March 17, 2003
By Heather Mac Donald
IT took City Councilman Charles Barron and the Rev. Al Sharpton little more than 24 hours to denounce the New York police after the fatal shootings of four thugs this Jan. 1 and 2. But a week after the executions of two undercover officers in Staten Island, Barron, Sharpton and the rest of the city's cop-haters have preserved a perfect public silence.
There were no demonstrations outside the courthouse when Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews' murderers, who shot the officers point-blank during a buy-and-bust operation for a semi-automatic, were arraigned. Nothing like the protests that Sharpton organized outside the Bronx courthouse to scream at the four New York officers who mistakenly shot Amadou Diallo in 1999.
Nor will anyone be parading coffins outside the homes of alleged cop-killers Ronell Wilson, Omar Green and Jesse Jacobus, as New York's anti-cop bigots did outside the homes of the Diallo officers.
Thus we confront yet again the bizarre calculus of life, race and criminality that reigns among professional and amateur cop-bashers. This calculus assigns wildly different values to lost life, depending on the race and status of the suspect and the victim.
At the absolute bottom of the heap are slain white cops. No matter how evil the cop-slayer, you will never see a protest staged against him. Some residents of Staten Island were initially indifferent to last week's executions, since they assumed that the deceased officers were white, according to The Post's Douglas Montero. When they learned that the two undercover cops were black, "their attitude changed totally," said one 18-year-old girl.
Hardly worth more than the lowly murdered cop is the innocent civilian victim of black or Hispanic criminals - even if the victim is also black or Hispanic. Contemporaneous with the fatal police shootings this New Year's, a gang of attackers hunted down and murdered 15-year-old Ernesto Reyes, then returning from a party at his godparent's home. Not a peep from the cop- haters, who were busy protesting the justified police shootings.
A sniper is now gunning down small business owners and customers in Queens and Brooklyn. Barron, Sharpton, et al.? Mute.
"Where's the 'civil rights' leadership?" a stunned police commander asked me back in January 2001: Lowlife Charles Sealey, 19, had just killed a 17-year-old local hero, Thomas Johnson, Jr.
Johnson had been an aspiring football champion and academic star, hoping to buy a house for his parents with his future football earnings. Sealey was a neighborhood menace with prior arrests for assault and drugs. Johnson had tried to mediate a dispute between his cousin and Sealey over a girl, but fled when Sealey drew a handgun. Sealey shot him anyway.
But let's move to the top of the heap: Get yourself shot by a cop, and if you're black or Hispanic, you become an instant martyr, no matter what your character or the circumstances of the shooting.
Take the New Year's NYPD shootings.
* Jamal Nixon, 19, had previously been arrested for shooting at cops, and had just been released from a three-year prison bid for weapons charges. Following a volley of gunfire in a Brooklyn neighborhood in the first hours of Jan. 1, three officers saw Nixon brandishing a 9mm pistol, and yelled at him to drop it. He refused, and was shot, firing at the cops as he went down, according to a witness.
* Allen Newsome, 17, had robbed delivery men from a Wimpy's franchise in Harlem three times in the previous week, sticking them up with a realistic-looking pellet gun. An undercover cop disguised as a Wimpy's worker encountered the gun-toting Newsome in an apartment stairwell. The undercover's partner rounded the corner, saw Newsome pointing a gun at the officer, who had fallen, and shot him.
These "victims" drew the police's attention by their criminal behavior, and nothing else. Yet so twisted has race politics become in some quarters that black criminality is excused for the higher good of blaming some white perpetrator.
After Wimpy's robber Allen Newsome was killed, about two dozen protesters surrounded the local franchise to blame the store for his death. "You got him killed," they shouted, calling for a Wimpy's boycott. (Undoubtedly, the many law-respecting residents of Harlem silently backed the cops.)
Let's imagine an alternative universe. Instead of stigmatizing the police, who every day risk their lives so poor people can live free from crime, the "civil rights" leadership would stigmatize criminals who prey on poor people.
Instead of organizing vicious protests against officers who try to do their jobs in good faith, Al Sharpton, Charles Barron, Jesse Jackson and every city's local cop-baiter would set up shop outside the jails and courthouses to decry rapists, murderers and robbers.
Instead of glorifying young black thugs whose murderous behavior toward police officers results in their deaths, the black "leadership" would pressure parents to rein in their delinquent children early on.
The six suspects in the Staten Island cop murders all had criminal histories, as did the four victims of the New Year's cop shootings and, undoubtedly, the killers of Ernesto Reyes and the bodega sniper. Maybe if stigma had been brought to bear earlier on these perps' lawless behavior, they would not have ended up killing or being killed.
The New York Police Department has done more for New York's black community over the last eight years than Al Sharpton and Charles Barron ever have or will. By getting thousands of guns off the streets, as the unjustly maligned Street Crime Unit did and as the Firearms Investigation Unit (where detectives Nemorin and Andrews worked) now does, the NYPD has saved thousands of lives and allowed a semblance of normalcy to return to once terror-stricken neighborhoods.
If the police had not brought murder and burglary in Harlem down 80 percent in the last eight years, Disney and other national retailers would not be opening up stores on 125th Street nor would middle-class home-buyers be snapping up Harlem brownstones.
Immediately after Detectives Nemorin and Andrews' murder, the officers in the Firearms Investigation Unit were back on the streets putting their lives on the line, so the "good people" in the inner-city community can go to work and raise their families safely.
The cop-baiters in the public arena, media and ghetto neighborhoods may think that they can indefinitely continue to impugn officers' racial fairness without consequence, but they may soon find out that even officers' oaths to sacrifice themselves for the community have their limits.
Heather Mac Donald's latest book is "Are Cops Racist?" Adapted from city-journal.org, the Web site of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.
©2003 New York Post
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