- Mike O’Meara, the president of the New York Police Benevolent Association, slammed legislators and reporters Tuesday for “vilifying” police officers.
- He pleaded with the public to stop treating officers like animals and thugs, demanding respect instead, among other remarks.
- Many noted that this is exactly how Black people have been treated for centuries and pointed to videos of police using excessive force against peaceful protesters.
- Others criticized the fact that white male officers were on display at the press conference when departments like the NYPD are actually much more diverse.
Comments Made at Press Conference
New York Police Benevolence Association President Mike O’Meara sparked outrage Tuesday after demanding that the public treat officers with more respect.
For more than two weeks now, people all around the world have been calling for justice over the killing of George Floyd. However, his death has also sparked larger conversations about systemic racism, police brutality, and the policies that protect officers. Because of this, public outrage against authorities has drastically increased, with many calling to defund or abolish the police, and people using phrases like “All Cops Are Bastards.”
Well, it seems like some officers in New York have had enough. On Tuesday, officials from 21 law enforcement unions held a press conference condemning what they called an “anti-police environment.”
But some of the most viral comments from that conference came from O’Meara, who started off by saying there are over 375 million interactions between officers and the public every year, which are usually met with “overwhelming positive responses.”
Despite that, he added, “I read in the papers all week, we all read in the papers, that in the black community, mothers are worried about their children getting home from school without being killed by a cop. What world are we living in? That doesn’t happen! It does not happen.”
“I am not Derek Chauvin. They are not him. He killed someone. We didn’t,” he added, referring to the officer charged with murdering Floyd after pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
“Everybody’s trying to shame us. The legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed about our profession,” he continued.
“Well, You know what?” O’Meara said while holding up his badge. “This isn’t stained by someone in Minneapolis. It’s still got a shine on it, and so do theirs.”
“Stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect. That’s what we’re here today to say. We’ve been left out of the conversation. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting.”
O’Meara went on to say that he doesn’t condone the actions of police officers in Minneapolis and added, “It’s not what we do. It’s not what police officers do.”
He closed by saying that he’s proud to be a cop and will continue to be until the day he retires.
As you can imagine, those comments were met with a ton of scrutiny from people who noted that this is how Black people have been treated for centuries. Some even pointed out that O’Meara essentially used the same exact language people of color used when talking about how they are treated.
Funny, POC could literally say the exact same thing word for word, and have been suffering from this for generations. Cry me a gd river.— Clever Pseudonym (@minimoogles) June 9, 2020
Others found his remarks frustrating given the amount of violence police used against peaceful protesters, especially within the state.
One of the most memorable incidents involved Buffalo police pushing an elderly man to the ground, which law enforcement initially described as him tripping and falling.
However, there is actually even more video evidence of police using excessive force in recent weeks. In fact, people online have been sharing a video with the audio from O’Meara’s speech placed over a supercut of those violent incidents.
It shows officers aggressively shoving protesters to the ground and one pulling someone’s face mask off to pepper spray them. It also includes several clips of officers beating people with their batons, repeatedly punching someone during an arrest, and other graphic videos.
On top of that, there was also criticism over the number of white officers on display at the press conference. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) even pointed that out in a tweet saying, “Any New Yorker can tell you that this group does not look representative of the NYPD at all. Most NYPD patrol officers are Black, Latino, or Asian American – and the overall force is about 1/5 women. So what’s going on here?“
Those claims check out based on data charts from the city’s website, which show that 53% of NYPD officers are nonwhite and 18% identify as female.
So that led some to wonder if these comments were actually representative of the entire police force. Some even called it a display of white fragility, a term used to describe the discomfort and defensiveness of a white person when confronted with information about racial inequality and injustice.
Looks like white fragility to me.— Molly Beane (@HeyMollyB) June 9, 2020
O’Meara Doubles Down
Even after all the backlash, O’Meara appeared on Fox News to double down on his comments. In an interview with Martha MacCallum, he against stressed that officers like Derek Chauvin are not the majority.
“We interact with the community at a very high level,” he added. “We’re social workers, we’re marriage counselors. We do everything that everybody else fails at. So we get involved in people’s lives at a very high level. And sometimes that gets emotional and sometimes it gets dangerous and sometimes it’s a bad situation. But the overwhelming majority of police officers and their interactions with the public are positive.“
“And we can’t keep saying that the police [are] systemic racist thugs that are out there. We are not. We are not.”
