A Weimar-y Vibe

If you haven’t been following the situation in New York City since Saturday, things are getting tense.

On Saturday, a gunman shot and killed two police officers at close range in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

The murders come on the heels of weeks of protest in New York (and elsewhere) against the rampant lawlessness and brutality of the police.

Instantly, the police and their defenders moved into high gear, blaming the murders on the protesters; NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had been gesturing toward the need for police reform; and US Attorney General Eric Holder. Many have called for the mayor’s resignation.

The police union and its head, Patrick Lynch, were the most forthright:

“There is blood on many hands, from those that incited violence under the guise of protest to try to tear down what police officers did every day,” Mr. Lynch said.

“That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.”

A statement purporting to be from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the biggest police union, blamed Mr. de Blasio for the shootings.

“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies,” read the statement, “and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

The statement instructed officers to forward it to colleagues, and it spread instantly through the department.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association issued a similar statement on Twitter.

I had heard that that statement was not in fact from the PBA, but now I can’t find anything definitive about it. In any event, it gives you a flavor of what Greg Grandin is calling a “cop coup” in New York. It’s a strong term, but it’s hard not to conclude that the mayor believes his first duty is not to the security and well-being of the people of New York but to the security and well-being of the NYPD. Because the fate of his administration is in their hands.

The mayor has already called upon protesters to suspend their protests. Even though the protesters had already considerably softened their line—chanting “Blue Lives Matter,” too—De Blasio said today:

“It’s time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in due time.”…”That can be for another day.”

The mayor’s call came a few hours after the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said that the killing of the officers on Saturday was a “direct spinoff of this issue” of the protests that have roiled the nation in recent weeks.

And with that, De Blasio’s pretty much handed over his administration to the NYPD.

Listening to these cries from the cops—of blood on people’s hands, of getting on a war footing—it’s hard not to think that a Dolchstosslegende isn’t being born. Throw in the witches brew of race and state violence that kicked it off, the nearly universal obeisance to the feelings and sensitivities of the most powerful and militarized sectors of the state, and the helplessness and haplessness of the city’s liberal voices, and you begin to get a sense of the Weimar-y vibe (and not the good kind) out there.

But whatever historical precedent comes to mind, one thing is clear.

The entire New York City establishment—not just De Blasio, but political, cultural, and economic elites—is terrified (or in support) of the cops. With the exception of this fairly cautious statement from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, himself a former police captain, not one of these figures has spoken out against the Freikorps-ish rhetoric emanating from the NYPD. It’s not that these men and women are spineless or gutless in a psychological or personal sense. It’s worse: They’re politically frightened, which is far more dangerous. Because they have no sense of an alternative base or source of power. After decades of being whipsawed by capital—you could trace this rot all the way back to 1975, if not even further—they’re simply not prepared to take on the police. Even if they wanted to.

Update (December 26)

Via Digby, who was also skeptical of my initial report, comes this article in the New York Times of the impact the political response to the killing has had on the critique of the police:

Just how dramatic the turnabout has been in New York could be measured by a scene that unfolded this week at City Hall. There were no Council members blocking traffic. There were no choruses of “I can’t breathe.” And there were no mayoral meetings with protesters.

Instead, there was unstinting praise for the police from the Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who earlier this month had asked her colleagues to repeat “I can’t breathe” 11 times, for the number of times Mr. Garner said those words before he died in the encounter with the police.

“We are here to send a simple and direct message: that we unequivocally support, appreciate and value our police officers, that we condemn any and all violence against them, that we must end hateful and divisive rhetoric which seeks to demonize officers and their work,” Ms. Mark-Viverito, flanked by fellow Council members, said at a news conference.


  1. Adolph Reed December 22, 2014 at 7:04 pm | #

    Thanks Corey; you hit the nail absolutely on the head with this, particularly with the 1975 link. This crap is utterly frightening. I’d been holding my breath about what de
    Blasio would do in response to this fascist outpouring from the cops,
    knowing that if he didn’t came back firmly at them, they’d have him on the
    run. Of course, I’m not surprised the way he did respond.
    Like all the liberal Dems, apart from some triumphalist, ultimately class-specific
    gestures of diversity, they spend all their time catering to those who
    didn’t and won’t vote for them. And, speaking of 1975, this also
    underscores that odious cops/Wall Street/developer alliance.

