.

“If you visited from Mars in the last few months, you would think police do no good in society at all,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of law and police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “And there’s a complete absence of elected officials, who are the architects of the system, not only not stepping up to defend the police, but sometimes jumping on the bandwagon.”

Police unions, meanwhile, said it was time for elected officials to stop blaming them for tensions between officers and minority communities.

“Enough is enough,” said Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, in a statement. “There’s nothing wrong with the way cops do their jobs.”

Some conservative leaders said it was time for the protests to wind down or take a more civil tone. In particular, several cast blame on civil-rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton for his role in the protests.

Even before the NYPD shootings, the protests appeared to be entering a new and undefined phase. Attendance at demonstrations in New York City had dwindled. Protests in Ferguson hadn’t appeared in any organized form in days.

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