(Scroll down to see why some at NYPD are concerned that these men seem to be trying to look like NYPD.)
Photo Courtesy: Muslim Community Patrol & Services on Facebook
Vigilante is legally defined as: someone who takes the law into their own hands by trying and/or punishing another person without any legal authority. Vigilantes typically arise due to a lack of law or a distrust of the legal system.
Morgan Earp, a deputized Special Policeman in tombstone Arizona was shot and killed on March 18, 1882. He was killed by members of an outlaw group, the Cochise County Cowboys. The men suspected of Morgan’s murder were released on a technicality.
Believing that the only way to see justice served was to avenge his death, Morgan’s brother Wyatt rounded up a posse. This posse included their brother Warren and Doc Holliday, among others. Wyatt took matters into his own hands.
He and the others spent 26 days tracking and then killing the four men believed to have killed Morgan. This became known as the Earp Vendetta Ride. This is just one example of frontier or vigilante justice.
This type of mindset does not work in conjunction with the law and its enforcers but, in fact, ALWAYS works contrary to the law.
Officially launching in January 2019, Brooklyn has a new “civic-minded” group on the streets. The Muslim Community Patrol has rolled out 30 regular and 30 additional volunteer members dressed in navy blue uniforms and driving white Ford Taurus with markings eerily similar to the vehicles driven by patrol officers with the NYPD.
This patrol says that they know that they are not police officers. They simply patrol to be an extended “eyes and ears” for the NYPD. They work in shifts patrolling Muslims schools, as well as subway stops and mosques in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park.
Besides acting as “eyes and ears” for police, MCPS Vice President Noor Rabah added, MCPS members are already connected to their communities enough to defuse situations while avoiding potential cultural misunderstandings.
“We’re not here to arrest people,” he said. “Rather, if we see for example a young man smoking weed and we know him, we can come up to him, greet him and say, ‘You might not care if a cop came to you right now and stopped you but you probably would care if your mom or dad found out that you were smoking weed.’”
Rabah was quick to address any thoughts of this patrol enforcing Sharia Law.
“It’s not about Sharia Law. It’s about Muslims taking care of people in our community. But it’s not just Muslims. If we’re driving or we’re patrolling, and we see a guy attacking a woman we don’t ask, ‘what’s your religion? What do you believe in? Who’s your God?’ We’re there for preventative measures and it doesn’t matter who’s going through what — white, black, orange, green, nun, hijabi, we’re there to help our community.”
It almost sounds like what they are trying to provide is a community policing effort. Most reasonably minded people are certainly in favor of this. If that is what this is, no problem.
However, Merriam defines community policing as: a law enforcement program in which police officers often working on foot, bicycle, or horseback are assigned to specific neighborhoods or communities to work with residents in preventing crime.
The issue here? The NYPD is not running this program.
Rabah did assert that his group’s vehicles were approved by the 72ndPrecinct before they did their December test run. He further stated that 30 members of the MCPS have received certification through New York City’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program.
Rabah said that they have already won the support of officials in the 72nd and planned to work with them to receive further training.
Department spokesperson Sgt. Jessica McRorie seemingly offers a negative reaction towards the MCPS and their vehicles.
In an interview with the website PJ Media, McRorie said:
“This is not a NYPD vehicle. The NYPD did not outfit or label this vehicle. This group is not officially sanctioned by the NYPD and they are subject to the law.”
On Twitter, NYPD Officer John Cardillo stated:
“Not at all comfortable with this. ‘Muslim Community Patrol’ in NYC, driving cars that look identical to NYPD RMPs. This looks a lot like Sharia Police. In Brooklyn.”
Rabah, in his assertion of 72nd Precinct approval said:
“We’re not looking for someone to ‘outfit’ our car. We’re looking for equal respect.”
And within that one statement lies the issues: the MCPS wants to walk through their neighborhoods with the same level of respect afforded to law enforcement. They want to have the noticeable presence of law enforcement. They want to be seen as police without having any of the authority of police. They want to be seen as authority figures without having the law behind them.
A hypothesis: It is possible that the MCPS wants to have the same respect as the commissioned law enforcement because they view themselves as such. Perhaps they view themselves as enforcers of a different law.
What do you think?