"FOR city cops - dedicated men and women on duty 24/7, 365 days a year - it was too little. And far too late.
Yesterday, Detective Ivan Davison, who may have saved lives by shooting a violent perp, was handed back his gun. If the NYPD expected thanks after treating this brave officer like a common criminal, think again.
One of Davison's brethren in Brooklyn, a sergeant with 15 years on the job, spoke for the entire department when he told me it makes little difference that the brass had a change of heart.
"The damage is done," said the sergeant, who asked me not to use his name - and who can blame him?
"Someone is going to get hurt down the line."
The sergeant speaks with the eloquence born of experience in scary places. He joined the NYPD because "I almost think of it as a higher calling. I want to help people."
But now, he said any cop who draws his weapon is treated with suspicion.
Detective Davison got into it early Sunday with alleged miscreant Stephon Allston - a man with a long rap sheet and a bad temper. Allston allegedly shot at Davison three times and, luckily, missed. The cop shot back, wounding him.
But then, Davison was forced to take a Breathalyzer test - an insane rule enacted after the 2006 Sean Bell shooting. It showed he was slightly over the legal intoxication limit for driving. Remember, he was off duty.
He was stripped of his gun and put on modified duty. Treated like a criminal, not a savior.
Said the sergeant, "The whole Police Department is on edge.
"It's a shame. If I take action, they're going to crucify me.
"I'm on duty 24 hours a day. I carry my gun off duty because I have a family," he said. "But after the Sean Bell incident, we don't have the backing of the police commissioner. We don't have the backing of the mayor.
"Now, the only way I'd ever take out my gun is if my family [was] involved [in a crime]. Everyone on the job is more cautious." He noted, with urgency, "a second or two of hesitation could cost our lives or civilian lives."
Mayor Bloomberg has said Davison acted properly. That did not soothe.
"Our standing takes a back seat to mollifying the community.
"I'd like to think we're all professionals. But this gives us something to think about. It's on every cop's mind, it's on every supervisor's mind. That split-second hesitation - God forbid one of us gets hurt."
Is there hope?
"I have five years left. It's a shame. You have all these senior officers who don't want to stay past their 20."
Who will protect the city when he's gone?"I've been trying to find out more info on this story because something stunk from the very beginning. Off-duty cop goes to break up a street fight and winds up trading shots at bad-breath range with one of the participants. He fires three shots but of course does little damage, reinforcements arrive and take him and the guy he winged to the hospital. The cops blood alcohol level hits the scale at .9, and since the city doesn't want its officers playing cops and robbers above .8 he's in trouble. Says he suffers from high blood pressure and won't leave the hospital because he isn't feeling all that tip-top, but the bosses want him to go and take a SPECIAL test for booze they claim is more accurate than what is available at the disease-centers. He refuses, and is put on modified duty.
So it wasn't just the fact that he violated some hard to understand rule...if they don't want cops drinking and shooting they should just TELL them so, flat out...but that he broke several other regulations as well. Out of the woodwork crawl cockroaches like Al Sharpton, who demanded the city institute its NoDrunkCopsShooting imprimatur after the Sean Bell fiasco, but THIS time he's on the side of the black cop who had one too many. And of course the cops are weeping that the city will disintegrate if they can't shoot at people while drunk on their ass but few if any of those in the know expect anything BUT their inability to just man-up and do the job.
None of it would sting as much if regular peons were allowed to defend themselves like the police can. The sergeant quoted above carries HIS gun off duty because he has a family. Good to know that cops are the only ones special enough to protect their families, isn't it. And what a crying shame that they've been forced, kicking and screaming but of course, into being more cautious. The bottom line is that every last one of them considers his or herself a lord of the manor who is head and shoulders above the hoi polloi, and that being so very extraordinary they deserve more rights to exercise with absolute impunity.
Dial 911, just like anyone else if you've been drinking, unless of course you're in immediate danger, but I for one can't understand why anyone would get plastered while packing but thats another story. Far more average citizens carry guns than do police officers and the responsible ones do not guzzle down at a gin mill then go shooting up the town because some low lives are scuffling in the street. Ammunition has no common sense. People who've taken an oath to protect & defend should.
Oh and PS to Miz Peyser. Being "stripped of his gun" doesn't mean they treated him like a criminal. He was never under arrest, still being paid, and all they did was treat him like they'd treat you or me.
Shameful, isn't it? A cop being manhandled like he was just a citizen.