President Barack Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio should start defending the police, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) stressed Monday.
“This is an absolute tragedy and I think it’s important that the mayor and all the officials in New York City start defending the police, stop the overheated rhetoric attacking the police which for the last four months — actually for the last year and a half under Bill de Blasio as a candidate then as mayor — created a chasm between the police and the African-American community, the minority community if you will,” King said on Fox News “America’s Newsroom,” reacting to the recent murder of two NYPD officers.
King, whose father was a police officer, argued that two years prior to de Blasio’s election, the NYPD had a high favorability rating among African Americans and that it has been de Blasio who has served to create tension by attempting to “demonize the police.”
He added that such rhetoric is what “sets off the fringe characters in society.”
“This climate that the mayor is creating, it’s not intentional on his part, but the reality is it’s there, this climate I believe is attracting the madmen in society and also is giving a legitimacy to violent protesters,” King explained.
The New York Republican continued, saying it is important, as a means of “healing” the racial divide, for the president and mayor to begin praising the police.
“Say, the police have done more to save minority lives than anyone in this country. The police do a phenomenal job under tough circumstances. Yes there can be improvement. There also has to be then improvement among the leaders in the minority communities. How they can come forward and give credit to the police and say here is what our community has to do to reach out better,” King said.
He added that the onus for change should not only be on the shoulders of the police.
“The president says we have to have a conversation on race and then he says it’s up to the police to change their tactics and their methods, implying that the police are the ones who are always wrong. When overwhelmingly it is the police who are right,” he added.
King further took issue with Obama and de Blasio’s response to the verdict in the Staten Island death of Eric Garner — who was killed at the hands of a cop who was not charged with Garner’s murder.
“Whatever was right or wrong about Staten Island it was wrong for the mayor and the president to imply that somehow this involved race, that this was part of some endemic racism in the police department and society,” he stressed. “There is enough racism in the world on all sides in the world including our country but let’s not demonize the police in making them at fault for all the evils that plagues society.”