Ultimately, O’Meara said that Chauvin should go to jail for the rest of his life, but he added that police need to be a part of the conversation about race relations and reforms in law enforcement.
“You want to talk about how we can do our job better? We’d love to hear it…because we want to do our job better,” he said.
“We don’t want these situations where we have these tense atmosphere. All the members of the public and the members of the police. And we want to help fix it. But nobody’s talking to us. The only thing they’re doing is throwing stones at us. And you know what?… It’s hard for us.”
Those comments have also continued to generate a lot of backlash from people who feel like police really aren’t listening and are now trying to make themselves the victims of this larger social issue.
See what others are saying: (The Hill) (Fox News) (RealClearPolitics)
Donald Trump and Eldest Three Children Hit With Fraud Lawsuit From New York AG
AG Letitia James says that the former president “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself.”
Lawsuit Filed Against Trump
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that she filed a civil lawsuit against former president Donald Trump and his three eldest children over allegations that they fraudulently inflated asset valuations within the Trump Organization.
Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all listed alongside their father in the lawsuit. Executives Jeffrey McConney and Allen Weisselberg, the latter of whom recently pled guilty to tax crimes, are also listed alongside other Trump businesses.
“Donald Trump, with the help of his children…and senior executives at the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums, and to gain tax benefits, among other things,” a press release announcing the lawsuit claimed.
The Attorney General’s office claims that between 2011 and 2021, Trump and the Trump Organization made 200 false and misleading claims about asset values on annual financial statements.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
“The complaint demonstrates that Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us,” James said while announcing the complaint.
Her office is seeking to permanently ban Trump and his children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation and to bar Trump and his organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years. The office is also seeking to recover $250 million in penalty payments, among other forms of relief.
The Office of the Attorney General has also referred the matter to the federal attorneys in New York and to the IRS for criminal investigation.
“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans,” James added in a statement on social media.
“Trump’s crimes are not victimless,” she continued. “When the well-connected and powerful break the law to get more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources available to working people, small businesses, and taxpayers.”
Trump Allegedly Inflated Key Assets
According to James’ release, Trump “made known through Mr. Weisselberg that he wanted his net worth on his statements to increase every year.”
“And the statements were the vehicle by which his net worth was fraudulently inflated by billions of dollars year after year,” the release continued.
Among the assets Trump and his organization allegedly inflated was the Trump Tower Triplex, an apartment Trump allegedly claimed was 30,000 square feet when it is just around 11,000 square feet. Because of its ballooned size, the property was valued at $327 million in 2015, roughly three times as much as the sole apartment in New York City to ever sell for over $100 million at the time.
For further comparison, the highest sale for a listing in Trump Tower at the time was only $16 million.
Trump also allegedly claimed Mar-a-Lago was valued as high as $739 million based on the “false premise” that the property could be developed and sold for residential use. The lawsuit claims that Trump actually signed deeds donating those rights, limiting the property’s use to a social club. James and her office claim its value would fall closer to $75 million.
Inflated Clauations Cannot Be “Excused”
“The inflated asset valuations in the Statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration or good faith estimation about which reasonable real estate professionals may differ,” the lawsuit states, adding that instead, they are the result of improper methodology intentionally meant to falsely boost Trump’s net worth.
The investigation into Trump’s alleged fraud began nearly three years ago, and the former president has repeatedly called it a politically motivated witch hunt. His attorney, Alina Habba, doubled down on that rhetoric in a statement Wednesday.
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” Habba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”
For his part, Trump has blasted the lawsuit on Truth Social, calling James a “fraud” and a “crime-fighting disaster.”
Trump previously tried to impede the probe but was ultimately ordered by a judge to sit for a deposition and turn over subpoenaed documents. Reports say he pled the fifth hundreds of times during his deposition.
See what others are saying: (Bloomberg) (The Washington Post) (Reuters)
Hurricane Fiona Causes “Catastrophic” Damage in Puerto Rico, Leaving Many Without Power
While power has been restored to some, more than a million remain without it as continued rainfall, flooding, and landslides are expected to cause further damage across the island.
Hurricane Fiona Wreaks Havoc
Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico Sunday, bringing heavy rains, flooding, and landslides, while also knocking out power for the entire island and killing at least one person.
Photos and videos posted on social media show floodwaters consuming major streets and engulfing cars. Some pictures show an entire bridge flooded, making it impassible. Other footage shows a different bridge entirely uprooted and a metal barrier ripped away from the road and floating down a river of floodwater.
