“Our backs have turned to you”

You have got to be kidding.

Ex-NYC-cop and blogger John Cardillo has a message for us:

Late last night I was contacted by a coalition of NYPD cops, Detectives, and supervisors hundreds strong and asked to disseminate the following statement on their behalf. They requested I wait until after the plane towing a banner which reads “DE BLASIO, OUR BACKS HAVE TURNED TO YOU” was airborne.

At 08:50 I received word that the plane was in the air and asked to release the statement and photo below.

The plane was in the air, towing a message to all of us:


As a large and unified group of current and retired NYC Police Officers, Detectives, & Supervisors, we are outraged by the mayor’s incendiary rhetoric, and for facilitating the current hostile climate towards the NYPD. We understand that the department and even our own unions can only go so far in their public condemnation of the mayor as to not irreparably damage the working relationship with the city, or future contract negotiations.

It is our opinion that Mayor deBlasio’s dangerous and irresponsible comments about his and his wife’s concern for their son’s safety at the hands of the NYPD fueled the flames that led to civil unrest, and potentially to the deaths of PO Wenjian Liu and PO Rafael Ramos, as well as the continued threats against NYPD personnel. The Mayor shows us no respect, and encourages the public to follow his lead.

We no longer have confidence in Mayor deBlasio, nor in his ability to lead New York City and promote the values that both the NYPD and the good law abiding citizens of the city hold dear. Mayor deBlasio turned his back on us long before we turned our backs on him.

That’s their message to us. Nothing about the killing of Eric Garner, just sympathy for themselves. Nothing about the need to be accountable to the people they boast of protecting, nothing about the need to use restraint and caution while they do their jobs, nothing about the responsibility they have to use those big guns they have with care.



  1. says

    Huh. Y’know, apart from the sheer chutzpah of this whole ‘let’s reverse the guilt’ gambit, this also seems a regrettable sort of image, in the context, dear NYPD PR brain trust.

    I mean, I’m just not sure, given the current picture I’m getting of the situation, that people are gonna see this gesture as repudiating so much as all-round safer.

    (News item… NYPD ‘turning their backs’…

    … Follow-up: Violent fatalities down 80 percent.)

  2. karmacat says

    A Baltimore cop blew the whistle on another cop’s criminal behavior. After that no other cop would help the whistle blowing cop. If the cops can’t blow the whistle on other cops, then they need to shut about outside criticism

  3. smrnda says

    Apparently, it is not permitted to criticize the police. Nice to know.

    On top of that, apparently when a bunch of Black people end up getting killed by cops, it’s beyond the pale to suggest that some kind of institutionalized racism at work. But whether there’s any tangible link, the death of cops can always be blamed on any sort of criticism of the police, no proof necessary.

    It also seems that, for a group of people who demand our groveling respect for them doing a ‘dangerous job’ that the police feel entitled to greater safety and legal protections than the rest of us. Cops can flat out KILL people and it’s at worst an ‘oops’.

  4. khms says

    “You may have just recently turned your backs on the mayor. However, it has been a long, long time since you turned your back on those you are supposed to protect and serve.”

  5. Al Dente says

    Is Cardillo upset that a father told his black son to watch his ass around cops because they might blow it away? Michael Brown and Eric Garner are evidence that DeBlasio’s advice was reasonable.

  6. themann1086 says

    One of the aspects of this I am utterly baffled by is how eager the presumably-good cops* and their defenders are to excuse the behavior of the “bad apples”. I mean, when a member of “my” group does something bad, I get really damn angry at that person for making the rest of “us” look bad. I just don’t understand the impulse to defend the indefensible when it’s done by a “fellow cop” (or “fellow liberal” or “fellow skeptic” or “fellow gamer” or …) when I’m more inclined to do the opposite…

  7. themann1086 says

    Forgot to include the addendum above…

    *I’m assuming these actually are good cops and not actually covering their own asses for the sake of the argument

  8. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    @theMann- Yup. I’d add that when the Blue Line is so absolute that it prevents any accountability and tries to shut down any discussion of such, the bad/good apple distinction is meaningless. The good apples standing silent or protecting the bad apples, are also bad apples.

    FFS- DeBlasio is their boss, his comments were tame as hell and an obvious truth to anyone who has children of color, and We the People are the ones who are supposed to set the expectations and duties of the police to best serve us.

  9. Katydid says

    @Karmacat; the Baltimor cops did far worse than just sit passively by; they actively harassed to officer who spoke the truth.

  10. brett says

    You got to love how even their own black officers report getting harassed by white cops when they’re off-duty, yet they get ultra-defensive and shrill when the Mayor speaks about how he had to give the talk about the police to his black son.

  11. AMM says

    Does anyone know whether this message was actually pulled behind a plane? It looks like it was photoshopped.

