Monday, December 22, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: A Stupid Blood War

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Just a few hours after two police officers were fatally gunned down by a deranged madman, Pat Lynch, the head of the police union was playing a dangerous blame game.

Noting that "there's blood on many hands tonight", Lynch added: "That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."

Obviously Lynch is not saying that de Blasio actually pulled the trigger so what is he claiming? How exactly did the mayor incite anti-police violence that ended in so much tragedy on the streets of Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon?

I pored carefully through the many transcripts issued by the mayor's office this year and there's not a single bad word about the police in there. The mayor's foes have fixated on one thing -- de Blasio's story that he has cautioned his bi-racial son to be careful around the police.

One out-of-town journalist asked me for the original transcript of de Blasio's remarks which he made on the day that a grand jury declined to indict anyone in the Eric Garner case, assuming the mayor said something quite incendiary. The strongest language comes when the mayor praises his teen-age son as "a good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face – we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him."

That's the call to arms against the NYPD?

And unlike many politicians and critics of the police, the mayor pointedly – and repeatedly -- avoided saying the grand jury should have indicted a cop for Garner's death, instead saying he respected the process.

Even just a day before the police officers were killed, de Blasio was praising the NYPD at a promotion ceremony, noting: "Any act of violence against our police officers is an act of violence against our values."

But if we want to focus on deeds and not words, let's try to find what new policy of the mayor's has defanged the NYPD. While de Blasio relentlessly campaigned against the police tactic of stop-and-frisk, the number of stops actually bottomed out long before he took office in the waning years of the Bloomberg administration. And ironically, statistics show that the number of people who are stopped by police overwhelmingly continued to be black and Latino during de Blasio's first year. So much for the new paradigm.

So has the mayor pulled bulletproof vests from cops or taken away their service revolvers and replaced them with batons? Is he calling for police precincts to be shut down or cops no longer to ride with partners?

Much like we shouldn't be blaming a president for the deaths of soldiers on the battlefield, let's not point fingers at the mayor for a madman's actions. It's ridiculous to believe that if only de Blasio had been more like Rudy Giuliani, Officers Liu and Ramos would be alive.

It's the same sloppy and dangerous logic in which people tried to blame American foreign policy for the 9/11 attacks, saying the chickens have come home to roost. There are plenty of chickens that fly around on their own.

You can think de Blasio is the worst mayor since Abe Beame or a social revolutionary who does circles around La Guardia, but let's not throw blood or blame on him during a very sad holiday season.

Bob Hardt

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