Slamming the New York Police Department for its stop-and-frisk policy has been something of a favored sport by the left this summer. So imagine my pleasant surprise to find a positive piece about New York's finest at the Daily Beast this morning.
"Thank the Cops" read a teaser headline in the lightbox dominating the top left column of the page. "They may not have gotten any love at the VMAs, but if the cops hadn't cleaned up that crime-ridden block in Brooklyn, there would have been no red carpet" for the MTV awards program, added an editorial caption. Writer Michael Daly explained not only how smart policing helped "save the city" but reminded readers that dedicated NYPD officers in the 1950s helped save Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and with it, the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech that followed five years later:
Where the blood of shooting victims once stained the pavement, there was now the red carpet of the MTV Video Music Awards.
And as everybody from Justin Timberlake to Taylor Swift to naughty Miley Cyrus strode across into the new Barclays Center on Sunday evening, the camera flashes were from paparazzi rather than from crime-scene photographers.
But the real stars were the cops who have transformed New York into the safest big city in America and turned this once crime-ridden corner of Brooklyn into the venue where more tickets are sold than at any other place in America.
Yet instead of being honored for their remarkable achievement, the cops find themselves being accused of rampant racial profiling and gross violations of civil rights with aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics.
The implication is that they are a bunch of racists out there trampling on the very Constitution they swore to uphold. The truth is that even the plaintiffs in the federal suit against the NYPD acknowledge that 90 percent of the stops were justified. And at least some of the excesses among the other 10 percent have been the result of bosses who have become obsessed with numbers.
One indisputable fact is that the cops saved the city. And scarcely anybody seems to feel obliged to thank them. Were they not the cops they are, they might just let the city slide back into bloody mayhem. But word that somebody is in distress will still bring them running, propelled by what a veteran cop on Monday described as the main reason most of them join the NYPD in the first place.
“To help people,” he said.
As we mark the 50th anniversary of the great March on Washington, it is worth remembering that there would have been no march at all, had two New York City cops not saved the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. after a deranged woman plunged a letter opener into his chest. The sharpened point was a fraction of an inch from the great man’s aorta, and he almost certainly would have died that day in 1958 if police officers Phil Romano and Al Howard had not stopped a panicked onlooker from attempting to extract the blade. The cops gingerly transported King to a hospital, rightly guessing that the slightest jostle could have proved fatal.
Afterward, King and his wife did thank the cops for saving him. Romano and Howard said they were just doing what cops are supposed to do.
No matter how you feel about stop-and-frisk, anybody who even visits New York owes two words to the cops who made the city so safe, there is a red carpet on a stretch of Brooklyn pavement that was more than once stained red with the blood of shooting victims. I join in saying those words as someone who once had a guy with a knife try to stab me at that very corner.