The other day, something I wrote here-- If ‘Black Lives Matter’ killed NYPD officers, Tea Party killed Las Vegas police--caused a not very surprising or remarkable Facebook fight, which evolved into a debate over Bill de Blasio's role in and response to the murders of two NYPD officers. After people accused Bill de Blasio of being part of the problem and failing to do his job, I commented, "
After I review the evidence, I will offer advice to the Mayor on how he can best move forward and redeem himself.
First, what exactly did Bill de Blasio say that has landed him in so much trouble. On December 3, after a StatenIsland grand jury decided not to indict the officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner, de Blasio said that he was “astonished by the decision” and that it was a “very painful day for so many New Yorkers.” De Blasio also made the following unspeakable comments about how he and his wife Chirlane have worried about the safety of their son, Dante:
Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face. A good young man, 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.
And that painful sense of contradiction that our young people see first, that our police are here to protect us, and we honor that, and at the same time, there’s a history we have to overcome, because for so many of our young people, there’s a fear. And for so many of our families, there’s a fear. So I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane’s had to worry. Is Dante safe each night?
There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities—crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods—but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors. That’s the reality.
Not surprisingly, de Blasio's thoughtful, nuanced, honest acknowledgement of the legacy and persistence of racism, sparked a backlash from people who like to pretend we live in a post-racial society. I mean, er, not surprisingly, de Blasio's vicious, cop-hating comments inspired the very rational Ismaaiyl Brinsley to fatally shoot two NYPD officers in Brooklyn on December 20.
Before officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed, Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association police union (PBA) had already accused de Blasio of throwing police "under the bus" with his comments. The PBA even circulated a petition demanding that de Blasio not attend funerals of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty.
So, on December 20th, several police turned their backs on de Blasio when he entered a Brooklyn hospital to pay his respects to the killed officers. In case de Blasio didn't get the memo, Lynch said, “blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."
In all fairness, Lynch isn't the only police union president fond of bloody hands metaphors. On the night of the double murders, Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins also said, “Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands." He also explained, with the specificity of a political scientist, “It is your failed policies and actions that enabled this tragedy to occur."
Outside of the NYPD, the sun-denied former NY governor George Pataki tweeted that he was "sickened by these barbaric acts which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of #ericholder & #mayordeblasio. #NYPD."
Friday, a group of retired NYPD paid for a plane to fly a banner over downtown Manhattan, which read, "“De Blasio, Our Backs Have Turned To You." One of the retirees, a self-described "ranting investigative blogger," released a statement explicitly linking, de Blasio's comments about his son with the death of the NYPD officers.
It is our opinion that Mayor de Blasio’s dangerous and irresponsible comments about his and his wife’s concern for their son’s safety at the hands of the NYPD fueled the flames that led to civil unrest, and potentially to the deaths of PO Wenjian Liu and PO Rafael Ramos, as well as the continued threats against NYPD personnel... The Mayor shows us no respect, and encourages the public to follow his lead.
At the funeral held for Rafael Ramos on Saturday, hundreds of police officers honored their fallen brother by turning their backs on deBlasio, despite the fact that he was invited to speak by the fallen policeman's widow.
And, on Sunday's Fox and Friends, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani expressed some ambivalence before coming down on de Blasio and blaming him for anti-police sentiment and thinking there is racism:
“When I reflect on all the police officers turning their back, I don’t know, I guess as an ex-mayor, I feel uncomfortable about that, you turn your back on the mayor... On the other hand, I think at this point I have to say, he’s bringing it on himself. He should have apologized.” To be clear, Giuliani wasn't actually accusing de Blasio of double homicide: “He should have apologized, not for the murder — he’s not responsible for the murder, he shouldn’t resign, he’s been elected by the people — but he did create an atmosphere of anti-police bias and feeling for a long, long time.”
Giuliani added that de Blasio was wrong about the NYPD, which, far from being white, is literally nothing but a bunch of "minorities": "It’s time to say, ‘Maybe I had the wrong perception of my police department. First of all, my police department is not a white police department. Everybody’s a minority in the New York City Police Department'.”
And, of course, Giuliani blamed de Blasio for talking about his son and overstating racism, which doesn't really exist, according to Rudy. So, like, get over it! “We’re not talking about the South in the 1960s. We’re talking about guys that grew up next to an Asian kid, next to a black kid, next to a white kid. Everybody’s familiar with it, we all play football with each other....This is not what he has allowed to be created when he made all those statements about his son.”
This isn't the first time Bill de Blasio's having a bi-racial family or mentioning said family has got him into trouble. During an interview with New York Magazine in 2013, then mayor Michael Bloomberg said that de Blasio was running a “class warfare”-based and “racist” campaign, by “making an appeal using his family to gain support. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing.”
Preach anti-racist legend Bloomie! If Bill de Blasio weren't racist, he wouldn't have married a Black woman, he wouldn't have had two bi-racial children and he certainly wouldn't appear in public with them. Because it's clear that's he's exploiting them for political gain. That was his plan all along.
After Bloomberg's comment, I offered Bill some free advice for how to become less racist:
He could literally and physically hide his non-all-white relatives. To do this he could keep said relatives at home all of the time. This would require homeschooling. Or he could have a white stunt-family that he appeared in public with. Or he could have his real family appear in video and print ads, but use Photoshop and Final Cut Pro to change their skin color. The fact that de Blasio has not taken any of these measures is extremely racist.
Sadly, it's now too late. de Blasio ignored my advice and acknowledged his family. Now, a more drastic measure is necessary. De Blasio must officially and legally divorce his wife and his children. I don't know how you do the second thing. But I'm sure there's a way. And he must stop pretending that racism still exists. (Doesn't he know who the President is!?) Then, and only then, will it be possible for him to win the hearts and minds of the bigots who feel so disrespected by him .