Opinion: Why I support the 68th Precinct

Police officers from the 68th Precinct separate pro-cop protesters and Black Lives Matter protesters during dueling rallies on Sunday, July 12.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

On the evening of July 12, I witnessed the chaos brought to Bay Ridge by those protesting against our police. 

A rally in support of the NYPD, led by former State Senator Marty Golden, was quickly seized by counter-protesters as an opportunity to create confrontation and havoc on our normally quiet Bay Ridge streets. The stand-off took place up the block from the 68th Precinct on 65th Street and Fourth Avenue.  

The counter-protesters, some carrying “Black Lives Matter” and ‘FU-K the Police” signs, clearly came looking to create problems. For example, when the police asked Golden to back up his group to create more separation between the two sides, a majority of NYPD supporters promptly followed the request. However, many rabble-rousers moved forward as if to continue the close encounters and confrontations.

Golden and others had unknown beverages and substances thrown at them, our 68th Precinct cops had eggs flung at them as chants of “NYPD suck my di-k” echoed, American flags were burnt and senior citizens who had nothing to do with the protests were harassed.

Cops were forced to stand idly by as hostile protesters danced in their faces and directed constant profanity at them — all the while fires were set along Fifth Avenue.

All of this should make every decent New Yorkers’ blood boil. 

Watching the abuse cops take from these agitators up close makes me appreciate their service and restraint even more. It also makes me even angrier that Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Democrats have created this environment and emboldened these people with their policies and rhetoric.

Bay Ridge Democratic elected officials defended and supported the counter-protesters’ right to demonstrate. Though he denounced certain violent actions of protesters on both sides, Councilman Justin Brannan also tweeted that he reached out to the NYPD and the mayor to request “a full investigation” into 68th Precinct officers who were filmed Tasing a man. That man is said to have thrown a hard hat that injured a NYPD supporter. Of course, he asked for no such investigation into others who hurled objects, set fires, and harassed senior citizens.

Even more astoundingly, after protesters and counter-protesters clashed at a similar demonstration on July 11, Brannan blamed Republican elected officials and leaders for the friction. This is nuts — and State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus made similar statements.   

Some local Republicans now yearn for the days of Democrat Vincent Gentile in the City Council. It is hard to imagine him defending those that harass and abuse the men and women of the 68th Precinct.

I expect and hope that, as more neighborhoods directly see the antics of these folks (as Bay Ridge did), the more voters will say enough is enough and show Democrats the door in this coming election. 

Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials, and has been an adjunct political science professor for over 15 years. Follow him on twitter @bobcapano.