Protesters who target the New York City police are saying they resent Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea intimating that the hysterical anti-police protests that have taken place recently contributed to the assassination attempts last weekend on several officers.
“These things are not unrelated,” Shea said Sunday. “We’ve had people marching through the streets of New York City recently. Words matter and affect people’s behavior.”
De Blasio said people who spew hatred at police are “aiding and abetting this kind of atmosphere.”
“You could protest for whatever you believe in, but you cannot vilely attack those who are here to protect us,” de Blasio said. “It creates this kind of dynamic.”
What does he mean by “vilely attack”?
Robert Gangi, who heads the Police Reform Organizing Project, called the accusations by de Blasio and Shea irresponsible, noting that police revealed no connection between Williams and the protests.
There is no defense for a “lunatic” who shoots at police officers, Gangi said, but he described the protests against police as legitimate.
“For the many NYers who fear, loathe, & distrust #NYPD, it’s based on all too substantive reasons: daily targeting, harassment, & harm inflicted by cops on poor people of color,” Gangi tweeted. “Until that changes, until pols in power like deB take steps to end it, anger & protests will continue.”
To say the cops target, harass, and harm poor people of color is idiotic. It’s vile. It’s hysterically inaccurate. But that’s mild compared to the conspiracy theories.
“Linking the right to protest and to take direct action with unassociated and random acts of violence is a well-worn and gratuitous tactic long used by authorities to suppress dissident speech,” the group said in a statement on Twitter. “The mayor, at least, should pretend to know better.”
When in doubt, deflect, distract, and change the subject.
The suspect in these attacks, Robert Williams, may or may not have been aware of the protests against the cops, including a massive demonstration at Grand Central Terminal. It’s hard to believe he didn’t hear of the white-hot rhetoric of hatred against the cops on the street.
This kind of rhetoric doesn’t “inspire” attacks as much as it enables them. A thug like Williams could easily get the idea that he’d be some kind of hero to New Yorkers if he took out a couple of cops. And why not? There are many activists who believe in the right to take “direct action” to defend themselves against police who they believe are trying to murder them — an idea they got from Black Lives Matter inciters who deliberately try to enrage black people.
As authorities have pointed out, there are consequences to this kind of rhetoric. For activists to pretend they’re not at fault is childish and stupid.