  2. halginsberg1963 December 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm | #

    I think it’s a little strong to liken Mayor De Blasio’s administration to the feckless pre-Nazi regime based on the call for a suspension of protests. I also think those criticizing De Blasio from the left should acknowledge that when it comes to taking on the NYPD he is far superior to either of the previous two inhabitants of Gracie Manor. In any case, the issue that we should focus on is how ridiculously easy it is for the mentally deranged to obtain guns. Besides the shooter, those most responsible for the deaths of Officers Ramos and Liu are the NRA, Congress, and the courts.

  3. debmeier December 22, 2014 at 7:08 pm | #

    I agree. I’m sick over it. The grief of the cops and thei families is no more than the grief o Garners family, et al. But what’s going on is no whose grief is more, but who can make life impossible for New Yorkers and the Mayor–and the cop union (maybe?) has jumped on it for revenge. What to do?

    Rev Butz (Butts?) made, I thought a good statement on a TV showed I briefly heard this afternoon.

    Getting the right message out needs to happen soon or all those who’ve so valiantly demanded that their lives matter, at last, will be brutally ignored and their work put down, etc, etc.

    While the following quote came to me by way of a message to Israelis, it gets to the heart of our problem too. We are strangers to each other.

    ”The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    The terrible hings done to us so rarely produce the response we hope for–a loving outreach to others in pain. Even when it’s done right, and surely well meant, we sometimes get exactly the wrong response. We heard nothing similar from “the cops” about the death of back men in their hands. Speaking of bloodied hands. And DeBlasio’s remarks were thus taken as a weakness, I fear. It’s, as you say, frightening.

  4. jonnybutter December 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm | #

    “The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies,” read the statement, “and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

    Nice to have this 21st century idiotic/comic touch.

    I guess if these cops can’t understand why people are upset by the nauseatingly casual on-camera murder (from two angles!), in Staten Island, by a cop of a man who is clearly not a threat to anyone, and then not even an indictment – how can they understand the objections to ‘stop ‘n frisk’, which DeBlasio was more/less directly responding to in his campaign?

    • jonnybutter December 23, 2014 at 10:45 am | #

      This situation has a very serious Weimar-y vibe, but I do think it’s possible for someone like Lynch to overplay his rhetorical hand. Please don’t mistake this for any kind of systemic optimism, but social networks and viral videos really do matter in the political equation here. Even if no one publicly rebukes Lynch or others, there is a sense in which they are yelling at themselves. Most people are just appalled and grieving.

      Social networks and videotaping scare the cops – that’s why they beat, arrest, and threaten people who protest and tape them. I would say that this sort of documentation and instant, wide distribution is something new. I love New York in so many ways (how do I love thee?) and am really sick about what’s happening there. But nationally I feel relief that this issue is coming to a head of some kind: years of being casual about casual murder must be so terribly warping.

      With luck, it may even dawn on a few white people that if cops can murder Garner for nothing, on camera and nothing happens to them, that cops can very well murder them or their children too.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant December 23, 2014 at 11:25 am | #

        While I take seriously Corey’s Freikorps-in-the-making analysis, I think you are on to something.

        On the one hand, Lynch and other PBA types around the nation (Jeffrey Follmer, Jeff Roorda, John Mc Nesby) are certainly acting like the proto-Nazi Freikorps with their outrage that citizens should dare criticize the actions of some in their ranks. Does anyone deny that the “throwing the cops under the bus” comment from Pat Lynch eerily recalls the “stab [the soldiers] in the back” thesis of the German rightists of Wiemar? Indeed, Lynch divides New York into cops and criminals. He never uses the word “citizen” to describe New Yorkers, and neither he nor any other of these PBA-type mouthpieces ever acknowledge that the police department is an ARM OF THE STATE and that in a democracy the POLICE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC it is sworn to serve and protect, and not the other way around. Why else do so many of them demand that if a cop tells you to stop, you stop (implying an “or else” [Follmer])? Should we not take that as a publicly issued threat of death to the public?

        It is clearly this untouchability that is buoyed by historic White racism that has instilled this Freikorps mindset that the police are not public servants but a separate political party that has the distinct legal ability to kill people it does not like and finds its cover in the widespread love of television dramas made for the older and Whiter suburban demographic.

