When Rudy Giuliani declared that Mayor Bill de Blasio allowed the Eric Garner protests to go too far, allowing protesters to take over the streets and "hurt police officers" he knew exactly what he was doing.
Thousands of off-duty police officers thronged around City Hall yesterday, swarming through police barricades to rally on the steps of the hall and blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge for nearly an hour in the most unruly and angry police demonstration in recent memory.
The 300 uniformed officers who were supposed to control the crowd did little or nothing to stop the protesters from jumping barricades, tramping on automobiles, mobbing the steps of City Hall or taking over the bridge. In some cases, the on-duty officers encouraged the protesters.
While the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association had called the rally to protest Mayor David N. Dinkins's proposal to create an independent civilian agency that would look into police misconduct, the huge turnout -- estimated by the Police Department at 10,000 protesters -- and the harsh emotional pitch reflected widespread anger among rank-and-file officers toward the Mayor for his handling of riots against the police in Washington Heights last July, his refusal to give them semiautomatic weapons and his appointment of an outside panel to investigate corruption.
"He never supports us on anything," said Officer Tara Fanning of the Midtown South Precinct, echoing the view of many in the crowd. "A cop shoots someone with a gun who's a drug dealer, and he goes and visits the family." Dinkins Denounces Protest
Mayor Dinkins, who was not at City Hall during the demonstration, denounced the protest as "bordering on hooliganism" and said he held the P.B.A. president, Phil Caruso, responsible for what happened. He accused Mr. Caruso of inciting his members' passions and suggested the union leader was motivated in part by contract negotiations.
The Mayor also assailed Rudolph W. Giuliani, the probable Republican mayoral candidate, who spoke out against the Mayor at the union rally. Mr. Dinkins said Mr. Giuliani had egged on the protest irresponsibly for political reasons. "He's clearly, clearly an opportunist," Mr. Dinkins said. "He's seizing upon a fragile circumstance in our city for his own political gain."↓ Story continues below ↓
Mr. Caruso conceded that the protesters who stormed the bridge had got out of hand. He said he did not sanction their actions, but he added that their anger was understandable and warned that the "administration better wake up to what's happening."
"The emotional level did get a little out of control, but sometimes if emotionalism is not evoked publicly, the responsible elements of the community do not listen," he said.
Mr. Giuliani called the Mayor's remarks "desperate and offensive." He denied he had harangued the crowd and said he did not condone demonstrators breaking the law. "The Mayor is dead wrong," he said. "What I attempted to do was to move them away from City Hall."
Bull. He knew exactly what he was doing then, as he does now.
And look at those demands the NYPD was putting out there. Semiautomatic weapons? Hissy fits over the requirement to be accountable? Police officers aren't the military. They don't need weapons that shoot down more people in a minute than could possibly be a threat.
The racism oozed then, just like it does now. It's time to clean it up.