New York, NY – Temporarily departing from my series on unaddressed mental health issues amongst  New York City’s homeless population — I write this week following the shocking deaths of Policer Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. Rivera was just 22-years-old. Mora was 27.  Both were shot responding to a domestic violence call in Harlem on Jan. 21. 

Thousands of uniformed officers from across the city later gathered together to express their collective grief and to honor the lives of both slain officers. 

Officer Kassem Pennant, 27, was also shot in January. But he managed to survive. Law Enforcement officials are outraged to learn that Pennant’s suspected 16-year-old shooter was released on bond. Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch released this statement: “If anybody wants to know why we have a crisis of violence in this city, or why we’re about to bury two hero police officers, look no further than this disgraceful bail release,” 

Rapper and reputed gang-banger Camrin Williams, aka C Blu, was released on bond after the Pennant shooting. He is also on probation for a 2020 gun charge. This means Williams has a history with guns. Nevertheless, he was released on a $250,000 bond. Williams reportedly used money from an advance he got from his record deal with Interscope Records to pay the bond. [Really, Interscope Records? Is this the look you want to have for yourselves]?

Needless to say, the PBA is furious. But why wouldn’t they be?  Why would a suspect who shot and nearly killed an officer and wounded another teenager in the shooting be eligible for release?  Why would anyone who supports or works at one of the largest and oldest municipal police departments understand or appreciate this decision? Or at minimum, why would anyone want to see a person with a history of illegal gun charges free and on the street?

Meanwhile, it is up NYPD officers to protect and serve our communities. Yet, they can only do so at a limited capacity.

Thanks to Covid, law enforcement deaths are up considerably. But suspects like Camrin Williams are released on bond and free to go. Does this make sense? How does this support men and women in blue? Or better yet, how many people know what the Thin Blue Line means? The Thin Blue Line is a term that reflects police as the line that keeps our society from stages of chaos. The color blue often refers to the color of their uniforms. Hence the call, “God Bless The Thin Blue Line.”

I spoke with several different officers who stood in their formal uniforms to honor their fallen brothers this past Friday. The conversations were short, simple and respectful.

It would appear from my conversations that once a person wears a badge, they somehow are no longer regarded as real people. They become separate entities. They are no longer people with families or loved ones. They are not people anymore. They are not even human anymore. They are just cops. As the bonded release of a suspect after shooting a fellow officer demonstrates, their lives are not even important anymore.

“It almost seems like police blood is cheap blood,” a source told me. “They [NYPD critics] want to defund us. They want to send in a social worker for a domestic dispute where someone is armed and dangerous. Really? How’s that going to work out?”

It will be interesting to see how the new mayor responds to this. Although Mayor Eric Adams is a veteran of the police force, the NYPD was not a fan of the previous administration. Keep in mind, officers turned their backs on Bill de Blasio when he stood to speak at the funerals of two fallen officers. This has not happened to Adams. But rest assured, if change does not come, backs will turn on Adams as well. 

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Wellbeing and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at



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