Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Eighteen years ago, the New York Police Department was the most celebrated police force in the country. Its members had brought crime under control after decades of thugs terrorizing New Yorkers. And their heroism on September 11 had made the NYPD into a national symbol of courage and honor.
Five years of Bill de Blasio changed all that.
The resignation of Commissioner James O’Neill, De Blasio’s NYPD boss, marks another low. O’Neill had loyally followed the leftist politico’s orders until the last few weeks when he just couldn’t anymore.
O’Neil’s biggest concerns included the pro-crime measures that released arrested criminals without even making them post bail and gave 17-year-old criminals a pass. “It’s only gonna get worse,” he said.
That much is undoubtedly true. And it got worse under Commissioner O’Neil.
In September, Officer Brian Mulkeen was shot and killed by a career criminal who was on probation. Despite having an open warrant and a pending court case, Mulkeen’s killer was free to roam the streets. While rank and file officers have been speaking out, O’Neil remained silent. And even in his resignation, he kept quiet and maintained the appearance of being on excellent terms with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I believe he will go down as the worst Police Commissioner in NYPD history,” President Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association said. But O’Neill was just doing the bidding of the bosses.
New York City has gone from a place that’s tough on crime to a lefty metropolis that is pro-crime.
While Bill de Blasio, his political allies and the New York City Council, pressured O’Neill to crack down on cops, they’ve been lavishing praise, get-out-of-jail free cards, and even presents on criminals.
In the latest insane move, Mayor Bill de Blasio is letting criminals out of prison, without having to post bail, and giving them baseball tickets, movie tickets, and gift cards to show up in court. The eligible criminals can be guilty of everything from selling drugs in school to criminally negligent homicide.
That’s the new normal in New York City whose Democrat leaders embraced the rhetoric that policing is everything from ‘mass incarceration’ to ‘criminalizing poverty’ to ‘racist white supremacy’.
The latest wave of pro-crime and anti-police protests saw leftist thugs chanting, “F___ the police” and calling police officers, “pigs”. Trash was hurled at NYPD officers. They were spit on and had eggs thrown at them while protesters vandalized a bus and waved signs calling for violence against the police.
Despite claiming racism, many of the protesters were actually wealthy lefty white hipsters.
The pro-crime protests had been held in support of ‘fare-beaters’ who jump subway turnstiles instead of paying the fare. The media then falsely claimed that stopping fare-beaters was ‘over-policing’.
“Our great police are being disrespected, even with water dumped on them, because a mayor and governor just don’t have their backs,” President Trump tweeted. “New York’s Finest must be cherished, respected and loved.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was all for it, tweeting, “Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich. Arresting people who can’t afford a $2.75 fare makes no one safer and destabilizes our community.” It’s a lie that fare-beaters can’t afford $2.75. They don’t want to.
Cops don’t want to spend their time chasing fare-beaters. Those orders came from the top down.
And there were 260 million reasons for those orders.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) expects to lose $260 million to fare-beaters in 2019. The 2018 cost was estimated to be $215 million. The huge increase was a huge problem at a time when the transit agency was facing a $634 million budget gap. The same lefty politicians who support fare-beaters, also don’t want the MTA to raise fares or cut back services. So where was the money coming from? The obvious answer was the growing number of thugs who refuse to pay to ride the subway.
Lefty pro-crime activists claim that stopping fare-beaters “criminalizes poverty”. The same arguments were advanced to “decriminalize” shoplifting in California with the same exact results.
Being poor and being a criminal are not the same thing. Except to the Left it is.
And if crime is just what poor people do, then the NYPD is a racist organization engaged in class warfare against “poor people” who have to steal, assault, and occasionally rape, just to be able to get by.
The ideological justification of crime is nothing new. But no previous New York City government had subscribed to it to the same degree as the current mayor and the current city council.
That’s what the NYPD is up against.
New York City has become a place where cops arrest thugs, only to see them quickly released, and rewarded with baseball tickets and gift cards for showing up to court. And where police officers are spit on and fired for doing their jobs. A recent video showing a cop car being vandalized is the new normal.
The whole thing came to a head with the NYPD being sent in to help plug a hole in the MTA’s budget only to, once again, be sold out by the same Democrat leaders who sent them to take out the trash.
After September 11, the NYPD deployed an intelligence force that was second only to the FBI in order to fight Islamic terrorism. In the Bill de Blasio era, fighting Islamic terrorism is an Islamophobic no-no.
A politician close to Linda Sarsour was not about to let the NYPD do its job.
The broken windows policing that turned out around a broken city was also tossed out under De Blasio. Trying to improve the quality of life was deemed to be another case of “criminalizing poverty.” In reality though it was the working poor who had benefited the most from safer and cleaner neighborhoods.
What replaced it was community policing and a culture of impunity for criminals.
The MTA campaign was a last-ditch effort to keep the subway system running by applying broken windows policing to a system already overrun by criminals. There’s a dedicated NYPD team chasing subway sex offenders. Many of them are serial offenders who have racked up dozens of arrests.
One homeless serial sexual predator has been arrested 169 times.
The NYPD’s show of force was met with a leftist show of force. And, in a city run by the Left, there’s never any doubt about who’s going to win. That’s one of the reasons why O’Neil stepped down.
The NYPD and the FDNY, the two iconic organizations that shone on September 11, have been trashed. Their professionalism has been shredded by racial quotas and by lefty politicians who didn’t see them as heroes, but as examples of everything that was wrong with New York City and with the United States.
They got their way.
There are plenty of good cops, but, as an organization, the NYPD has been damaged by the De Blasio years in the same way that the nation’s military was left in tatters by the Obama era. And, unlike the country, there’s no serious expectation that the city will have any kind of sane leadership ever again.
New York City has lost its working class and is losing its middle class. What’s left are wealthy lefties and the welfare class. The latter commit the crimes and the former enable them. And both hate the cops.
The NYPD was made up of the sons and daughters of an older immigrant working class whose descendants formed the city’s middle class. Its roots go back to the city of factory workers, shopkeepers and laborers of the last two centuries. There’s no room for those people in New York City anymore.
And there’s no room for their culture of hard work, law and order, and patriotism.
The New York City that shone on 9/11 was the last gleam of that old city which assembled entire fleets for WWII, that electrified, entertained, and built a nation. Don’t look for that city anymore. It’s gone.
On 9/11, New Yorkers cheered the NYPD. Today the leftists who cheered 9/11, spit on them.