Monday, 12 May 2008

Another Fine Mess

The NYPD has its hands full with the ongoing Sean Bell disaster as Reverend Sharpton continues to lead civil disobedience; Congressman Conyers arrives to hold a public hearing on police conduct; and the new governor, who joined a previous protest against trigger-happy police years ago, very publicly meets with Bell’s family members to leave no doubt about where he stands.

Not content with this ongoing bitch-slap from everyone except the judge who absolved the three detectives charged with filling the unarmed Bell full of holes, two white cops poured gasoline on the flames by accosting a black SUV driver and demanding his ID, forcing open the car and verbally dressing him down as occurs hundreds of times a day under the police’s stop-and-frisk guidelines.

Turns out, however, that the driver was the highest-ranking black police officer in the city.


If there were any further need to demonstrate to the New York public, 56 percent of which is non-white, that the Caucasian-dominated police force discriminates, abuses and is generally out of touch, there ain’t any more. Mayor Bloomberg took advantage of the departmental nadir to announce that city budget cuts would push the police hiring freeze into 2010, and the very loud, very obnoxious patrolmen’s union president didn’t issue Peep One about it.

So far, the outrage over the Bell verdict hasn’t generated any counterproductive reactions, which of course could change. But for the time being the post-Bell moment has been a grostesque spectacle of retrograde, dufus officers making public fools of themselves and showing up their ample racist underbellies. Would that someone could now take the opportunity to turn the NYPD into a professional force with decent salaries and respectful procedures instead of a lingering throwback to its notoriously corrupt past.

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