I am part of the baby-boomer generation.
During the protests against the war in Vietnam and the general difficulties that faced the city of New York in the early 1970s, though quite young, I was aware of the constant complaint about “police brutality.”
I was a kid then and of course the cool thing was to be against the war and call police “pigs”.
The neighborhood where I grew up was considered tough – very tough. Ironically, it is now known as the Upper West Side.
I went and visited my old building not too long ago and found that where I had a rent-controlled apartment that cost $250 a month at the time had been changed to condos, with my old apartment going for a $1.5 million.
So certain things in New York City have changed, but obvious some things have not.
I was raised with a tremendous respect for the New York Police Department and at one time even considered becoming a cop.
While anti-war activists and race relations made their job difficult, all they ever did for me was good.
There were issues with race relations, violent crime and general disobedience. But I always believe the police were on my side. I can list numerous instances when they were called and showed up immediately.
I understand the dismay people have with the “broken windows theory” and the “stop and frisk” method of policing since it seems to some to be an extension of racial profiling. But crime is down in NYC for the first time in years.
I am dismayed that the police have been turning their back on the mayor of one of the world’s greatest cities as New York’s Finest mourned two of it’s own.
On the other hand, telling the public how he has told his multi-racial son to react to police doesn’t help.
Not since John Lindsay has the relations between police and the mayor been so bad. It is a shame, as Bill deBlasio was preceded by a list of strong, opinionated and diverse mayors. But they all had respect for the police.
And deBlasio is not helping his case. And note that few New York politicians of any party are standing beside him in support.
It’s a shame, especially when police-public relations have been in the news and the subject of demonstrations for months.
There has to be a solution.