Police In Philadelphia and New York In Uproar Over Anti-Police Postings and Shootings

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A Philadelphia Fire Department paramedic is under fire for posting this picture with the caption: “Our real enemy.” The caption also said “Need 2 stop pointing guns at each other & at the ones that’s legally killing innocents.” Marcell Salters has also published highly antagonistic language toward police officers. He has since apologized but some have called for his punishment or termination. In the meantime, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is under attack after Ismaaiyl Brinsley effectively executed two police officers over his anger with the recent decisions by grand juries in Missouri and New York. police have been protesting what they view as de Blasio’s unfair portrayals of police after the decision, including turning their backs on the mayor when he came to give a press conference on the murders.

Salters

paramedic20n-4-webMarcell Salters has been denounced for his attack on officers who often protect paramedics at accident and crime scenes. In now deleted comments, Salters said that he “never did or will like police” and “[b]ecause of what i do i have to work with them but dont have to like them . . . There are numerous crooked & corrupted cops (mostly white) & mostly they harass, beat, or kill innocents (mostly blks).”

He has since apologized and posted the following: “I would like to deeply apologize to anyone i have offended. That post was out of anger of what is going on around the world (mike brown, eric garner & etc) & past experiences that i have had with the police. . . My intentions was not to slander or hurt anyone or my brothers in blue. Again i am sorry.”

I have previously written about concerns that public employees are increasingly being disciplined for actions in their private lives or views or associations outside of work. We have previously seen teachers (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here), here, here, students (here and here) and other public employees (here and here and here) fired for their private speech or conduct, including school employees fired for posing in magazines (here), appearing on television shows in bikinis (here), or having a career in the adult entertainment industry (here).

One different wrinkle is that Joseph Schulle, head of the firefighters’ union Local 22, said that Salters could be disciplined because he allegedly made a comment about the post while on duty. That creates a different context than many of the prior cases above where comments or postings were made entirely during off-hours or outside of public jobs. It is not clear what the comment was that is being isolated as a possible basis for discipline however.

I tend to view these cases from a first amendment perspective. I find Salters’ comments to be highly offensive and wrong. However, I do believe that he has a right to say them just as others have a right to denounced them. While such comments obviously make for tense working conditions, some of us believe that free speech requires bright-line rules of protection even for hateful speech like that of Marcell Salters.

The uproar of police in Philadelphia has joined an equal if not greater outcry of officers in New York.

_79873814_79873813Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, the killer of officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, had a history of violence and mental instability. He shot the officers as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday before he ran to a subway station and shot himself. Only hours earlier, he shot and wounded his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, at her home in Baltimore, Maryland. After shooting Thompson, Brinsley threatened on Instagram to kill police officers while referencing the New York and Missouri grand jury decisions: “They Take 1 of Ours… Let’s Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPEricGarner #RIPMike Brown. This May Be My Final Post.”

Before the murders, Brinsley reportedly struck up a conversation with two men. According to the police, he asked the men “for their gang affiliation; he asked them to follow him on Instagram; and then he says: ‘Watch what I’m going to do.'” That is when he walked past the patrol car, circled it and then crossed the street to come up behind the car. That is when he fired four bullets through the front passenger window, killing the officers.

Police directed their anger in part at de Blasio who has been viewed as supporting the protests against police after the decision of the New York grand jury. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association even went as far as having officers to sign a petition calling for Mr de Blasio to be barred from attending their funerals if they were killed in the line of duty. There is also a growing racial rift over de Blasio’s policies. A poll last week found seventy percent of black people approved of the mayor’s performance while only 32 percent of white people supported him. Yet, he had received good polling numbers over his handling of protests following the decisions in New York and Missouri.

258 thoughts on “Police In Philadelphia and New York In Uproar Over Anti-Police Postings and Shootings”

  1. The killing of the two officers sitting at lunch in their police car for no reason was wrong. The pain felt by people for their death is no different than the pain and grief felt by the loved ones of innocent people who are wrongfully killed by law enforcement. Before anyone condems my statement, let me explain. My son is a cop, he asked me if I had a problem with him becoming a cop before he took the job. His job gives him tremendous power he wields because of his badge, uniform and deadly weopenry he can bring to bear against a person. And I prey he thinks about that every time he arms himself for his daily duty’s. I told him I didn’t have a problem with his carrier choice since we come from a family of law enforcement. But I explained to him that he has a dangerous job but many jobs are very dangerous, heavy construction and other jobs are very dangerous. I said you must be 100 percent sure that you or someone’s life MUST be in no doubt jeopardy before deadly force can be used. My grandfather was a cop in the deep south during the racial problems this nation endured and the dangers and snap decisions he had to make daily. Grandfather told me he wore out three sets of handcuffs, was cut and dodged firey molatov cocktails thrown at him but he said ” I never used my service revolver once”. Police today are trained and have the mindset that’s its us or them, if you think you saw a gun or knife then shoot. The two seconds the cop took to access the danger before killing the 12 year old with a plastic toy gun was not enough time to make the correct decision. Plus guns are not illegal in our country. Most states have an open carry of firearms right that says a person carrying a gun in a non threatening manner must not be stopped, harrased or even spoken to. But all a police officer has to say after shooting a man, woman or child is that they thought their safety was in question and the cop is not even fired and is put right back on the beat again. So I think if a officer doesent have the smarts or the stones to find out what is really going on before they use deadly force, they should not dawn the garb of a peace officer in this great nation. But the two officers that were slain may be in part due to the actions of a few cops that put notions in the heads of the radical people llke the man that murdered the two officers in new York.

