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Jimmy O'Neill's Learning Curve

July 17, 2017

Was the killing of Officer Miosotis Familia a watershed moment for NYPD Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill?

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialReferring to Alexander Bonds, the black man with mental health issues and a violent past who shot Familia in her marked RV-like command post vehicle in the Bronx, O’Neill said during his eulogy of her: “The coward who committed this atrocity did not walk down the street after midnight and shoot just anybody. He shot a cop. Mental illness and medication may have played a part, I don’t know. What is certain, however, is that he hated the police. He saw us as the bad guys because countless times he heard it in conversation, saw it on television, read it in the newspapers. Combine that toxic blend with his special brand of evil, and you get this funeral. …”

O’Neill may have sounded like a hard-liner, but he is not. In fact, at his swearing-in ceremony at Police Plaza nearly a year ago, NYC first lady Chirlane McCray, quoting his son, described O’Neill as a “chronic do-gooder.”

As commissioner, he is attempting to re-engage the police with the city’s black communities through what he is calling “neighborhood policing,” a policy abandoned by Ray Kelly as “community policing” and disparaged by Rudy Giuliani as “social work.” Mayor Bill de Blasio has, albeit hyperbolically, called O’Neill’s approach “the most significant reorganization of police patrol in 50 years.”

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialYet his eulogy of Familia indicted the anti-police culture that exists in many black neighborhoods — “He saw us as the bad guys because countless times he heard it in conversation”— and among many white liberals, as well as in the media, which is often too quick to blame police in confrontations with African Americans.

O’Neill himself has been guilty of this. In his first month in office, he blamed a sergeant in the fatal shooting of a mentally disturbed black woman in the Bronx before the investigation was completed. Police said the woman had attacked the sergeant with a baseball bat. He was later charged with second-degree, or intentional, murder.

We’re four decades past the Black Liberation Army, which assassinated police officers as part of a political agenda. Now we have individuals like Bonds, often with mental illness, acting alone and justifying their actions as retaliation for past grievances. In 2014, a black man from Baltimore came to NYC and fatally shot officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in their patrol car Brooklyn, ostensibly in retaliation for the deaths of black men by police.

As O’Neill put it at Familia’s funeral service: “All her killer could see was a uniform. …He blamed the police for his own terrible choices in life. …”

He added: “Here are the numbers we don’t talk about nearly enough. Miosotis is our seventh cop to be shot and killed in just the last five years. … Across our nation, 135 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year, the sharpest spike in the last five years. …

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard Levitt“Little attention is paid to positive changes in policing in general and in this police department in particular, no matter how effective they may be.” But, he added, “only a tiny handful of our actions make the news. … Because, that’s what sells newspapers, those are the ones that define us. …

“I don’t know how else to say it. This was an act of hate in this case against police officers. … Miosotis was targeted, ambushed and assassinated. She wasn’t given a chance to defend herself. That should matter to every single person who can hear my voice in New York City and beyond.”

For those lamenting the overturn of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption conviction, don’t despair. The feds of the Southern District will bleed him. They’ll try him again. And if they lose, probably again.

There is precedent for this. Back in the day, then the-U.S.Attorney for the Southern District Robert Morgenthau tried his longtime nemesis, Roy Cohn, three times. He lost all three.

Even if the feds never convict Silver, his trials will cost him millions. For Silver, isn’t money what it’s all about?

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