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More than one nightmare in NYPD slaying

Earl O. Hutchinson | 7/13/2017, 6 a.m.

The nightmare is that these reforms may be in mortal peril. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made clear in countless statements, memos and policy directives that the federal government, namely the Justice Department, is out of the business of police reform. Hours after he took office, Trump erased the Obama administration’s White House civil rights webpage and replaced it with a bold declaration that the White House gives unreserved support to the police. The killing of officers such as Familia then can further heighten tensions between police, many of whom are already on edge, and minority communities. The killings can harden the attitudes of some police officers, thicken the thin blue line into a siege mentality of “us versus them.”

This can have deadly consequences on the streets and put even more civilians in harm’s way if police officers feel that their only recourse in a conflict situation, no matter how innocuous it may seem, is to resort to deadly force. The killing of a police officer always stirs anger, outrage and fear among many officers who instantly identify with and feel the pain of a slain officer. This would escalate the vicious cycle of violence and more violence as the accepted way to handle police-civilian encounters.

Familia’s murder was the worst kind of nightmare. The double tragedy is that it was not the only one.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.