New York City's police officers feel "demoralized and degraded" because Mayor Bill de Blasio is not supporting them, former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Newsmax TV
on Monday, saying the mayor has created an environment of violence in the city.
"First of all, they're grieving for the loss of their own" after the assassination-style deaths of on-duty officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, who were shot to death in their police cruiser in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, Kerik told "America's Forum" co-host John Bachman.
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But beyond that, police officers feel the mayor has abandoned them, Kerik said.
"They feel that the mayor has abandoned them, called them racist, said publicly that they target the minority communities, they harass people that don't need to be harassed," said Kerik. "This type of rhetoric has created this anti-cop, racist rhetoric, which is a lie."
Further, de Blasio's sentiment, which has included comments that he fears for the safety of his own biracial son because of the police, has led to the environment that resulted in the deaths of officers Liu and Ramos, Kerik said.
"That statement he made last week or a couple weeks ago where he said that the dangers his son may face, the dangers his son may face in encountering a New York City cop, that's insanity," said Kerik. "Why would you — I don't get it."
The stress and the anti-police rhetoric "has created this environment where we've had protests that have turned into riots, communities burnt down, cops assaulted and attacked, and most recently, two cops assassinated," Kerik said.
"If you're a cop out there in the streets of New York City, or anywhere in this nation, this rhetoric has impacted every cop in every community all over this country. If you're out there working today, you have to be fearful of the people that are listening to this rhetoric and want to go out there and kill cops."
After the shootings on Saturday, Kerik complained that the shootings
were ultimately encouraged by de Blasio and Al Sharpton and "all those who encouraged this anti-cop, racist mentality ... they have blood on their hands."
On Monday, Kerik questioned why Sharpton would "incite people ... when you know it's a lie."
The civil rights leader has to "know in his heart" that the officers of the NYPD are not racist, Kerik insisted.
"They don't go into minority communities to target minorities and harass minorities," he said. "They go into those communities because that's where the crime is and they're reducing crime by 80 percent, 85 percent, violent crime. Homicides in New York City are down 85 percent in those minority communities."
Further, Kerik said, Sharpton knows that 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this year spurred nationwide protests, did not have his hands up when he was shot.
"Al Sharpton knows that Michael Brown attacked that cop in Ferguson, that he tried to take his gun, that he resisted arrest and even after being shot that he came back and attacked the cop again and didn't stop until the cop repeatedly fired," said Kerik. "He knows that. So, he's perpetuating a lie and people are following that lie. They're listening to him and he's inciting them to do the things they've done."
Kerik called for Sharpton to "step away from the microphone, stop inciting, stop instigating, stop creating this anti-cop hatred and this racist rhetoric nonsense."
Mayor de Blasio can still start to heal the rift between himself and his police department
and the people of New York City, said Kerik.
"The first thing he has to do is tell the people of New York City the truth," he told Bachman.
"Tell the people of New York City that they don't have to fear the New York City police officers, that New York City police officers are not racist, that New York City police departments – the officers, when they go into those minority communities, they're going there to serve those communities and benefit those communities, not that they're going there to target, to harass or instigate problems with the minority communities."
Meanwhile, former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko, also on Monday's program,
said de Blasio's actions are a classic case study in how not to deal with the police department.
The mayor campaigned for office on an anti-police agenda, said Hosko, and matters have not improved.
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"I wish that there was a big reset button that we could hit as nation that de Blasio's hand would be on," said Hosko, and that would include a reset for Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama.
"For four months we have heard this discussion cast in terms of race and heavy-handed policing," said Hosko, who agrees that smart policing in New York and elsewhere has brought about a decline in violent crimes across the country in the past 20 years.
But he does not expect de Blasio to step down from office.
"I hope he steps back from some of the comments," said Hosko, noting he agrees with Kerik about the mayor's conversation with his son.
"That's a conversation every father has with his son, what to do when you encounter the police or when they pull you over," said Hosko. "That's every kid being a smart kid and thoughtful about how they engage with the police. It's respect for the police."
Kerik said he has known NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton for years, and he believes the police will follow him as a leader.
"Hopefully he stays on long enough to get this thing sorted out," said Kerik. Without Bratton, said Kerik, "there would be a mutiny," and officers need to feel they're being supported "because that is not what they're getting from the mayor."
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