Ivory Tower Iconoclast

NY Cops Retreat From the Heat

The English actor Beatrice Lillie had no inkling of 2019’s sweltering summer heat in 1931 when she debuted Noël Coward’s ditty “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” in the Broadway musical The Third Little Show. The song’s mocking refrain, “Mad dogs and Englishmen/ Go out in the midday sun,” expressed a sentiment normal Americans subscribed to during this past July’s scorching heat waves.

By contrast, abnormal Americans—a third group oblivious to Coward’s warning—went out in New York City’s midday sun just like a crazy cur or a British expat might. Rather than soaking themselves in front of an open fire hydrant or sitting under a shady tree, roving bands of these nutty New Yorkers threw buckets of water on the nearest uniformed patrolmen, as recounted in several viral videos. And when the buckets ran dry, they then threw the empty containers, even hitting one officer squarely in the head as he handcuffed a suspect during an unrelated arrest.

Throwing a bucket of water on another human being does nothing to cool you off, not that any of these pavement predators grasp the rudiments of thermodynamics. Rather, the purposeful dousing of another human being, who has not consented to such, only serves to humiliate, dehumanize, and intimidate. When inner-city wolf packs douse the police, their actions send a chilling message: Law and order have no place in our (as they like to say) “community.” New York’s already thin blue line got even thinner this summer, and nearly washed away, thanks to the antics of some of its most unruly residents.

After the first few dousings, complaints rang out from police union officials and low-ranking politicians. New York’s Sergeants Benevolent Association warned its members in a tweet, “DEFEND YOURSELF before YOU get seriously injured or KILLED.” Long Island Republican State Assemblyman Michael LiPetri also sounded the alarm, possibly fearing the urban mayhem might cascade into his civilized suburban district. “To show such little respect for our brave police officers is abhorrent, but speaks to the bigger issue of how poorly they are treated in the mainstream media and under the DeBlasio [sic] administration,” LiPetri fumed.

Only after the Tweeter-in-Chief demanded, “It is time for @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio to STAND UP for those who protect our lives and serve us all so well,” did New York City’s presidential striver and dilettante mayor stir from his perpetual post-Soviet slumber. “The president knows nothing about New York City,” de Blasio condescendingly whined. “This is a guy who literally does not even understand the place he came from.”

Lest we forget, President Tweet was born and raised in Queens and resided in Manhattan until January 2017, when a Russian putsch installed him in the White House. Bill de Blasio, on the other hand, left his natal province of Massachusetts in his teens, heading south on the interstate highway of leftist lunacy, much like the opportunistic 19th-century carpet baggers before him. After an ideologically determinative honeymoon detour in Cuba, de Blasio alighted in the even more ludicrously far-left New York City, where he has since continued his reign of terror while serving in elective office.

De Blasio likes to remind listeners at every turn of the countless warnings he gives his biracial son Dante “to take special caution because there have been too many tragedies between young men and our police.” After July’s escapades, de Blasio should give that same warning to uniformed officers at every police precinct where the residents see nothing wrong with attacking cops.

After every presidential tweet, the left musters the troops in its Ahab-like quest to oust Russia’s puppet from the White House. And despite this relatively temperate chirp (as measured by my Trump-o-meter), Anne Oredeko, the supervising attorney of The Legal Aid Society’s Racial Justice Unit, still sensed the need to gaslight New Yorkers with Orwellian Newspeak: “The disproportionate response from the NYPD to these incidents of young people splashing water on officers compared to officers committing violent misconduct, also often on tape, demonstrates the department’s failure to see its own hypocrisy.”

In an attempt to prove that mainstream media is not entirely dead, although unquestionably bereft of any moral compass, The New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante offered up the possibility that some of the dousings could be “either expressions of impish seasonal boredom or deeper, more meaningful antagonisms.” I never got bored during my impish teenage summers. My work on city road crews filling potholes, unclogging sewers, and picking up garbage for $3.35 an hour kept me too busy to throw water on the only individuals standing between myself and societal collapse.

