AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

 

When most people think of the term “assault,” they’re thinking of someone being punched. However, in the eyes of the law, it’s pretty much any time you’re struck with much of anything. Tossing a milkshake on someone? That’s assault.

However, it seems there’s a new trend taking place where people hit police officers with buckets of water.

As you can see, a couple of police officers are being doused with buckets of water being thrown at them by civilians. At one point, as the officers are walking away, taking no action, a man runs up and dumps water directly on top of the head of one of the officers.

The video was highlighted by the NYPD Police Benevolent Association, the union that looks after these officers. The union made sure everyone who saw the video knew exactly why this was happening, and why the police were doing nothing about it.

“Our anti-cop lawmakers have gotten their wish: the NYPD is now frozen,” said NYC PBA. “It’s not the fault of these police officers. It’s the end result of the torrent of bad policies and anti-police rhetoric that has been streaming out of City Hall and Albany for years now.”

In another video, you can see an officer making an arrest as water is thrown on him.

At some point in time, an empty bucket is thrown at the officers head. The NYPD Chief of Police Terence Monahan spoke out against these actions by civilians.

“The videos of cops being doused with water and having objects hurled at them as they made an arrest in #Harlem is reprehensible,” tweeted Monahan. “NYC’s cops & communities have made remarkable progress — together — but EVERY New Yorker MUST show respect for our cops. They deserve nothing less.”

The problem, though, is that police have been under intense scrutiny for a couple of years now. Everything they do is judged and measured. If they act, they’re labeled as racists, misogynists, or whatever hateful label can be manufactured for the moment. If they don’t, they’re lazy and failing to live up to their responsibilities.

Now they’re being assaulted and they know that if they respond, they’ll be eviscerated in the press. “It was just water. It’s a harmless prank. There wasn’t any reason to arrest the guy.”

Except that it was assault. They are assaulting police officers.

However, there’s a side to this that the NYPD really needs to examine and see that they need to figure something out. You see, good police officers can often tolerate being painted by the broad brush used to paint the bad cops. They can deal with scorn and ridicule while doing their jobs, too. But if they’re going to be assaulted and humiliated like this, it’s just a matter of time before they start looking for other jobs.

It’s not like law enforcement is known as a lucrative career. People who are called to law enforcement–and I do think it’s a calling for most good officers–are in it to help people. However, if they’re going to deal with this, many will decide this is just a bridge too far for them. No one should have to deal with being assaulted and humiliated while working. Especially in such a high-risk occupation to begin with.

Either the NYPD deals with this and allows their officers to arrest those who commit these acts, then stand by them, or watch their best and brightest leave for jobs where they won’t have to deal with the abuse.