The next page in the Eric Garner chapter was written on Saturday.
And a significant chapter was added to the Bill de Blasio Chronicles on Saturday — when the anarchy allowed by authorities to fester these past few weeks reached its natural manifestation.
The killing of a police pair is rare enough. When two policemen are executed by a gunman expressing the same sentiments as thousands of protesters roiling the city — something is terribly wrong with this picture.
We express our outrage at the brutal execution of two of New York’s finest, as well as our deep sympathy to the innocent victims and their shattered families.
It is a stretch to say that de Blasio has blood on his hands. But it is undeniable that the anarchy he stood by these past few weeks encouraged Saturday’s tragedy.
“The opening graf [of my New York Times obituary],” former Mayor David Dinkins once said in a 2009 interview with NPR, “will read David M. Dinkins … first black mayor of New York, and then immediately, Crown Heights.”
It is cold comfort to be vindicated, but an opinion piece published on these pages two weeks ago predicting that de Blasio’s failure to stand up for his officers will exact a price has been proven tragically correct. But there is no joy in this, for two reasons.
First, it was unfortunately widely foreseen. And second, it is our city that is suffering, our city that is paying the piper for the mistakes of its mayor, our city who elected a mayor and received a Sharpton as a bonus.
Neon lights for de Blasio: The common denominator current events share with the 1991 Crown Heights riots is Al Sharpton.
And — in a more ominous warning for the mayor — the common denominator current events share with the L.A. riots of 1992 is a mayor extending an olive branch to the protesters. Both Los Angeles in 1992 and New York in 2014 had a mayor who denounced a jury verdict acquitting white officers in the death or beating of a black man.
“Today,” declared Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley after a jury acquitted four cops in the beating of Rodney King, “that jury asked us to accept the senseless and brutal beating of a helpless man.”
During the weeklong riot that followed, protesters acting out Bradley’s viewpoint rampaged through the streets of L.A., killed several dozen innocents, looted stores and caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damages. The city has still not recovered from that six-day dunk into anarchic instinct.
While Bill de Blasio’s comments after the acquittal this month of a police officer in the tragic death of Eric Garner have not risen to Bradley’s heated rhetoric, it was enough of a red cape before a bull to enrage the NYPD rank and file.
“Today’s outcome is one that many in our city did not want,” de Blasio said immediately after the verdict was announced.
However, he elaborated on it during a press conference later that day, in comments a police union head said “threw police under the bus.”
The mayor, the nominal commander in chief of the police force — Mike Bloomberg once even referred to it as his “small army” — called police efforts to stamp out gang violence, robberies and violent crime in black neighborhoods, a “painful sense of contradiction.”
“I’ve had to worry over the years, Chirlane’s had to worry — was Dante safe each night? … And not just from some of the painful realities — crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods — but are they safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors? That’s the reality. And it conforms to something bigger that you’ve heard come out in the protests in Ferguson, and all over the country.”
De Blasio’s saying he has to worry how to protect his son from police tells society’s worst elements that the men in blue are the enemy.
Mr. Mayor, it is laughable to hear you denounce police crime-fighting methods. Remember, you are the establishment. You don’t like the way police keep the rest of us safe? Then change it. Dismantle the NYPD and open up a new ACLU-approved group. The police department handed you by your predecessor was doing a pretty good job. Don’t go down in the history books as the one who changed a good trajectory fast.
The L.A. riots didn’t occur in a vacuum. Crown Heights didn’t happen out of the blue. It started with the small stuff, which was fanned by politicians who tolerated it until it finally exploded into violence.
Mr. de Blasio, Saturday’s cop executions did not come in a vacuum. The way to change the atmosphere, the only way to change it, is by coming down squarely on the police’s side. Every time. Consistently. And don’t change your tone when you attend a Sharpton-fest.
Mr. de Blasio, you may have been elected with the help of Sharpton, but your legacy is being written by your relationship toward the brave members of the NYPD.
And the lives of millions of New Yorkers have a great stake in your recognition of that.