  2. Hehehe, chuckle, chuckle. OK now it’s getting funny. 😜 iPad Air2 is amazing. Well Hairydog, I’m off to run some errands, I’ll be back to try to ignore you later.

  3. Inga…my last remark regarding your style: just where have I suggested, to anyone, that my “permission” was required? I gave an opinion, based in part on Po@minutebol’s prior comment….which I thought was appropriate in both tenor and topic. It is solely in your imagination how that becomes a suggestion of “permission.”

  4. Inga…BTW, just what part of my very first sentence in my response to leejcaroll does not sound like an apology…what makes it “sort of?”

    … if I misread your remark, I’m sorry.

    Having read leejcaroll for a while now I am very certain she can respond on her own, without your herd tending. If I need to further expand my apology, I will.

  5. Eh, whatever. I should’ve went with my first instinct and ignored your comments. I have no desire to herd cats, dogs or humans. And thank you Aridog, that is exactly what I plan on doing, carrying on, with or without your ‘permission’.

  6. Recruit No. 9….good ole Inga, Allie Oop, Ingemouse, Annie, et al ad nauseum and I go back a ways. She has struggled mightily to reform me it appears, but I am just irredeemable. I am so sorry, yada yada.

  7. Inga…pardon moi…I am equally tired of pejorative names for anyone, left or right. For one reason; it excludes, and dismisses, those in the middle. You are among the most prevalent users of pejorative titles. As I said, do carry on. I check my mirror every day and I’d suggest (not “tell”) you do the same. I do realize it would be pointless, and I apologize for not living up to your expectations …. given you’ve tried to “deal with me”…oh, so thank you very much for that back handed dismissive. It must be hard, in your self appointed role, to herd all the cats on this board. I failed to realize your superiority.

  8. @Aridog:

    Note that the comment above was made by someone who tells people what she thinks they should believe. And what kind of medical insurance everyone should have.

  9. Aridog,
    Oh and before you misread my comment, the “sort of” refers to the “sort of” apology to LeeJ. Others that you are acquainted with, owe her an apology also, but I bet you give them a pass. That’s why I sigh.

  10. Aridog, you may be growing tired of hearing references to right wingers followed by a disparaging remark. I’m sure there are plenty of lefties here who are also tired of the daily disparagment of left wingers, but we have yet to hear you complain about that. So that is one of the reasons I sigh. I’ve tried to deal with you without rancor but you seem to think you have license to tell others how to behave without looking at that mirror you speak of. You did completely misread LeeJ’s comment and I’m glad you apologized…. Sort of.

  11. leejcaroll….if I misread your remark, I’m sorry. However, that specific sentence I cited did not follow a colon, at least on my screen…it followed a period. If your intent was to make it part of the prior sentence, then I misread it, due to the period preceding the citation, in the context you claim.

    I will stick to my appreciation of Po@minutebol‘s remark earlier. I think it is fairly obvious that Po & I don’t always agree, but what Po said was a simple truth clearly stated. I think it applies to all of us.

    Moving on, frankly I grow weary of the references to “right wingers”, “recruits”, et al that do nothing to further a discussion. In fact, those descriptors effectively dismiss anything those described that way have to say. Thus I took your stand alone sentence to mean you were describing your position. If I erred, I apologize.

    The solution for me, in terms of any discussion, here or elsewhere, from now on will be to scroll over any comment that uses a barely concealed pejorative reference. I am not among those who have applied them to the operator of this blog. In fact, he is a “liberal” in the same sense I was in my youth and still am on many issues. My inclination is to be a “Lockean” and a strict contitutionalist (not sure that is even a word). When I differ from Professor Turley it is a reason for me to pay attention and read his post carefully…doing that frequently alters my stance…because he is consistent to a fault. All said and done, Po said it far better than I seem to be able to do…which is why I cited those comments.

  12. Inga…you are hopeless and I give up. You answer my comment with “sigh?” By all means carry on.

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