Bill de Blasio Has Failed the Test of This Moment

New York’s mayor has floundered in the face of stunning police violence—just like so many other mayors who aren’t prepared to rein in the cops.

By Elie Mystal

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Read the full article from The Nation, here.

Protests over the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and decades of racist police violence are raging across the country—and in city after city. In response, cops are destroying property. Cops are beating citizens. Cops are driving their cop cars into crowds of people and shooting at and arresting members of the media. Cops, the people in this situation with training and guns, are finding ways to escalate the tension they’re supposed to be trying to quell.

Some states, notably Minnesota, have called in the National Guard, I guess because simply arresting the cops and accomplices who committed murder on camera is too easy. But in most of the country, local governments are still in charge. Policing is among the most basic functions of local government. Our president, last seen hiding in a bunker and trying to start a race war on Twitter, is not the civilian in charge of the cops. Our mayors are.

And for the most part, our mayors are failing. Our police commissioners are failing. When a protester (or white nationalist infiltrator) sets fire to a business, that’s a crime against property. When a police officer opens his car door to whack a protester as the car speeds by, that’s state-sponsored terrorism. When you see a mayor or local official bemoan the damage to the business but ignore the attempted vehicular homicide, what you are seeing is a failure. It’s a failure of government at its most basic level.