The Racist Factor

Exploiting Politics and Hysteria Over the Park Sex Attacks

In solidarity with police officers, who, as the Post reported, are saying they feel "caught in a catch-22 every day—damned if they do and damned if they don't take action," Anonymous signed off with a fantasy. "If I were a cop, I would carry an extra gun. I would kill every suspect and plant a gun on him. Hopefully they will start doing that and the thugs will get the message."

Among the white-hot rumors that might wind up on The O'Reilly Factor as events unfold in the Central Park fiasco is that Rudy Giuliani, who anticipated a new round of condemnation from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (which released its final report last Friday, accusing the NYPD of practicing racial profiling), had ordered the department not to harass revelers at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The thinking among some Giuliani supporters is that in keeping with the "new Rudy" image, the mayor did not want to appear to be insensitive to an ethnic group that has been a target of his overly aggressive law-and-order campaigns.

But that's not how some hard-line critics of the Giuliani administration view such a scenario. They believe that the Central Park suspects walked into a classic Giuliani trap: The mayor, they hypothesize, lowered his guard in order to justify a crackdown and the reinstatement of some of his more ruthless policing tactics, shelved after the Diallo shooting. In any event, some Giuliani backers contend, the mayor will reap political rewards for having devised a master plan plan to make Giuliani Land safe again. "Wanted" posters of the suspects, masquerading as banner headlines in the Post and the Daily News, more than hinted that such a plan should be immediately implemented.

Additional reporting: Amanda Ward

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