    When I’ve messages behind a plane, they’ve usually been on a single banner, with the message printed on it. I’m not sure pulling a string of individual letter shapes would work very well — different letters would get pushed around in different ways, due to their odd shapes.

  12. 4ozofreason says

    The letters are on a netting. You can see the white line at the left where it attaches to the plane.

  13. komarov says

    Why did they use the passive voice?
    Why not, “We turn our backs to you?”

    Because obviously none of this is their fault. Clearly they didn’t have a choice. They were made to turn their backs. Those poor, poor coppers are being terrorised by their very own mayor. Truly, this a sad state of affairs.

    [/sarcasm] (except for the very last sentence)

    FFS- DeBlasio is their boss, his comments were tame as hell and an obvious truth to anyone who has children of color, and We the People are the ones who are supposed to set the expectations and duties of the police to best serve us.

    I’ve been wondering about this since I don’t really know how the police works in the US (or in my own country for that matter). My first thought reading this article was – in the mayor’s place – “Don’t want to work for me? Then get the hell out so I can hire somebody else!” Nothing is ever quite that simple, of course, and I assume firing a copper (or lots) can have additional politicial implications, too. But, in theory, would the mayor be able to replace some of the higher-ups with people who could then work on making the NYPD into a more functional and responsible organisation? “Under new management” is usually to be dreaded but can, on occasion, be a good thing.

    Regarding the other point, I vividly recall a youtube clip of Levar Burton on a talkshow or similiar telling the audience about having to teach his son how to handle traffic stops without getting in trouble simply for being black. That clip was my first introduction to these issues with police departments in the US. I think it is also a very powerful example because virtually anyone can find themselves in that situation, but perhaps few people have ever contemplated the possibility of being shot in the process.

  14. johnthedrunkard says

    We can’t ever know precisely, but in the future, policemen are going to be killed on duty because of the combative mind-set these fools are reinforcing.

  15. Onamission5 says

    Not only is the mayor the police force’s boss, but he was elected by the residents of NYC to both represent and serve the people’s interests. The NYPD may as well have flown a banner declaring that they have turned their backs on the interests of the people.

  16. Kate says

    Also, ending stop and frisk was a major campaign issue. So, it’s not even like he was elected to fix the schools and then switched focus to the police. He was chosen by voters in large part because he promised to reign in police overreach.

  17. ledasmom says

    So, even the tiniest suggestion that black people are more likely to be killed by police – even being a caring father and telling your son to be careful around police because you don’t want him to be killed – even suggesting that the killing of Eric Garner might not have have been entirely legitimate – is worse than actually killing Eric Garner.
    I suppose I have to give them credit for being honest; I hereby give them the tiniest amount of credit that exists, a quantum of credit.

  18. Decker says

    So, even the tiniest suggestion that black people are more likely to be killed by police – even being a caring father and telling your son to be careful around police because you don’t want him to be killed
    De Blasio’s father/son talk is really quite divorced from reality.

    Blacks constitute less than a quarter of New York’s population, yet commit nearly three quarters of the city’s murders. So were De Balsio pere to tell the truth, he’d have told his son to be more cautious around Blacks than around the police.

    De Blasio will be a one term wonder.

  19. kate says

    1.) Many police departments in the U.S. do not respect the constitutional rights of the people they serve. They expect immediate compliance with demands which they have no right to make and may get violent if one does not (or cannot) comply. This is not o.k.. Other people’s bad behavior does not make it o.k.. This problem should be addressed, even if there are other problems in the world.
    2.) Police treatment of African Americans is not in proportion to the crime rate. People of color who were stopped in NYC were much less likely to produce contraband than whites who were stopped (3.6% of stops of whites; 1% of stops of Latinos; .006% of stops of Blacks). http://www.motherjones.com/files/stop-frisk-outcomes-race-01.png This represents millions of people being stopped for no good reason. De Blasio was elected in large part to put an end to it. He did that. He was right to do that. Even if that is all he accomplishes, his election had a positive effect.
    3.) As long as African-Americans do not feel safe calling the police, interpersonal crime in their communities will be worse than in communities where people can trust police and expect to get justice through the criminal justice system.

  20. ledasmom says

    Even were your use of statistics correct, Decker, and I believe that to have been more-than-adequately covered by those more patient than I, you ignore this: the police exist for the people, not the people for the police. For a policeman or spokesman thereof to behave as if the very questioning of their actions is improper is for them to violate the conditions under which they hold power over their fellow citizens.

  21. says

    Blacks constitute less than a quarter of New York’s population, yet commit nearly three quarters of the city’s murders.

    Um…it’s a pretty basic principle of Western justice that police action needs to be based on probable cause against the individual — not against his race.

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