As the dust seems to settle on our major cities, it would be easy to believe the simmering resentments and racial fires that stoked the riots had burned itself out. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen. While the looting and burning may be over, at least for now, the underlying hatreds are still as fresh as ever.
Because of that, it’s hard not to see the probability that three police officers may have been attacked due to that same resentment.
A New York City police officer was randomly attacked and stabbed in the neck late Wednesday while patrolling in Brooklyn, which resulted in a struggle that caused two additional officers to suffer gunshot wounds.
Police said at an early news conference Thursday that a preliminary investigation indicated a male suspect walked up to the officers casually and whipped out the knife. They said the officers involved had been assigned to an anti-looting post to prevent people from breaking into stores.
“That officer was stabbed in the left side of his neck, thank God, missing an artery,” New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
He called it a “completely cowardly, despicable, unprovoked attack on a defenseless police officer.”
Now, I’m not sure you can call an armed police officer “defenseless,” but the overall point is what matters here, and Shea is absolutely right. This attack was all of those things.
However, that officer wasn’t the only one injured.
Two additional officers were struck in the hand by gunfire during the incident, police said. They were rushed to Kings County Hospital and are expected to survive.
Nearby officers later heard the gunshots and responded to find the suspect brandishing a gun, which police said was likely taken from an officer. The suspect was shot multiple times at the scene later described by Shea as “chaotic.” He added that 22 shell casings were recovered following the incident.
Reading that, I was couldn’t help but recall the assassination of two NYPD officers in 2014.
That attack also came after a high-profile killing of a black man at the hands of a white officer, in particular, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. That one also came after days of rioting over the perceived injustice for the situation.
While there are profound differences between Michael Brown’s death and the George Floyd’s–for example, Brown was attacking the officer while Floyd was already cuffed–the real similarities are in how people feel about the situations.
Several days ago, I wrote that I was concerned that innocent police officers would be targeted. While it’s certainly possible this was just some unhinged individual looking to attack police for some completely unrelated reason, the smart money is on this being about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Unfortunately, that’s a damn shame, too. This isn’t the way to advance any kind of reasonable dialog. Terrorism–and if this was, indeed, politically motivated like that, it’s terrorism–is downright ineffective at swaying people’s opinions.
Bear in mind that this wasn’t even a “heat of the moment” kind of thing. This wasn’t someone who got carried away at a protest.
No, that would have been bad enough, but people get carried away. This was a targeted attack on NYPD officers, cops who had nothing to do with either George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The question now is whether this will be the end of it, or whether there will be more.