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Jewish World Review Feb. 18, 2000 /12 Adar I, 5760

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter
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A liberal lynching -- WHEN THE SAME cop-hating demagogues now lynching four policeman in Albany, N.Y., show one-half as much self-righteous rage and hatred for the criminal predators in their midst as they do for the police, I will take their claims of terror at the sight of a policeman seriously. Somehow, it never works that way. The only criminals cop-haters despise are the (fortunately rare) ones who happen also to be cops.

That is not the case with the four New York City policemen on trial for murder right now: They were not criminals. They were good cops with lousy jobs that no one wants, but everyone needs. A couple of years ago, their jobs sent them to a dangerous neighborhood looking for a vicious and prolific rapist. He had struck 43 times over an eight-year period in predominantly black areas of the city.

While driving through the Bronx late that night, the cops spotted a man who fit the description of the serial rapist taken from police composites. They asked him to stop, which was, incidentally, well within constitutional strictures, even if they had the wrong guy. In fact, they did have the wrong guy -- it was an African immigrant named Amadou Diallo, with no history of trouble with the police.

In a horrible tragedy for all involved, the policemen mistakenly believed the man was not only was refusing to stop, but was reaching for a gun. When the closest officer in fell backward off a step, the other three believed he was under attack. In a matter of seconds, an innocent man was killed in a fusillade of bullets.

Much of the public was shocked at the number of rounds the policemen unleashed, but that is because much of the public gets its idea of how guns work from Hollywood. On TV, people are invariably killed dead with a single bullet, typically in a one-handed shot from the hip. If a policeman shoots more rounds than Clint Eastwood would have needed, people think he's using citizens for target practice.

In fact, it's easy to understand how four cops could have fired 41 times, especially if they thought Diallo was not only armed, but shooting back. Consider that 85 percent of people who get shot with a handgun survive. Even those who fall into the 15 percent category can usually get off deadly rounds before doing so.

When policemen are under fire, they have to shoot to stop the deadly attack. New York City policemen use 9-millimeter Glocks, which have small bullets, but also have a capacity for rapid fire. Four cops could have fired off 41 rounds in about five seconds. They may have had the wrong guy, but if they believed they were under fire, the number of rounds is hardly injudicious.

It is preposterous to imagine that this was anything but a tragic mistake. To suppose otherwise demands that one believe that all four cops decided to go out and commit a murder that night. One of them couldn't have decided to murder on his own: Even a criminal who happens also to be a policemen is unlikely to engage in murder in front of three other cops. One must also believe that having decided to murder for sport, that they opted to do so in public, and that they did not then bother to plant a weapon on their victim after the fact. If G-d Himself came down from heaven and told me these cops intentionally murdered Amadou Diallo knowing he was unarmed, I would not believe it.

Certainly, those sworn to uphold the law can sometimes be criminals, see, e.g., the president of the United States. So can ministers, gurus and Peace Corps volunteers. But for all four officers to have decided to commit a murder that night, you're not talking about one thug cop. You're talking about the Manson family on the New York City police force.

But Manson had a difficult childhood. He is even a cult hero to some. These guys are just cops. They can be lynched.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.


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