As Police Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill steps down and Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea prepares to take his place, the NYPD is in the throes of an all-out assault from an element of the city that has decided many types of law enforcement are inherently racist, and that cops themselves are fundamentally unworthy of respect.
This is a pernicious anti-law-and-order attitude that risks public safety in New York, now far, far safer than it was 20 and 30 and 40 years ago.
It is especially scary that some of New York’s own so-called leaders are encouraging the revolt.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reacted to a mass jumping of turnstiles on Friday night in Brooklyn by supportively tweeting that “Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich.”
The turnstile thugs carried signs reading “Make transit free/Take what you need/F--k the police” and “NYPD KKK”; they shouted obscenities at officers stationed in the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station and scrawled graffiti, including of a dead pig, on station walls.
Ocasio-Cortez, by espousing solidarity with such violence and by portraying subway enforcement as inherently illegitimate, does not belong within 1,000 miles of a government office; she is a disgrace and a danger to all citizens.
Her highest duty as an elected official is to uphold the sanctity of the law; it is the rule of law that sets the U.S. apart from anarchic, corruption-plagued Third World countries. Lose respect for that legacy and we will begin sliding back toward a violent state of nature where neither life nor property are secure.
By standing with the weekend’s criminals, Ocasio-Cortez is not only objecting to a form of enforcement. She is effectively endorsing everything else the protesters represent: mass lawbreaking, assaults on cops, and farebeating. This is ignorant Marxist provocation.
Let’s be blunt. The biggest beneficiaries of the restoration of civil order in New York that began with the crackdown on farebeating were the law-abiding poor, who depend on the police to keep order in their otherwise chaotic neighborhoods.
It is ludicrous to assert that all farebeaters are penurious; good luck finding a turnstile-jumping teenager without a smartphone and an active social media account.
Whenever cops are deployed to simply stand in subway stations, whether in New York or San Francisco, farebeating drops though ridership does not, belying the claim that people can only access the trains by jumping the turnstile.
Indeed, New York City now offers half-priced fares for poor people.
Farebeating is not a crime of poverty, as its defenders claim (not that alleged poverty ever justifies crime). Rather, turnstile-jumping results from a sense of entitlement and a hatred of bourgeois norms, sentiments cultivated by our university system and increasingly espoused by our left-wing political class and media.
Crime may be low, but Shea’s biggest challenge is that New York City is going through a slow meltdown, with a steady pattern of attacks on cops. We’ve seen cops get water, milk and take-out food dumped on them. We’ve seen them attacked when attempting an arrest or trying to evacuate residents during an apartment fire. We saw one hit in the face with a chair when responding to a complaint about a man urinating inside a nail salon.
This is the direct result of the seemingly non-stop vitriol spewed into the body politic by the Black Lives Matter Movement. The anti-police rhetoric has not dissipated, despite the absence of a BLM supporter in the White House.
When the anti-cop riots burst out last week, Mayor de Blasio should have gone before the microphones and forcefully repudiated the chaos. He should have called for the strictest of penalties.
Instead, only two of the subway rioters have been arrested. The cops are being emasculated, which means we’ll only get more of this disorder.
And for that, soon enough, we will all pay the price.
This piece originally appeared at the New York Daily News
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion. Follow her on Twitter here.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images