R abble-rousing tax cheat and reverend Al Sharpton, a man with blood on his hands from Brooklyn to the Bronx, cannot be allowed to dictate NYPD policy. Mayor de Blasio never should have given the race-baiting charlatan a seat on a dais between himself and Commissioner Bill Bratton to publicly discuss policing.
There’s some worry, well reported Tuesday by DNAinfo, that de Blasio will soon have to pick whose side he’s on: Bratton’s or Sharpton’s, the law or the lawless — and that he’s likely to go with Sharpton.
The mayor on Wednesday called that claim “ludicrous, idiotic [and] inappropriate.” But what was really ludicrous, idiotic and inappropriate was putting Sharpton on the dais. That’s also one way to describe de Blasio’s failure to respond when Sharpton said the mayor’s own son could be another Eric Garner (Dante de Blasio doesn’t sell illegal cigarettes, doesn’t have a petty arrest record and presumably wouldn’t refuse an order from cops by telling them he’s had enough and “This ends now.” All that is true of the tragic Garner).
The black community needs advocates but deserves better ones than Sharpton, whose history here is dismal. He helped perpetrate the Tawana Brawley hoax. He helped spark the fatal anti-Semitic Crown Heights riot. He fueled the anti-Semitism in the Bronx that led to an arson that killed eight people. Sharpton was relatively quiet during the Bloomberg years, but here he is again, holding the city hostage to his whims and talking over the mayor because the death of one unwell man at the hands of police fits his anti-cop narrative and pro-crime stance.
Yes, it’s a pro-crime stance. Sharpton and his ilk want police to stop enforcing the law on relatively minor crimes and violations like selling loose cigarettes, panhandling, smoking pot and drinking in public, doing acrobatics for money in moving subway cars and who knows what else. They’re not proposing to legalize these things; they just want police to look the other way.
That’s something to address, sure, but not by ignoring illegal activity. The ongoing attack against broken windows theory policing, if successful, is likely to start dragging the city back to its lawless past. We’re already headed there a little because the city let it be known that suspicious people are no longer being stopped and frisked in high numbers. We can’t afford to let Sharpton and other anti-cop activists accelerate the process. That’s what really must end now.