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One of New York's top cops has accused the press of "vilifying" police officers.
Michael O'Meara, head of New York State's Police Benevolent Association, went off on the media in a Tuesday press conference in remarks that have been criticized as tone-deaf and hypocritical.
"Stop treating us like animals and thugs. And start treating us with some respect," O'Meara told reporters at the New York City gathering. He added, "We've been left out of the conversation. We've been vilified. It's disgusting."
At the conference, O'Meara -- standing in front of a lineup of what appeared to be mostly white men in masks -- pushed back against the many Black Americans who have come forward to say they are fearful of law enforcement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
"We all read in the paper all week that in the Black community, mothers are worried about their children getting home from school without being killed by a cop," O'Meara said. "What world are we living in? That doesn't happen. It does not happen!"
It does. The rate of fatal police shooting among Black Americans was far higher than any other race or ethnicity, reports the Statistica Research Department, in numbers compiled between 2017 to 2020. Even so, trials and convictions of police officers in these cases are rare.
However, O'Meara pushed the narrative that is the police who are the victims. "Everybody's trying to shame us. Legislators. The press. Everybody's trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our profession," he said, before holding up a police badge. "You know what? This isn't stained by someone in Minneapolis. It's still got a shine on it, and so do theirs."
Video of O'Meara's comments has been shared thousands of times since its Tuesday posting on Twitter. Many viewers are flummoxed. "The lack of self-awareness is kinda jaw-dropping. What he's saying IS PRECISELY WHAT BLACK PEOPLE ARE SAYING TO THEM," wrote user @SpryGuy.
Watch the press conference below.