        On the other hand, this could be the painful transition to a more socially and politically and (dare one hope) legally accountable police force in this and other cities around the nation. Which is what should be case in democracy.

        It could go either way.

      • jonnybutter December 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm | #

        I think it comes down to how denial works.

        I am a white person who grew up in a de facto segregated northern suburb. I am very confident in saying that, traditionally, most people living in a place like that are in effortless denial about what’s going on in other neighborhoods. This is not an excuse, just straight up observation. To the extent (very tiny!) that people in a place like that are even aware of the rest of the world, everything is designed to make rationalization not just easy, but convenient.

        But when protesters are in the streets all over the country, and more importantly youtubes of police murders and shootings are on your device in your living or bed room, it’s much harder – though not impossible of course – to deny. Some will just ‘grip the wheel more firmly’, but it surely will dawn on others that the same brutality could, conceivably, happen to them or their children or someone they know. No one knows what the upshot will be, but at the very least, the worm turns a little (so to speak).

  5. Paul Sawyer December 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm | #

    Your grim analysis about the political power of the police is most spectacularly confirmed, to my knowledge, by the ability of the president of the CO union to bully and intimidate everyone in city government from, apparently, the mayor on down; see New York Times article for December 14, if you haven’t already: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/nyregion/at-rikers-a-roadblock-to-reform.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A9%22%7D&_r=0

  6. Joseph Ratliff December 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm | #

    Reblogged this on My WordPress Notepad.

  7. Roquentin December 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm | #

    This is dead on. Paradoxically, the minute you hear someone say they want to put aside political debate you can be surer than ever it is a political action and ideology is hard at work. This whole turn of events is depressing and I’ve rarely felt so powerless in the face of an unfolding catastrophe. I see these quotes and instantly think “jackboots” and I’m not one to throw around the pejorative around often.

  8. BillR December 22, 2014 at 11:43 pm | #

    More so than Weimar–after all the politicos were mostly despised in a culture without parliamentary tradition–it seems akin to interwar France. The Army and its leaders were above criticism–Petain came out of that milieu–and anti-Semitism was much worse than in Germany until the Nazis came to power.

    Luis Buñuel made a marvelous movie on the hypocrisy and “lunatic semiology” (Rick Perlstein used the phrase in his fine take on Reagan, Invisible Bridge) of the era, Diary of a Chambermaid.

  9. Stephen Zielinski December 23, 2014 at 12:05 am | #

    The Mayor’s only appropriate response: Publicly demand Bratton’s resignation. Fire him if he refuses to resign.

    I can imagine the resentment this symbolic act would elicit. But the NYPD is that rotten that only only deep seated institutional reforms would matter. They are as improbable as social democracy in NYC.

  10. JonJ December 23, 2014 at 12:15 am | #

    Watching the New York situation from another state, I guess I feel lucky not to be there right now. I sometimes visit the city, but for the time being I think I’ll stay away — who knows who might suddenly take a notion to pop off a few shots at someone or other, and whether their aim would be so bad that an “innocent bystander” like a visitor to NYC walking down the street might be an “accidental” victim. The city officials were boasting until just now about how relatively safe NYC had become, but I’m not so sure about that at this point.

    Even in my city, which hasn’t had an incident like this in quite a long time, I feel a bit of trepidation every time I walk down the sidewalk past one or more police officers, just because they are heavily armed and can suddenly start behaving very unpredictably, as events in Missouri, Cleveland, and Staten Island, and elsewhere, show very clearly. Even if they aren’t moving toward a “Freicorps” posture, as you suggest, they make me nervous whenever I am near them.

    At any rate, I fully agree with you that this horrible situation shows clearly that the Left right now has practically no source of power — even in New York, which was a bastion of the Left for generations past. It is very sobering to reflect on how far we have to go to regain the level of power we used to have in previous generations.

    And the behavior of the news media, including the august NY Times, is as disgusting as ever. To report on the state of mind of the NY police force, what do they do but run right to the head of the police union, who seems to be a certifiable unhinged individual. (Even though a lot of his ranting is no doubt an act he is putting on with the aim of getting a stronger position in the next round of contract negotiations, as a good union head. I note some reports today pointing out that the NYPD union heads have tossed verbal grenades at NYC mayors since pretty much forever, just for that reason.)

