The cold-blooded murders of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have sparked a lot of hot takes, but perhaps none so bold and drastically wrong than the one offered by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who cast the blame squarely on "four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police." He said black leaders, in particular, have contributed to "an atmosphere of severe, strong anti-police hatred in certain communities."
Giuliani went out of his way to be clear that he's not blaming a handful of bad apples. He thinks the culprits are everyone protesting police misconduct everywhere.
"The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don't lead to violence — a lot of them lead to violence — all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad. The police are racist," said Giuliani. "That is completely wrong. Actually, the people who do the most for the black community in America are the police."
During his time as the mayor of New York, Giuliani was a staunch defender of police officers accused of brutality or excessive use of force. After an undercover police officer shot and killed an unarmed Patrick Dorismond after attempting to buy marijuana from him, for example, Giuliani publicly released Dorismond's sealed juvenile records to demonstrate that he was "no altar boy." (Dorismond was a literal altar boy.)
Needless to say, neither the president nor any major protest leader has claimed the police are all racist or said anything remotely resembling "everyone should hate the police."
But police union officials have reacted very negatively to efforts by Obama, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, and other politicians to acknowledge community concerns about police use of force. Among the public at large, the police are one of the most trusted institutions in America, so amplifying the wedge between high-profile Democrats and police organizations is a potentially useful political tactic for Republicans and one several have employed this weekend.
Hey Obama & de Blasio, since Ferguson & Garner, attacks on police officers are way up. Your words mattered. And now 2 cops dead.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) December 21, 2014