Hold Your Nose, If Necessary
by Geraldo Rivera | Oct 27, 2015
Reverend Al Sharpton was invited to speak at the funeral of slain NYPD officer Randolph Holder Wednesday. The invitation was extended by Officer Holder’s father, Randolph Holder Sr., himself a cop in his native Guyana. But late yesterday, the murdered cop’s fiancé announced she opposes Sharpton’s address. Many city cops are also unhappy with the invitation since Sharpton has been a prime mover in leading protest marches and rallies alleging police racism and brutality.
But here is my point. Although he is a deeply divisive figure, the Reverend Al Sharpton would be an appropriate speaker, if the family is united in the request.
Hate Sharpton or love him, there is little doubt that he is the cities and perhaps the country’s pre-eminent civil rights leader.
As the FBI director James Comey recently said, a dangerous schism is emerging, dividing the urban communities from the law enforcement professionals sworn to protect them.
Comey even suggests that a kind of nationwide Blue Flu has infected thousands of cops across the land. His premise is that cops are now disgusted, repulsed, concerned and put off by the negative community reaction to their efforts. With activists and others so wired digitally, everything every cop does has the potential of going viral. Cops, therefore, are now not doing their best, most aggressive community policing to stem crimes for fear of a career ending incident.
As a result of the new Blue Flu, we are seeing sharp spikes in violent crime as in Chicago, up 19% from a year ago, to Baltimore, up by more than half over the same period a year ago.
That’s why Sharpton can make a difference. He can begin the dialogue necessary to re-establish the essential relationship between cops and the communities they are sworn to protect and to serve.
Forget how you personally feel about the Reverend Al. Hold your nose, if necessary. But doesn’t it make more sense to have someone like Sharpton taking a lead position than to have someone the community doesn’t care about or listen to making speeches that fall on deaf ears?