Great article in gawker about the NYPD. As a native New Yorker currently living in Scotland, I found the bolded paragraph especially pertinent:
[…] the apparent slippage in enforcement is addressed in a pair of New York Post articles published this week. According to the emphatically pro-cop tabloid, since December 22, tickets and minor summonses are down 94 percent and overall arrests down 66 percent compared to the same period last year. But instead of framing the lack of action in terms of Lynch’s raging ego, the Post and its sources posit that the recent unrest and the Liu-Ramos murder have left cops feeling afraid of being hurt on the job.
In truth, it’s probably a little bit of both. Whether you’re a good cop or a bad cop, waking up and starting your patrol in a city where two of your colleagues were killed on the job and where throngs of people express their displeasure with you every single night is surely a source of enormous anxiety and discomfort, and rightfully so.
But fearful as it may be, this is the job the cops signed up for: to protect and serve, as the motto on the side of every squad car in New York says, with courtesy, professionalism, and respect. This is why the angle that Lynch’s vituperative rhetoric is really about a union contract dispute is so unconvincing. Despite what the NYPD would have you believe, a police officer is not an oppressed minority, but a special, protected class of person—just look at what happened to Daniel Pantaleo after he killed a man on video for clear evidence of that. And if the pressures of being a police officer ever become too great, cops are welcome to relieve themselves of that special status by turning in their guns and badges and quitting the force.
Eric Garner wasn’t so privileged. When the pressures of being a black man in a racist police state became too great for him to bear, he didn’t have the luxury of quitting. The greatest tool at his disposal in the moments before his death was his voice, and he used it. “I’m tired of it! This stops today,” he pled with officers as they questioned him about allegedly selling a single loose cigarette. “Please, just leave me alone.” For that simple request, he was executed in public without a trial.