Radley Balko’s defense of the Bronx Defenders would be laughable if it didn’t encourage epicly bad behavior.
Oh, what happen you say? Well, this happened:
Two taxpayer-funded New York defense attorneys (Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli) have sparked outrage after appearing in an online rap video that urges black people to kill police officers – and allowing it to be filmed in their offices.
The video, dubbed ‘Hands Up’, shows black men holding guns to the head of a white actor dressed as an NYPD cop, and features the lyric: ‘For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed‘.
It also depicts a grief-stricken mother walking into The Bronx Defenders’s offices on 161st Street, where she is comforted by an attorney. Another lawyer at the firm features later in the footage.
…In a report, the DOI said it had found the lawyers – Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli – had knowingly ‘participated in the video and allowed the organization’s offices to be used’ in the footage.
This is despite the taxpayer-funded professionals ‘knowing that it advocated the killing of police officers…
…Meanwhile, The Bronx Defenders’ executive director, Robin Steinberg, was found to have ‘failed to discipline the staff after learning of their conduct’ and lied to City officials during the inquiry.
DAAMMNNNN! There is no defense for this behavoir. None. “Actions” have been taken however:
Two Bronx Defenders attorneys have resigned and the organization’s executive director has been suspended after New York City officials demanded action upon learning that the two attorneys participated in a music video that advocated killing police officers.
…Steinberg’s suspension is effective Feb. 27. When she returns, Ward said she will be subject to a six-month period of “enhanced supervisory oversight and review.”
The board will retain Jason Lilien, a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder and a former bureau chief in the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.
Ward said Lilien will “conduct a complete review and advise the board on policy and governance reforms” to address the Department of Investigation’s findings.
Ward said the organization would also appoint a general counsel or chief compliance officer, as well as implementing new training.
New York City maybe satisfied, but…
Patrolmen’s Benevolence Association President Pat Lynch said the lawyers’ resignations weren’t enough.
“While it’s good that they are gone from the organization, that still does not account for the violation of their oaths as officers of the court,” Lynch said in a statement. “In our view, they should have been fired immediately, disbarred from practicing law and the city’s funding of Bronx Defenders withdrawn.”
What makes Radley Balko’s defense of Bronx Defenders so horrible, is that he doesn’t think the “Hands Up” rap video endorses violence against police. I dare you to watch that video* and come to another conclusion. They put a gun to a white actor’s (who is playing a NYPD Officer) head. Here are just some of the lyrics:
I spit that shit the streets got to feel
For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed
My lil’ homie told me he ready to riot
Ferguson was on his mind, he ready to fire
Yeah, what those lyrics’ mean is a mystery to no one but Balko. The reason Balko doesn’t want Bronx Defenders punished, is because…
…the Bronx Defenders are very, very good at what they do. They don’t just represent the indigent in court; they employ what they call a “holistic approach” to representation that includes social work, counseling and other services. The goal isn’t just to get charges dismissed or reduced, but to to actually help lift indigent clients out of the spiral of poverty and despair that can take hold once they become entangled in the criminal justice system.
…For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that the video above really does call for violence against cops. And let’s stipulate that the attorneys who appeared in it knew as much ahead of time**. Terminating the city’s contract with the Bronx Defenders would placate angry law enforcement groups and their supporters. But who would it punish? The Bronx Defenders staff are by all accounts talented attorneys. They’ll find jobs elsewhere. The people who will be punished are their indigent clients…
Actually, no. Their indigent clients will not be put in more danger because the NYPD no longer trusts the Bronx Defenders. Not because they had a brief bout of bad judgement**, but because the Bronx Defenders credibility has been shot to hell***. Balko thinks this is about the crime, but it is also about the cover-up and the lying. A quick look at Bronx Defenders’ twitter account shows they support NYPD accountability. When they lie and cover-up, accountability seems to go out the window. All is forgiven and all is forgotten.
Bronx Defenders’ EO and Founder Robin Steinberg thought she could lie to city officials, and to the public, and (yes) to police officers, all on TAX-PAYER dime! The good people of New york City paid the Bronx Defenders to turn around and lie to them. When will liberals and progressives going to realized that the tax-payer has had enough of our money being used against us?!
Enough! An example must be made of these tax-payer funded NGOs! If not here, when and where?! As Balko well noted himself, those lawyers will find other jobs. Some might even start another group with the understanding that appearing in music videos that “advocated the killing of police officers” and lying about it afterwards, is not acceptable behavior.
Even beyond that, the Bronx Defenders will forever be associated with a video advocating the murder of police officers. Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were assassinated, no murdered, around the time that video came out. Even if I was a public defender, I don’t think I would want to be associated with the Bronx Defenders, or Robin Steinberg, or Kumar Rao, or Ryan Napoli. Defunding Bronx Defenders would actually be a relief for all involved.
Yes the NYPD is angry. I don’t blame them. They are working the most dangerous job in the world and slander daily for doing their jobs right. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, and other liberals feed that slander and yet they are mystified as to why cops turn their backs to them.
It is time to stop playing around with liberals and demand some accountability for their actions. Bronx Defenders should have thought about their indigent clients when they agreed to be filmed in a hateful music video and then started lying to everyone about it.
Well, see ya’ later!