    I don’t know what can be done about this inveterate habit of the media to pick some “official leader” of every group and pretend that he/she speaks for the whole group. I’m quite sure that any number of NYPD officers think that Lynch and the other “leaders” are stark raving nuts, but you’ll never find the NY Times quoting them, even anonymously. Every article keeps emphasizing that “the police (all of them, presumably) are angry and even furious at the mayor.” Trying to do their part to help defuse the tension? Ha ha — dream on. That’s not what the professional news media are paid to do; their job is to ramp the tension up.

  11. The Broken Elbow December 23, 2014 at 7:16 am | #

    Reblogged this on The Broken Elbow and commented:
    I notice that the ever-repulsive Niall O’Dowd, editor of the Irish Voice empire, was one of the first out of traps to attack NY Mayor Bill de Blasio in the wake of the killing of two NYPD cops in Brooklyn at the hands of an evidently deranged gunman

  12. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant December 23, 2014 at 8:38 am | #

    Thank you thank you thank you Corey!!

    You said what I was thinking!!


    Please read “Male Fantasies” by Theweleit.

    One could make the observation that there is a reason why Volume II is subtitled “Psychoanalyzing the White Terror”

  13. Don Carlos December 23, 2014 at 8:46 am | #

    Entirely similar to Obama’s defense/support of John Brennan and the CIA. Liberals often pave royal ways for fascists. Those good Liberal gents of the Weimar Republic built detainment camps in Germany.

  14. Gregory A. Butler (@GREGORYABUTLER) December 23, 2014 at 10:17 am | #

    A silly political analogy by somebody who’s obviously colossally ignorant of New York municipal employee affairs

    If you want to make historical analogies, try making more accurate ones – like New York 1992 (the last big PBA job action against a Democratic mayor)

    This is not Germany 1933 – they’d lost a world war in 1918 and had an unfinished revolution in 1919, with the belligerent forces from that revolution – National Socialists on the right and Communists on the left – battling to resolve those contradictions

    Pat Lynch isn’t Hitler, or even Ernst Rohm – he’s a union leader, who’s membership hasn’t had a contract in 4 years and had 20 years of pay cuts before that

    His union has a history of illegal “blue flu” job actions dating back to 1915, and the current arrest and summons strike is a part of that tradition

    Also that arrest and summons strike effectively sabotages Broken Windows, which is a development we should welcome, even if we don’t agree with why they did it

    Lynch isn’t a fascist – he’s an outer boro White ethnic Conservative Democrat

    There’s lots of folks just like him in this city

    Even if he was Hitler….who’s our Ernst Thalmann?

    Bill De Blasio?

    Al Sharpton?

    bottom line, Instead of making ludicrous Godwins Law analogies, why not write about New York Civil Service on New York Civil Service’s terms?

    Corey, if you want to write about city workers, get a subscription to the The Chief-Leader (its only $ 20 for a year) and educate yourself on the topic before you write about them

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant December 23, 2014 at 11:45 am | #

      As a public sector worker and union member, I take umbrage at a so-called union leader for public sector workers who can’t even shove through his damned front teeth any acknowledgment that he represents workers employed in an institution that is accountable to the public. Rather, Lynch (a well-named person if ever there was one) acts as if the police were under attack when it is members of the public that are being killed by his members under cover of Law. He expresses no compassion for innocent victims of police violence, and turns somersaults of rage when some in the public demand reform of police procedures and demand accountability. His rhetoric is unlike that of any non-police union official I can think of.

      Lynch is a fascist.

      He needs to go.

      He is not helping his membership. He is not helping the union cause.

      • Gregory A. Butler (@GREGORYABUTLER) December 24, 2014 at 2:38 am | #

        It’s obvious that you don’t know what the word “fascist” means

        Lynch is a conservative Democrat union leader, representing his members, low level police officers who – following orders from Wall Street, City Hall and One Police Plaza – carry out terror in the ghettoes

        His members only get punished when this routine police repression gets in the newspapers – but the bigshots who ordered them to carry out those attacks never get punished

        Also,in what civics class fairy tale universe is NYPD (or any other police agency) “accountable to the public”?

