’We cannot let white supremacy continue to spoil the bunch’: Maloney holds hearing on FBI report of extremists and law enforcement

Sep 29, 2020
In The News

WASHINGTON — A hearing aimed at rooting white supremacists out of policing earned a sharp rebuke from New York’s police union Tuesday after a conservative lawmaker suggested Democrats and Republicans could unite to take on union rules that make it hard to fire racist cops.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) rejected the Democrats' position that policing is beset by systemic racism, saying the abuses seen lately are more a case of “a few bad apples” needing to be culled from otherwise healthy police forces.

But he saw a chance to reach across the aisle to Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) for a solution after Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Mark Napier testified it can be hard to fire officers — even those with “frightening disciplinary histories” because of “due process and union agreements.”

“I do believe that if we’re looking for bipartisan opportunities, a bipartisan opportunity for us to work together, Madam Chairwoman, would be to eliminate the barriers that law enforcement have, like the sheriff just mentioned, in making it easier to get rid of the bad apples,” Comer said.

“It’s very difficult to fire someone once they get tenure or once they get merit, they become a civil servant,” he said. “And it shouldn’t be that way when you’re dealing with a few bad cops.”

The New York City Police Benevolent Association, which has endorsed President Trump and his “law and order” reelection campaign, ripped the suggestion of congressional intervention on Twitter.

“Disgraceful opportunism by the anti-cop and anti-union ideologues on both sides of the aisle,” the union tweeted.

“We warned about this months ago. Are our union brothers and sisters listening?” it said, referring to a Daily News op-ed by union boss Pat Lynch that warned of conservatives “looking to capitalize on the current anti-police atmosphere to continue their assault on workers' rights.”

Yet, the Democratic-led hearing focused on numerous instances of cops sympathetic to white supremacist groups, pointing a recent report that found 5,000 different racist and xenophobic postings on social media by law enforcers in just eight cities.

Civil Rights Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jamie Raskin also released along-suppressed report that the FBI wrote in 2006 warning that overt racists were trying to infiltrate law enforcement.

A redacted version of the report was leaked in 2017, but Raskin released the full version Tuesday.

The previously hidden pages included the warning that “white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement can result in other abuses of authority and passive tolerance of racism within communities served,” and that cops hostile to civil rights causes might “volunteer their professional resources to the white supremacist causes with which they sympathize.”

Raskin noted that after 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wis., he walked towards police with the gun over his should and his hands up, but the police just let him walk away.

Maloney pointed to a different part of the report that said white extremists “often have identified active links to law enforcement officers.”

“This hearing is about making sure we, as a nation, acknowledge that white supremacy has no place in any police department,” Maloney said. “The idiom does not end with just 'a few bad apples. The saying is: ‘a few bad apples spoil the bunch.’ We cannot let white supremacy continue to spoil the bunch.”