Good Cop, Bad Cop

Tommie Brown, Staff Writer

It has become tragically repetitive in New York City to see headlines announce yet another incident where the NYPD goes head to head with its city’s civilians of color.  But what happens when the villain becomes the victim?

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Tyrone Howard allegedly shot Officer Randolph Holder in the head in East Harlem during an attempted arrest. Howard, having struggled with a drug addiction since age thirteen, has seen the inside of jail cells 28 times. Due to his record only showing non-violent arrests, Howard was released from custody in the latest of his drug offenses earlier in the year based on a diversion program.

But on Sept. 1, Howard was back on NYPD’s wanted list for being the leading suspect in a string of violent crimes in East Harlem. Unfortunately, the first time the NYPD could get their hands on the criminal since the warrant was released was the night of the fatal shooting.

On Wednesday, Oct. 21 the Empire State Building glowed of that familiar NYPD blue in memory of the fallen officer. Tributes were paid the same day at the 9/11 memorial south reflecting pool.

Community leaders gathered together with locked arms on Thursday in the same spot Holder was killed while Holder’s family prepared to bury their loved one. But amidst the respectful acts made in honor of the officer, questions are arising about the lack of empathy New Yorkers may be showing towards the incident.

By pure coincidence, there was a protest march formed previous to Officer Holder’s death to walk the streets of Manhattan on Oct. 22 – 24 in anger towards police brutality and the continued rally of “Black Lives Matter.”

However, Holder’s family, as well as members of the NYPD, are showing much disdain for the seemingly inappropriate timing. Officers argued that this is the perfect example of how NYPD officers are villainized as a whole, ignoring the overall purpose and dangers of their careers devoted to running at danger in hopes to protect. Holder’s family protests that since Holder was an African-American, is the phrase “Black Lives Matter” all-inclusive, or simply conditional when the situation seems fitting?

Some protesters take side that this march was formed before Holder was murdered. Though they sympathize with the loss, the world never stopped during their mourning for family members killed by the NYPD, so in return won’t stop their lives when the tables are turned.

Regardless of which side you stand on, it seems that there is only tunnel vision when it comes to matters of this nature. The anger that ensues both sides of the fence masks the tragedy at hand. Two lives were lost – an innocent man honoring his badge, and a man born into addiction that refused to find his way who will likely see death in prison.

Protests aside, debates at pause, we should all stand united in this city that sees tragedy much too frequently and recognize no matter which side you defend, we have a detrimental problem.