The New York Times editorial board blasted the city’s police force on Wednesday for its latest “tantrum” against Mayor Bill de Blasio (D): a reported work slowdown.
“The data cover only a week, and the reasons for the plunge are not entirely clear. But it is so steep and sudden as to suggest a dangerous, deplorable escalation of the police confrontation with the de Blasio administration,” the Times wrote.
The NYPD launched a “virtual work stoppage” and has largely ceased arresting people for low-level offenses, apparently in protest against de Blasio after the assassination of two uniformed officers earlier in the month, according to the New York Post.
To explain the slowdown, a police source told the Post that cops “are concerned” that de Blasio did not react more forcefully against the December protests that roiled the city when a grand jury failed to indict the white officer who appeared to place an unarmed African-American man, Eric Garner, in a chokehold before his death.
“This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake. Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them,” the source said.
Other factors have also added to the tensions between the police and City Hall. De Blasio campaigned for office promising to curb the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk tactics and some have criticised the mayor for citing concerns about his own biracial son after the Garner decision. Since the execution of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, the relationship between de Blasio and the police has become even more heated. At Ramos’ funeral last weekend, many officers could be seen turning around while de Blasio spoke.
But with the reported work slowdown, the Times wrote, police “seem to have taken their bitterness to a new and dangerous level.”
“Even considering the heightened tensions surrounding the officers’ deaths and pending labour negotiations …. this action is repugnant and inexcusable. It amounts to a public act of extortion by the police,” the paper declared.
The Times also did a point-by-point refutation of NYPD complaints against City Hall. Accusations that de Blasio is anti-police, the paper said, amounted to a “false narrative.”
“The list of grievances adds up to very little, unless you look at it through the magnifying lens of resentment fomented by union bosses and right-wing commentators,” the Times argued. “The falling murder rate, the increased resources for the department, the end of quota-based policing, which the police union despised, the mayor’s commitment to ‘broken-windows’ policing — none of that matters, because many cops have latched on to the narrative that they are hated, with the mayor orchestrating the hate.”
The editorial closed with a blunt instruction to officers: “Do your jobs.”
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