The decision to fire Daniel Pantaleo was about Mayor de Blasio catering to far-left and minority voters during his near comical presidential run. Indeed, his actions as Mayor this term have all related to his campaign and not the welfare of and fiduciary responsibilities he has to the taxpayers and residents of New York City.
During the Democratic Presidential debate on July 31, Mayor de Blasio not only reminded the country about “the talk” he had to have with his son to fear police, but also promised that “justice will be done” within 30 days for the Garner family. Sure enough, as promised, the Mayor’s perception of justice was done on Aug. 19, when Daniel Pantaleo was fired nominally by Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
When the Commissioner was asked during the announcement if he received any pressure from City Hall, his response was that “there was pressure from all sides.” Certainly, he could have said a blanket “no.” The pressure of the one who has the ability to fire you would carry the most weight with most.
During O’Neill’s remarks, there was a huge disconnect between what he was saying and the final verdict to fire Pantaleo. He said as a cop for more than 30 years, “I may have made similar mistakes” in the same situation and pointed out how Garner “should’ve decided against resisting arrest.”
One of the arguments being increasingly made in 20/20 hindsight by those who support the Pantaleo firing is that when Garner resisted arrest, officers should have sat back and waited for back up. In fact, this argument was even made by Errol Louis, the news anchor of NY1’s Inside City Hall. He further justified this by saying police “knew where he lived” because of his history with the NYPD.
Using this logic, if one or two officers attempt to make an arrest and a person resists, the cops should just let him or her mosey on away because there is no back up.
We do not have a right to resist arrest by law enforcement, period. Imagine if we did — police would have to patrol in groups of five or six to ensure they have enough back up to make arrests.
Predictably, with the Pantaleo decision and the resulting emboldenment of police antagonists and legitimate hesitation by cops to act, viral videos of people resisting arrest have been seen over the past weeks. One recent instance shows a young African American male attempting to be arrested and but refusing to get in the cop car as an increasingly restless crowd gathers and pulls out their cell phones.
This is becoming the norm as officers know any bit of extra force to arrest someone will be scrutinized and City Hall will not be siding with them — and criminals are emboldened as they know the same thing. Is it really a surprise that arrests have declined 27 percent since Pantaleo was fired compared to the same period last year?
Even worse, for some there is not even fear of arrest as seen by those going right up to cops and dumping water or throwing Chinese food on them in recent weeks. Many who vociferously applauded the Pantaleo firing are silent on these acts against our police.
The de Blasio-inspired Pantaleo decision is the most glaring and recent example of the Mayor using his position to increase his progressive bona fides and appeal to far-left and minority national voters at the expense of our city. Here are just a few others:
• Proposing to dismantle the public school gifted programs in the name of desegregation.
• Giving free health care to illegal immigrants, projected to cost law abiding taxpayers $100 million.
• Allowing undocumented immigrants to enter the city taxpayer subsidized affordable housing program.
• Pushing a NYC “Green New Deal” limiting glass and steel in buildings that would drastically increase costs for owners, who already pay plenty of taxes. They must comply or face fines of over $1 million per year.
• Attempting to make us the first city in the United States to require private small businesses to provide paid vacation (2 weeks) to their employees that will only make it even more difficult for them to survive.
• Creating a Statues Committee to consider removing ones like Christopher Columbus and other monuments dedicated to those who are white.
It would be better if Mayor de Blasio just ran for president without implementing policies that will take New York City down along with his campaign.
Bill Bratton, who served as de Blasio’s Police Commissioner from 2014-2016, worried that we are at an “inflection point” with criminal justice reform. He told John Catsimatidis on his radio show “Cats at Night” last week on AM 970 that we are “going too far, too fast” on these reforms and must “be very careful” that we don’t “relapse” to the bad old days by reducing crime enforcement too much.
We should not let our city become another Baltimore or Chicago because Mayor de Blasio enjoys talking to corn farmers in Iowa rather than effectively governing the city he was elected to serve.
Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials. Follow him on Twitter @bobcapano.
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