Here is part of what I wrote earlier this month following the decision of the grand jury in Staten Island not to indict Officer Steven Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner:
However, what concerns me is the increasing public perception, right or wrong, that the police are above the law. I fear that it is only a matter of time that someone will try to remedy this point of view by taking the law into their own hands. I’m not talking about the kind of violence we’ve seen in Ferguson. Rather, I believe that someone might make a point of randomly killing police officers as an act of retribution. Such acts are, of course, heinous and will only make matters worse. Chances are the very police officers that would be targeted are likely the ones who are the most exemplary in their conduct. Yet if enough people come to believe that law enforcement can behave with impunity then, sooner or later, someone (and possibly a group of people) will mete out a justice of the most perverse kind.
My worst fears have come to pass. This afternoon two NYPD officers were ambushed in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The gunman then took his own life.
Hours earlier the gunman had posted a message on Instagram that he would put “wings on pigs” in apparent retaliation for the grand jury verdicts in both Staten Island and Ferguson.
Scarcely a week ago, anti-NYPD protesters chanted, “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now.”
Well, somebody took them up on their suggestion. Those protesters have blood on their hands.
I fear this won’t be the last we see of this kind of violence against police officers.
UPDATE: When NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio showed up for a press conference, NYPD who were present turned their backs on him. Given that de Blasio turned their backs on them, it is an appropriate response.
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