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27 Oct, 2020 21:27

‘Double standard’ indeed: NYC police officer suspended for saying ‘Trump 2020’, but for cop crimes it's a whole different story

‘Double standard’ indeed: NYC police officer suspended for saying ‘Trump 2020’, but for cop crimes it's a whole different story

The New York Police Department has suspended an officer for blasting “Trump 2020” from his loudspeaker, triggering union rage over the “double standard” protecting cops who support BLM. And what about those who kill?

The Sergeants’ Benevolent Association skewered departmental bosses on Twitter over the suspension of a pro-Trump cop who’d used his squad car loudspeaker to briefly promote the president, lambasting the decision as “unnecessary & way over the top” on Sunday.

As the union pointed out, the NYPD’s own department chief Terence Monahan had “taken a knee” with Black Lives Matter protesters back in June, and “the NYPD has a history of officers making political & outside the norm statements & ignoring it.” The decision to suspend 70th Precinct officer Arthur Becerra without pay – a move that apparently took less than 24 hours to consider – had less to do with his actions than his opinions, the union implied.

Mocking Monahan’s closeness with Democratic politicians and “violent protesters who injured members of the NYPD,” the SBA made short work of his moral posturing. The union has made numerous public statements in support of President Trump, accusing the Democratic Party of “abandoning” police.

Becerra was caught on film on Saturday by two onlookers repeatedly stating “Trump 2020” over his squad car’s loudspeaker in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. At least one of them actively goaded Becerra, responding to the cop’s Trump cheerleading with “Go f*** yourself, you f***ing fascist.” The officer matter-of-factly repeated the slogan, daring the witness to “Take a picture, take a picture, take a video. Put it on YouTube, put it on Facebook. Have some fun…tough guy, tough guy.”

NYPD officers are forbidden from expressing political views, including, but not limited to, endorsing candidates, while on duty. Monahan and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea were quick to condemn the footage when it emerged, with Shea denouncing Becerra’s behavior as “one hundred percent unacceptable.” The rapid response to Becerra’s pro-Trump display offers a deep and troubling contrast to the NYPD’s response to serious crimes, however.

Accountability has long been an issue for the department, whose “bad apples” have historically been aided and abetted by police unions that protect them from prosecution. Mayor Bill de Blasio, elected on a promise to “fix” the department (among other things), has instead allowed many of the abuses of his predecessor Mike Bloomberg – who referred to the NYPD as his “own army” – to continue. Rather than dismantling Bloomberg’s “racist” policies, he brought back former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Bratton's controversial “broken windows” policing has been alternately credited with cleaning up New York under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and slammed for laying the groundwork for the racially-biased “stop and frisk” tactics that were only reined in following a judge’s order in 2014.

Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who strangled Eric Garner to death using a banned chokehold while supposedly trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes in 2014, wasn’t even suspended until August 2019, when an administrative judge suggested Pantaleo be fired for the killing. Instead, he spent five years pushing paper on desk duty, pulling down a six-figure salary as protesters demanded he be jailed for Garner’s murder.

The unions resolutely sided with Pantaleo, essentially blaming Garner for his own death – even though the asthmatic, obese 49-year-old was not visibly resisting arrest and (perhaps even more importantly) did not actually have untaxed cigarettes on his person when he was killed, though he was arrested for selling them in the past. Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Garner’s killing, later sued the city for allegedly exacting vengeance on him via spurious charges, questioning why Pantaleo was a free man while the person who’d documented the murder was locked up.

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The SBA and other NYPD unions have long opposed reform efforts, declaring nearly every move aimed at restraining departmental excesses to be an attack on police, usually by Democratic politicians, that will allow criminals to run wild in the streets.

On Tuesday, Trump called for Becerra to be allowed to return to work, pointing to the significant uptick in crime in the city since the start of 2020 – including a 279 percent increase in shootings that saw 53 New Yorkers injured by gunfire this week alone – and insisting the NYPD be allowed to do their job.

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