The Left has been struggling to disassociate the anti-cop hatred spewed by the Black Lives Matter movement from the assassination of New York police officer Miosotis Familia during the Fourth of July holiday. Police Commissioner James O’Neill demolished those efforts in his blazing funeral oration for Officer Familia on Tuesday. Assassin Alexander Bonds “hated the police,” O’Neill said, because he had heard and read “countless times” in conversation, on television, and in the newspapers that the cops were the “‘bad guys.’” That hate “has consequences,” O’Neill warned. “When we demonize a whole group of people—whether that group is defined by race, by religion, or by occupation—this is the result.” Bonds had mental problems, but it’s no coincidence that they culminated in the deliberate slaying of a cop.
The Left denies that the Black Lives Movement is anything other than a reasonable movement for justice and insists that it has no connection with anti-cop violence. Never mind the “Fuck the Police” signs, the “Police = KKK” chants, the “Racist, Killer Cops” tee-shirts. Never mind the exclusive attention to a handful of officer-involved shootings and the refusal to acknowledge why officers focus on minority neighborhoods in the first place, or why they are more likely to encounter armed and resisting suspects there. Never mind the media stampede to justify riots as an understandable reaction to supposed police racism. While any given Black Lives Matter protest, however virulent its rhetoric, enjoys First Amendment protection, it is disingenuous to pretend that the all-consuming anti-police narrative is not making officers’ work more difficult and more dangerous. The anti-cop Left has no explanation for the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers last year. It turns its eyes away from the growing animosity and resistance that officers now encounter when they try to investigate suspicious behavior on the street. And most important, the anti-cop Left ignores the truth: we are not living through an epidemic of racially biased police killings of black males. In fact, if there is a bias in police shootings, it favors blacks against whites, as four studies found last year. The widely held impression that blacks make up the majority of people killed by the police is entirely a media creation.
Most tellingly, the Left has nothing to say about the rise in black-on-black violence that the demonization of cops has produced. An additional 900 black males were killed in 2015 nationally compared with the previous year, the result of officers backing off of proactive policing. Commissioner O’Neill rightly asked where the demonstrations were in protest of Familia’s killing: “Why is there no outrage?” he wondered. But he could as well have asked where the Black Lives Matter demonstrations were in protest of the mindless and constant drive-by shootings of black civilians. A handful of grass-roots activists in Chicago and elsewhere have protested the slaying of children and the elderly, but not one Black Lives Matter leader has seen fit to organize against the rising street violence. Seven thousand blacks, overwhelmingly male, were killed in 2015—2,000 more deaths than all white and Hispanic homicide deaths combined, though black males are only 6 percent of the nation’s population. Not a peep of protest from Black Lives Matter agitators.
The people who are paying attention are the police, who analyze crime patterns on a minute-by-minute and corner-by-corner basis, seeking to break the grip of violence on a community. When no witnesses will cooperate in solving the latest drive-by shooting, the police work tirelessly to try to track down the shooter on their own.
Commissioner O’Neill celebrated what drove Familia and her colleagues to become police officers—the desire to improve people’s lives. “Cops are regular people who believe in the possibility of making this a safer world,” O’Neill said. “It’s why we run toward, when others run away.” But fewer and fewer individuals are choosing to take on what O’Neill called the “vast responsibility” of becoming a police officer, knowing that the first assumption that the media, the activists, and academia would make about them is that they are implicit, if not explicit, racists. Recruiting has dried up. And many police departments, pressured by the Obama Justice Department, are lowering hiring standards, including clean criminal-record requirements, in order to increase what is speciously referred to as “diversity.”
We can hope that O’Neill’s stirring testament to the dignity and compassion of policing will inspire more upstanding individuals like Miosotis Familia to become guardians of the peace. During Familia’s funeral, however, a teen blasted the rap song “Fuck tha Police” from his third-floor window, in deliberate contempt of the proceedings below. As long as that sentiment has so many elite enablers, the violence in inner-city neighborhoods will continue, taking lives both black and blue.