As you’ve probably already heard, last week former tennis star James Blake was blitzed by an NYPD plain clothes officer in front of his hotel, tackled to the ground, and left cuffed there bruised and cut.
The officer in question thought he was brutalizing someone who had committed credit card fraud. In itself, this would be quite a problem, as credit card fraud isn’t the kind of crime that typically results in an NYPD beatdown. Except that James Blake is black. He’s also, as it turns out, not even the suspect this officer was supposed to be looking for. He just happened to fit the description. The NYPD has since apologized to him, an apology that one would hope was met with narrowed eyes and a defiant chin.
But you’ll never guess who isn’t apologizing. Actually, you probably will, because it’s NYPD Patrolemen’s Benevolent (hah!) Association President Patrick Lynch, who penned a letter to the media covering the story. Let’s just see how much we can get through this before we stop pretending like we’re dealing with a sane person, shall we?
AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL OF THOSE
INCLINED TO JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS
And we’re off to a bad start. Jumping to conclusions isn’t the best description when there is public video of Blake getting tackled and the NYPD has already apologized. Oh well, on to the real meat of this gem.
To all arm-chair judges:
If you have never struggled with someone who is resisting arrest or who pulled a gun or knife on you when you approached them for breaking a law, then you are not qualified to judge the actions of police officers putting themselves in harm’s way for the public good.
And just like that, we’re done. I’ve embedded the rest of the letter below the post in case you want to read the whole thing, but you really probably shouldn’t. There isn’t much point in continuing to read something built on a premise that rests entirely on the logical fallacy of argument from authority. The very idea that anyone who hasn’t arrested an armed resistor ought be precluded from judging those who have is provably false. After all, there is no test of would-be judges that includes a screening to make sure they’ve experienced this. And they’re literally judges. Beyond the courts, the press has long been investigators into police misconduct, highlighting abuses. It’s their job, after all. And the public falls under the purview of our laws, which just so happen to apply to police as well. And those laws are built by the public’s representatives, so you best believe that the public has every right to judge public servants against those laws.
But according to Lynch’s amazingly stupid letter, this all goes out the window when it comes to the police. They have earned the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because danger, yo.
That is why no one should ever jump to an uninformed conclusion based upon a few seconds of video. Let all of the facts lead where they will, but police officers have earned the benefit of the doubt because of the dangers we routinely face.
Dangers like tennis players standing idly outside a hotel lobby? Do tell!
In any case, commentators appear to not be taking Lynch’s letter to heart. You really should read all of Ken Womble’s open letter in response to Lynch’s, but since I only made it through a couple of grafs of Lynch’s, we’ll keep this fair and include only the first paragraph of Womble’s response.
Sept. 16, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — Dear Pat,
I am in receipt of your letter entitled “An Open Letter To All Of Those Inclined To Jump To Conclusions.” First, allow me begin by making a point that I think is vitally important. Fuck you.
I agree. Fuck you, Pat. Fuck you very much.