        In the REAL WORLD, the chain of command for the cops in the radio cars works like THIS

        THE RULING CLASS (organized through the Association for a Better New York, the Real Estate Board and the Municipal Assistance Corporation)
        NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT SENIOR MANAGEMENT (the bosses at One Police Plaza)
        BORO COMMAND (Manhattan North/Manhattan South/Bronx/Queens North/Queens South/Brooklyn North/Brooklyn South/Staten Island/Housing Bureau/Transit Bureau/Detective Bureau/Special Operations)
        PRECINCT COMMAND (the Deputy Inspector or Captain who runs your precinct)

        The bottom tier are Lynch’s members – Lynch has no say in who gets hired for those jobs, and if One PP wants you fired the most Lynch can do is have your trustee and a PBA lawyer in the room at your hearing

        ALL city law enforcement/code enforcement/public safety agencies work like that

        It’s not Pat Lynch’s job to worry about the public – he represents 25,000 Police Officers and a few other members in kindred titles

        Just like every other civil service union leader in this city, he represents the folks he has a bargaining certificate for, and nobody else

        As far as you reading the job listings in the back of the Chief – yeah, lots of folks do that

        I was suggesting you and the author read the articles in the front

      • Stephen Zielinski December 24, 2014 at 9:29 am | #

        Re: G. Butler

        Being a union leader and a conservative Democrat can be consistent with having a fascist politics. The reason: The low level police officers can use their institutions as Trojan horses for a fascistic politics.

        That said, there are different kinds of authoritarian entities and political systems. They all are capable of violently oppressing this or that group or class, using whatever means they have at their disposal. They all oppose the universalistic norms that constitute a democratic civil society. Thus a fascist politics is not a necessary condition for the emergence of coercive institutions backed by an authoritarian ideology. It is a sufficient condition which makes possible a fascist revolution.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant December 23, 2014 at 11:46 am | #

      Oh, yes. I forgot to mention.

      I do read The Chief. That is how I was able to find my current employment.

  15. Lee December 23, 2014 at 11:42 am | #

    Until militarization of the police by TPTB worldwide through the UN War on Drugs enforcement policy is seriously addressed, nothing being said on related topics by so-called authorities carries any weight. Its all BS ..dangerous BS.

  16. Gordon Munro December 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm | #

    Happy Gedanken fuer Xmas Eve.

  17. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant December 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm | #

    I locate this reply to “Gregory A. Butler (@GREGORYABUTLER)” here because – once again – I fall victim to my own tendency to prolixity.

    I am unsure what your spelling out the institutional structure of the police department and its connection to City government has to do with a critique of the reactionary impulses of the union leadership in the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. As you are aware the police department is not just a department; it also a political entity and not an inert one if we learn anything here. The layers of government above the head of the rank and file patrolperson may suggest a vulnerability to the actions of City bureaucracy, but actual reality suggests otherwise when innocent civilians are killed by police officers and no accountability is forthcoming.

    In this democracy, the principal of civilian control is a legal and constitutional fact. Part of the reason that DeBlasio was elected mayor of New York City is the understanding that his office could – would – impact the policies and practices of the police department when that department interfaces with the civilian public. To the extent that his office succeeds or fails in this project is the extent to which the democratic project itself succeeds or fails since it speaks to the degree that his office is mindful of and active toward the interest of the entire public. Whether Lynch and others like it or not, the police are indeed under civilian control. This does not mean that the cops cannot protest mayoral policy – but it does mean that attacking civilians’ right to protest the actions of the police (again, an arm of the state) as if such protests was some kind of war on cops that culminates in the murder of cops is to dangerously misread, to dangerously deny, the simple fact that this is still a democracy.

    You claim that it is not Lynch’s job to worry about the public. That is a strange claim to make since the role of the police is to protect the public, and that a police union president’s job in seeking after his members’ interest so that they can protect the very public that you say it is not the job of a police union president to worry about. I would claim that it very much is, and it includes the project to seek after labors’ interests as well. And labor – including private sector labor – is part of the public. If he cares only about cops, then his view is very short-sighted. In our own public sector union, the first thing we consider when protesting the policies of the governor is to remind the public that we are here FOR THEM in all aspects of labor’s life, including wages and benefits and safety and – yes – democracy. If Lynch forgets about the public, then I guess that explains why he is hostile to civilians’ complaints about police brutality and impunity. It is dangerous for an armed wing of the state to have it memberships’ representatives disregard the public that its employees are sworn to protect. In our union we cannot afford to forget the public: we need them and they need us. The public is not our enemy; it is our ally. Our public sector labor is created – by Law – for them. We make our causes their causes. We seek to protect the services we provide and that they rely upon – and to be compensated fairly so that a middle class existence is maintained and expanded to as many Americans as humanly possible. We approach them with that attitude. In short, we serve the public in more ways than one, in both our daily work and in our political activism.

