Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the police shootings

The one-time basketball star has become a thoughtful analyst of many elements of contemporary America and weighs in on the recent shootings of unarmed men by the police and the shooting death of two policemen in New York.

Those who are trying to connect the murders of the officers with the thousands of articulate and peaceful protestors across America are being deliberately misleading in a cynical and selfish effort to turn public sentiment against the protestors. This is the same strategy used when trying to lump in the violence and looting with the legitimate protestors, who have disavowed that behavior. They hope to misdirect public attention and emotion in order to stop the protests and the progressive changes that have already resulted. Shaming and blaming is a lot easier than addressing legitimate claims.

In a Dec. 21, 2014 article about the shooting, the Los Angeles Times referred to the New York City protests as “anti-police marches,” which is grossly inaccurate and illustrates the problem of perception the protestors are battling. The marches are meant to raise awareness of double standards, lack of adequate police candidate screening, and insufficient training that have resulted in unnecessary killings. Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is. Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. Bad apples, bad training, and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy. And any institution worth saving should want to eliminate them, too.

I have been appalled by the way that police unions around the country have been attacking elected officials and any other people who have had the temerity to criticize them. The attacks on the mayor of New York City have been particularly shameful and they have been encouraged by some politicians eager to pander to them. The police seem to think that they are above the law and untouchable.


  1. sailor1031 says

    And Fox claims their misrepresentation was an honest misinterpretation of what was being said. That is not even remotely credible for an instant. As for New York the Mayor, the city, the population have a real problem -- that police department is completely out of control and is quite unfit for purpose. The failure of the commissioner to control his department should be grounds for termination.

  2. smrnda says

    The police seem to think that they are above being criticized. Fire the whole lot for failing to serve the public.

  3. Glenn says

    This is alleged to be a nation of laws.
    And the hoodlums in blue operate under the misapprehension that they ARE the law.

  4. Bruce says

    Blaming the murder of the two policemen on protesters is illogical.
    While not completely appropriate, it would be more nearly appropriate to blame their deaths on two right-wing policies.
    One factor was Reagan’s decision to slash mental health care and treatment in the 1980’s. The shooter would have been appropriately treated and/or institutionalized under the prior Demoratic policies.
    Another factor was the high availability of guns. This didn’t happen with a hunting rifle or a kitchen knife, and he certainly couldn’t have done what he did with those. Enough said.

    So I’m not saying that this is a sad case of the chickens coming home to roost. But that would have been a more logical view than that of Fox or of the right-wing political activists in the NYPD.

    People with mental issues should be getting help before thing go so bad. And only police should have handguns. Is this position pro-police or anti-police? I think it is pro-police, even if some police people don’t understand it.

  5. thebookofdave says

    Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education

    Right on, Kareem! A workplace strike is not an attack on corporate owners and investors. An anti-war protest is not sedition or a poke in the eye of our troops. A demonstration at a Planned Parenthood clinic is not a sabotage of the rights of underprivileged wo…OK, bad example.

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