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NYPD: Heroes or Villains?


In additional to George Floyd’s horrific murder in itself, something else really bothered me. Prior to his murder, NYC was in full quarantine for 3 months; during this time, NYC has lauded the NYPD as “heroes” for being on the front line during Covid. They’re included in the “essential workers” we (used to) clap for at 7pm every evening.


The NYPD has been ravaged by Covid, with around 20% of them sick with the virus - just on a single day in April. 41 thus far have died of Covid. I live directly across from a precinct and since the pandemic started, I see my at least 1 masked cop peacefully watching our for my street 24/7. I’d frequently see locals paying their respects to these cops and thanking them for their services during the Pandemic.


All of that stopped almost immediately after George Floyd's murder. I arrived back to NYC from being out of town to find my street barricaded off with steel railings and handfuls of officers guarding each end of the block. They informed me that the precinct had been stormed with rioters and they’ve consistently received threats.


I understand the difference between peaceful protestors and rioters - and this is by NO means an attack on peaceful protestors. But the general vibe I feel in NYC across the board is that the NYPD basically went from heroes to villains overnight. What baffles me how people’s feelings about 1 group of people (the NYPD) can instantaneously shift to the opposite extreme because of the actions of another unrelated group (the 4 MN cops).

A few weeks ago in the The NY Times, I saw an opinion article titled “No More Money for the Police. Redirect it to emergency response programs that don’t kill black people.” Why are the NYPD being crucified for the sins of other people? Why has the 7PM clapping to honor ‘essential workers’, including doctors and nurses, stopped? Was the increased gratitude we’ve been expressing the past 3 months ever even genuine? Is this how the majority of the city really feels, or do they feel pressure to conform to the the popular narrative being driven by the media and celebrities on social media?


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