    Lynch, on the other hand, sees the public as the enemy. I guess that is what happens when your view of them is as receptacles for bullets. We don’t approach public service with that “so you can sleep in your cozy beds at night” resentment; we don’t approach our public service as an excuse to lord it over the public. We don’t go “do as we say (or else)” as he and other cop union officials publicly state. We don’t issue threats to the public, demanding that they obey us. We are not frightening them with visions of social anarchy if we did not exist to protect their ungrateful butts. We are subject to the laws of this democracy just as the public is. We are not above the law and we do not demand public forbearance when some in our own ranks runs afoul of law, morals, or civility. Yes, we demand due process (since it protects labor from managerial predation) but that is because the laws are for all of us.

    When our members are injured (or worse) in their labors by clients, patients, or prisoners – we don’t act as if these injuries are caused by the public’s exercising its right to protest the abuses by some on the public payroll. For Lynch to blame protesters and the mayor for the murder of two police officers by a deranged man with a gun (by the way, are the protesters also responsible for the man’s shooting of his girlfriend?) is beyond irresponsible and flat out wrong. It betrays a terrifying mindset regarding democracy and the role of the police in a democracy. Indeed, it betrays a mindset that cannot see the interests – and the work – of the police as being entirely consistent with democracy. Contrary to police union officials, we don’t see public protests as the actions of an ungrateful society that would rue the day we are not there for them (to repeat, a very common and resentful threat from such police union officials). Rather, such protests can only help to further public – and public sector – safety at the very least.

    You note that Lynch is an outer-borough White conservative Democrat, as if this absolves him of my charge of “fascist” sentiment. Does one need to remind you that the Democratic Party at one decades-long time had as part of its history a fascist sentiment that was murderously anti-Black? Recent history has seen the purging of the Party of that element to a great extent. In Lynch, however, a revanchist survives. Are all cop unions nationwide headed by White outer-borough Dems? Could it not be supposed that other cop union heads around the country are likely to be conservative Republicans, if geographic location is a clue? Could this be a clue as to the convergence of opinion as held by Lynch and his counterparts around the nation when they have been able to air their views in the media recently? It is worth considering why it is that cop unions seem not to be headed by progressives of any political party. Describe for us what it means in that Pat Lynch “represents the folks he has a bargaining certificate for, and nobody else”. Did Lynch agitate for a collective bargaining agreement in his union’s contract that protects the right of cops to murder innocents, a labor agreement which then denies a victim’s survivors a right to a day in court?

    You are right about Lynch being concerned with “no one else.” That is the trouble, and it is what risks moving the police from public protector to public menace. It is also the reason that the “fascist” label sticks. When an armed wing of the State starts behaving as if the public is the enemy, what will it take to stop them?

    My hope is that some in the union will realize that Lynch and others like him don’t merely pit cops against protesters or Blacks or elected officials. They pit them against democracy itself when they act as if they are not accountable to the public and not accountable for their actions. If the public rejects the police’s belief in their own impunity, what actions will the police take in reply? Seriously, what? And against whom?

    I know damn well what “fascist” means, fella. I am an unarmed Black man in America who has been “stopped” more than once even while, back in the day, wearing my Friendly’s Ice Cream uniform bicycling my way to work as a porter and dishwasher. I have had cops “pop” open their gun holsters when approaching me. I had a friend who is also a cop get approached by other cops who had their guns drawn on him. His car was billowing smoke on a highway here on Long Island, stranding him as he called his mother on his cell phone. They did not know he was a police officer until he could show them. He, like me, is Black.

    Again, Lynch is a fascist. He helps the cause of labor generally and the police narrowly not one whit. He clearly cares nothing for the public or for democracy.

    He needs to go. The police need progressive leadership that ties their department’s interests to all citizens’ interests, from labor rights to public safety – and the police officers’ own safety – and to the safeguarding of the democratic project.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

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