Elmont Online, Nassau County NY

Elmont Online Commissioner Ryder Must Resign
Sunday October 31 - All Day
Tuesday November 2 - All Day
Election Day

There is no room in his mind for “Black Lives Matter” without the false equivalence and insulting refrain of “all lives matter” or “blue lives matter”.

His rationalization to a group of predominantly Black children and adults at Elmont Memorial High School convinced me that he is unfit to be Nassau County’s Police Commissioner. Most people need not be told or reminded of this simple truth - all lives matter. We know this.

Fact is, the origins of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is rooted in the centuries long evidentiary record of black life as lesser than by The State and state actors alike.

European adventurers Captain John Lok and Sir Walter Raleigh may have planted the seeds of otherizing black life. In 1561 Captain Lok’s voyage to Africa mentions “a race of men in the interior of the country (Guinea) without heads, with eyes and mouth in their breasts.” Some fifty years later Raleigh repeats the story on his Guinea travels. Did these fantastic stories plant the seeds of enduring racism? Is this the birthplace of Ryder’s bias?

Fast forward to Virginia 1660 – 1730. The Virginia Assembly was busy crafting laws with explicit racial bias. Conscripted poor “White servants had the protection of English laws, and their mistreatment was criticized abroad. Africans, however, had no such recourse. By 1723 even free African descendants… were prohibited from voting and exercising their civil rights.” This too is the root of the phrase “Black Lives Matter”.

Remember Philando Castile? George Floyd is too easy. Even the blue life crown can take a knee on that one. But Philando, shot to death on July 6, 2016 in front of his daughter and significant-other as she live streamed the killing on Facebook. Philando played his end by the book. He informed the shooter (policeman) as he should have, that he was legally registered to carry a firearm and that it was in the car. Who is the 2nd Amendment for? Certainly not for Philando. And again, he and others like him are today’s root causes for the phrase “Black Lives Matter”

The origins of the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is firmly rooted in centuries of evidence that is contrary to Commissioner Ryder’s “all lives… blue lives refrain.

Commissioner Ryder’s inability to find a place in his mind for “Black Lives Matter” without the false equivalence of all lives matter is operationalized in the department he leads. Clearly, he is unsuited for the high office of police commissioner. A recent Newsday report “found [that since 2012] Ryder's agency and the neighboring Suffolk County Police Department hired a combined [total of] 67 Black candidates out of a Black applicant pool of 6,539.” He defends the appalling statistic by saying, “Look, a lot of these [minority] kids come from broken homes, … These kids struggle in these communities because they don’t have both parents around. They don’t have a family history of law enforcement.” In this observation Commissioner Ryder, we agree - They don’t have nepotism on their side.

Is the commissioner saying that effective policing requires that one be White, from a “well-adjusted”, intact family with both parents? Is that what it takes to properly and lawfully choke suspects? Is that what it takes to properly and lawfully assault suspects? Is that what it takes to properly and lawfully tase and shoot unarmed black people? Is that what it takes to be a properly trained police officer in Nassau County, NY today?

Commissioner Ryder should take a look at the ‘Gangs of New York’ again. It may provide some understanding (artistic deference noted) of why the long family history of policing is in the hands of and etched in the questionable legacy of Irish and Italian Americans.

curran on ryderI’m not trying to make a point that haven’t already been shouted from the roof tops. I’m adding my voice and asking a few questions of my elected officials:

  • Where is County Executive Laura Curran’s demand for his resignation?
  • Where is the unanimous vote by the County Legislature demanding his resignation?
  • Where are all the voices of the “Black people” whose names Commissioner Ryder uses as shields or as evidence that he suffers from the disease of colorblindness?

Silence! Silence is permission y’all.

Commissioner Ryder may well be a decent guy. I don’t know and won’t presume to know. Commissioner Ryder is not our tryptophan laden, drunk uncle at the Thanksgiving table. The one who says his truth and family be damned. Commissioner Ryder is not the fun, somewhat harmless guy at the end of a bar making nonsense noise. No. He is the Commissioner of Police. He makes policy and has extraordinary powers over the life, liberty and livelihood of all Black people in Nassau County. He simply cannot be given a pass for a face-saving apology, or for County Executive Laura Curran’s and the Nassau County Legislature’s silence. This is not a moment for putting distance between you and Ryder’s remarks and not the man. The man is by his own admission incapable of seeing how his internalized notions of race and police culture thwarts progress toward a more perfect union.

County Executive Curran, Commissioner Ryder, “Black Lives Matter” and “Black Livelihoods Matter” are not slogans – they are statements of sad facts. ”67 Black candidates out of an applicant pool of 6,539” since 2012 says Commissioner Ryder must resign. He has failed the county by continuing the centuries long diminishment black life.

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