Officials have said conditions are still too dangerous to fully evaluate the extent of the crisis. In remarks to the public, Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, described the damage as “catastrophic.”
He asserted that the storm has been one of the most significant since Hurricane Maria — which hit the island almost exactly 5 years ago to the day — killing more than 3,000 people, leaving many without power for months, and causing destruction that the island is still recovering from.
Pierluisi noted that Puerto Rico has received over 30 inches of rain and that some areas have even gotten more rain than during Hurricane Maria. As of Monday afternoon, the National Gaurd has led 30 rescue operations so far, saving more than 1,000 stranded residents in 25 municipalities, according to the governor.
Pierluisi also added that more than 2,000 people were in the island’s 128 shelters, with officials further saying there is plenty of shelter space for those who need it. On Sunday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, which will allow federal agencies to coordinate disaster relief.
Continued Issues As Storm Rages On
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s water authority has confirmed that just over 70% of the island is still without water. According to poweroutage.us, more than 1.3 million customers were still without power as of Monday morning.
The power company LUMA also stated that electricity had been restored to around 100,000 customers over the course of Sunday night, though it previously warned that the full restoration of power could take several days as the storm has created “incredibly challenging” conditions.
While Hurricane Fiona has passed through Puerto Rico, having now made landfall in the Dominican Republic, officials and experts say that heavy rains and further flooding are still to be expected for the next few days.
The National Weather Service has warned that “life-threatening and catastrophic flooding” as well as mudslides and landslides are expected to continue across the island. As a result, Pierluisi has urged Puerto Ricans Monday to remain home and in shelters so that officials can continue to respond to others in need.
He also noted that the areas most impacted by the hurricane include the southern part of the island, the southwest, and the mountains.
After moving through the Dominican Republic, Hurricane Fiona is expected to head towards Turks and Caicos Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center has said that the storm will continue to grow and by Wednesday, it is set to become a major hurricane — which means a Category 3 or higher.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (CNN)
Government Aid Cut Child Poverty in Half During Pandemic, Data Shows
The reduction occurred similarly across geography, race, family type, and citizenship status.
Largest Drop in Half a Century
The United States’s child poverty rate sank to the lowest level on record last year, primarily thanks to pandemic relief measures and other government programs, according to an analysis of census data released Tuesday.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s supplementary poverty measure, which accounts for safety net programs and tax credits as well as regional differences in the cost of living.
From around 11% in 2019, the percentage of kids living below the poverty line fell to 9.7% in 2020 and 5.2% the year after that.
In just two years, nearly 5.5 million kids were lifted from poverty, marking an almost 60% drop in the child poverty rate.
The Center’s researchers gave most credit to the federal government’s numerous interventions in the economy, from stimulus payments and the expanded child tax credit to eviction moratoriums and expanded unemployment insurance.
Without government intervention, poverty in 2020 would have experienced its second-largest recorded increase, the Center claimed, but instead, it underwent the largest single-year decline in over half a century.
Especially impactful was the expanded child tax credit, which sent up to $300 per child to households with children every month between July and December 2021.
According to the analysis, this policy alone pulled nearly three million kids out of poverty.
But the tax credit’s expansion expired at the end of the year despite Democrats’ efforts to prolong it with Biden’s signature Build Back Better bill, which was blocked by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who reportedly told colleagues he was concerned that families might use the payments to buy drugs.
Poverty Before COVID
Child poverty has fallen by 59% since 1993, when it sat at around 28%, according to another analysis published Sunday by The New York Times and the nonpartisan group Child Trends.
They found that the decline occurred across all 50 states and D.C., as well as in different levels of poverty.
It similarly affected nearly all subgroups of children, — white, Black, Asian and Hispanic, single-parent and two-parent, immigrant and non-immigrant.
The causes driving the pre-pandemic decline included general economic improvement — low unemployment, a higher labor force participation rate among single mothers, and growing state minimum wages — but the researchers pinned government welfare programs as the dominant factor.
They specifically mentioned the earned income tax credit, social security, unemployment insurance, and nutrition and housing assistance.
Despite the positive trend, more than eight million children still live below the poverty line, and that number excludes those who live just above it but still struggle to meet basic needs.
The current poverty line sits around $29,000 for a family of four in a location with typical living costs.
Moreover, disparities still persist, with Black and Latino children about three times as likely as their white peers to be poor.