So spoke an NYPD officer, quoted in the Guardian, after the murder of two NYPD officers by a man swearing vengeance for the deaths of Eric Garner and other black men at the hands of police.
Uh, yes, officer, we black civilians know about being afraid in our vehicles.
We black civilians know the fear of driving – and the fear of walking and riding and standing – very, very well. It has been taught to us, actually, by police. And by the decades of wrongful stops and arrests and deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement.
I have no doubt that the officer in question is mortally afraid. I can empathize with that. I wish that anguish on no one, and I wish that it were not so. I also know nothing of that particular officer's mind, heart, and behavior on the job.
But the spectacular irony here is that the NYPD as an armed organization, finding itself now as much a target as a targeter, is making like the world's biggest crybaby thug. The NYPD and its backers, in a move that political scholar Corey Robin chillingly warns is "Weimar-y", have managed to intimidate the city's mainstream political leaders and to shift the official tone from acknowledging civilian casualties to appeasing police power. They blame protestors for the rage that created the protests. They blame the new mayor for spilled police blood after decades of civilian bloodshed at the hands of police.
It is ironic for an armed force to grab at abusive power as it weeps for its own victimhood. But it is not new. And it is no joke.