It's Time to Stop Demonizing the Police

New York Policeman
New York Policeman (Joi Ito/Flickr)

For the last few weeks I have been warning that the nationwide protests against police brutality have resulted in the demonizing of the police, as if cops in general have become the bad guys. Now, with reports that onlookers were "clapping and laughing" after the execution-style murder of two Brooklyn cops, those anti-police sentiments cannot be denied.

In my Dec. 15 article, "Can a White Man Speak to Black Americans?" I responded to those who have assured me that it is only the bad cops who are being criticized and that the protests have not stirred up wider, anti-police, anti-authority attitudes. To the contrary, I pointed out, "more and more policemen are fearing for their lives as they go about enforcing the law and doing their jobs, as protesters have even thrown rocks and explosives at them."

It turns out that those fears are now justified. After all, it was only one week ago that protesters marching in Al Sharpton's "Million Marchers" protest in New York City were chanting, "What Do We Want? Dead Cops! When Do We Want Them? Now!"

Where was the immediate, categorical, nation-wide condemnation of these chants?

As reported in the Daily Surge on Dec. 20, "one week later, NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down in their police vehicle execution style by an individual who bragged on Instagram that he was exacting revenge for Michael Brown and Eric Garner. ... Looks like the protestors got their wish."

But it gets uglier still.

According to the Daily Beast, "the scene outside Woodhull Hospital" where the slain officers were taken "wasn't entirely supportive. 'You're a bunch of killers,' a passerby told cops standing sentry there, according to one police source. And [a] short distance from the crime scene—where a crowd was backed up by the police tape—a few members of the crowd repeated '(expletive) the cops' within earshot of a Daily Beast reporter.

"One 30-year-old local who gave his first name only as Carlos, didn't hear the fatal gunfire but saw the hysteria afterwards and walked to the police tape.

"'A lot of people were clapping and laughing,' he said.

"Some were saying, 'They deserved it,' and another was shouting at the cops, 'Serves them right because you mistreat people!'" he said."

And in Ferguson, Missouri, "protesters chanted, 'Pigs in a blanket'" in response to the slaying of the New York cops, with one of the protesters, Basreem Masri, tweeting, "The police have no1 2blame but themselves4the cops getting murdered inNY."

This is utterly despicable.

Things have gotten to the point that New Jersey State PBA Executive Vice President Marc Kovar sent out an email Sunday morning urging all members and officers to "take extra caution and change up routines in the coming weeks," citing "heightened hostility from nationwide protests that he says has led to a 'fever pitch of anti-police sentiment.'"

That is the very point I have been making repeatedly—and for good reason. It is highly commendable that the families of Michael Brown (in Ferguson) and Eric Garner (in New York) issued immediate statements denouncing the violence and offering condolences to the slain officers' families. (They were prompted to do this because the New York cop killer said he was carrying out his murderous act as revenge for the deaths of Brown and Garner. They, for their part, did the right thing by distancing themselves from the murders.)

Of course, I understand that in many parts of America, anti-police sentiments already existed, and, to repeat yet again, there is often a reason for these sentiments. Wherever policemen are corrupt or the legal system is bankrupt, we must continue to confront these evils.

At the same time, from a biblical standpoint, policemen are God-appointed authorities entrusted with upholding the law, and it is sinful to call them "pigs" or to stir up hostile attitudes towards them.

This is not a matter of race or ethnicity. It is a matter of right and wrong, and with the blood of these slain cops still fresh, it is high time that we work together to put a stop to this demonizing of the police.

I fully recognize that this was absolutely not the intent of the peaceful protesters, yet the overall effects of

the protests can no longer be denied, which is why I have been raising so many concerns. (In the words of former New York City mayor Rudy Guliani, "We've had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police. I don't care how you want to describe it—that's what those protests are all about.")

And since I called on famous athletes to make pro-police statements along with their other statements of solidarity, I commend the New York Jets and the Brooklyn Nets for holding a moment of silence before their Sunday games this weekend. It's just a terrible, tragic shame that this moment of silence needed to be held at all.

We can draw attention to injustice and brutality without demonizing the men and women who risk their lives to keep all of us safe.

As expressed by Daniel Ramos, the 13-year-old son of the murdered officer, "Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad."

Michael Brown is author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of ConscienceYou can connect with him on Facebook at AskDrBrown or on Twitter at@drmichaellbrown.

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