But these were not imps who doused the New York police this July. And Bellafante should check her facts. The first two ersatz water park employees arrested in one Manhattan incident included 23-year-old Isaiah Scott and 28-year-old Chad Bowden. The two Harlem residents waltzed out of criminal court, bail-free, after getting hit with misdemeanor harassment and criminal mischief charges. Another incident involved Brooklyn douser Courtney “Killer Court” Thompson, also 28, and a member of the Crips offshoot “Fresh Gangstas,” who happens to be the son of a New York City Correction Department captain. Killer Court’s water fusillade destroyed one officer’s $250 body cam. The Department of Correction suspended his frightfully indiscreet mother, La Shonda Stanley, after his arrest. City officials became alarmed when they discovered a Facebook post signed by Captain Stanley’s husband, reading: “Y’ALL UPSET ABOUT SOME PIGS GETTING WATER THROWN ON THEM…THEY’RE LUCKY THEY DIDN’T GET SHOT WHILE MAKING AN ARREST!” It went on, “F—K THE POLICE.…IT’S TIME WE SHOOT BACK!!! COP KILLERS STAND UP!!!!” [sic]

Luckily for justice, a few New York pols have proposed legislation to combat this assault on civil society, even though their diatribes prove they don’t know why such laws are needed. Staten Island Republican State Assemblyman Michael Reilly, who represents the only sane borough out of New York’s five, advanced a bill making throwing water on a police officer a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. A former police officer, Reilly correctly prophesied, “[I]t’s only a matter of time until we see that someone is throwing something more than water.” Reilly may have been alluding to an earlier Sergeants Benevolent Association tweet shortly after the attacks warning that “these buckets can contain ACID, BLEACH, or other CHEMICALS.”

Assemblyman Reilly should brush up on his jurisprudence. We already designate attacks that cause grievous bodily harm as felonies. If an urban hoodlum hurts a police officer by throwing acid, bleach, or chemicals on him, he will likely face upgraded felony charges. Any forthcoming legislation needs to address the incidents that took place this July: the dousing of police officers with water. This crime should be a felony, whereas a water attack on a civilian should not escalate to that designation. We charge those who murder police officers with greater crimes than those who murder civilians. Our laws must allow our police officers to perform their invaluable function, keeping the peace, without having barbarians ambush them in pursuit of social justice or some other unjust rationale. These “impish” dousings are more than just individual attacks on police officers. They are attacks on law, order, civil society, and our fraying social fabric.

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol from the insane borough of Brooklyn spoke more truth than he intended, even as he set out to tear the social fabric even more in response to Reilly’s well-intentioned but ultimately misguided legislative rationale. “Creating felonies will not correct the damaged relationship that exists between police and the communities they serve,” Lentol opined. Too true. Laws rarely create respect for the parties they aim to protect. That respect must preexist any targeted legislation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo threw more water on the soggy confusion during an August radio interview. “The police officers walked away and got back in the car. That is wholly unacceptable,” Cuomo said. He criticized what he considered the cops’ poor training, “I don’t know how we’re training police officers. How when you are basically assaulted—and that’s an assault!—you retreat. You will make law enforcement impotent.” He sneered in contempt at the NYPD, characterizing the soaked cops’ reaction as “one of the most disturbing and embarrassing actions I’ve seen.”

Cuomo’s criticism of police training completely misses the point that, in many leftist-run metropolises, officers know that the political appointees running their departments won’t back them up if they use force. They conclude that retreat is more often than not the best course of action. Why perform your sworn duty to protect the peace when your career, reputation, and livelihood could be snuffed out to appease a mob of activists? When the police do fire their weapons, demagogues like Cuomo, de Blasio, and Lentol stoke the aggrieved with their tiresome accusations of excessive force, brutality, and racism—regardless of the circumstances. Rather than asking for calm and letting investigations take their course, our patronizing leaders let often violent protests play out. The media then sensationalizes the turmoil in its lust for advertising revenues, proving yet again that corporations are nothing if not utterly sociopathic.

As this toxic cycle repeats itself across the country, respect for the law, and even more so those who enforce it, will evaporate. The theme song from the 1984 hit movie Ghostbusters, set in New York City no less, opened with the verse, “If there’s something strange in your neighborhood,”—like cops getting doused—“who you gonna call?” I say call Bill de Blasio. Or Captain La Shonda Stanley. Or Anne Oredeko. These charlatans use their megaphones to rationalize unjustifiable attacks on society’s only line of defense. Don’t bother calling the cops. Treacherous politicians and the mercenary media have given them sufficient cause to retreat.

Mark G. Brennan

Mark G. Brennan is the books editor of Chronicles and writes from New York.

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