BY AL DUNCAN
NEW YORK - Nearly 50 off-duty cops picketed across the street from the Hospital Workers Local 1199 offices in mid-town Manhattan April 12.
Their protest occurred just days before an April 15 demonstration called in memory of Amadou Diallo, the young worker who was killed by police here two months ago in a barrage of 41 bullets. Local 1199 is one of the sponsors of the April 15 action, whose official demands are "for justice and reconciliation," and for "reform" of the police.
James Higgins, who is a candidate for president of the Patrolmen Benevolent Association (PBA), called the cop rally. According to Higgins, the picket was necessary because of what he called "cop bashing" ads playing on the radio and TV building the April 15 demonstration.
In addition to Higgins, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has also denounced the commercials, and at least one local TV station has refused to air them.
The TV versions of the advertisements show two white cops knocking on an apartment door demanding entrance. A Black child is shown peering out at them from a neighboring apartment with a look of fear. The announcer says, "Our children need someone who they can see as a friend rather than as an enemy." It then urges people to attend the April 15 demonstration as a way of making this happen by stopping police brutality.
The cops carried signs calling on Local 1199 to stop its "Cop bashing," to recognize that "Brutality goes both ways" and a few others.
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