The Two Reasons Why Police Officer Randolph Holder Was Murdered: Rhetoric and Reform

By Patrick J. Brosnan

Four NYPD officers have been slaughtered in NYC the past 12 months including Police Officer Randolph Holder who was shot in the head last night during a gunfight in Harlem with two armed robbers. br />
​My strong belief, and it is shared by many in the law enforcement community and elsewhere, is that the corrosive effects of vicious anti-police rhetoric (the spectre of protestors chanting “What do we want? Dead cops,” a few months back, is forever seared in the minds of Americans) and the recent efforts of Judge Scheindlin to further restrain proactive policing in NYC through her subjective and constitutionally- questionable decision regulating the NYPD’s Stop, Question and Frisk policy has resulted in a deadly combination of rhetoric and reform that has simultaneously “ declawed” New York’s Finest while empowering criminals.
The gunman’s decision to open fire on UNIFORMED Police Officers (no potential future defense position pleading innocence due to ambiguity whether Holder was a Police Officer- a specious argument frequently advanced when the Officer murdered is in plainclothes) is a direct result of his embodiment, his misplaced, and wholly inaccurate, confidence that his actions are acceptable in today’s anti-police environment and are , therefore, according to his twisted logic, legitimized in some bizarre way. 

In short, his conscious election to shoot a uniformed NYPD Officer in the head was, at least partly, fueled by his cost/benefit decision-making process (even cop killers go through this process) that the murder and his likely escape from charges for armed robbery and gun possession outweighed the sanctions for shooting an officer in these days of viral anti-police sentiment. To boot, there is a perverse, and sickening, reputational gain for the gunman while in prison where cop killers are elevated to hero status by other felons. 

My analysis is not purely academic but is drawn from my street experience during 14 years as a Robbery/Gun Squad detective in the South Bronx during the crack-addled 80’s and early “90’s (before Rudy rode into town and reversed the madness). I personally arrested 900 felons and recovered over 300 loaded guns and, although we were in plainclothes, it was exceedingly rare that a fleeing felon would fire a round and even rarer for them to fire upon a uniformed officer.

The other, and perhaps more terrifying element of the 2015 emboldenment of criminals in NYC, is Judge Scheindlin's decision. Her ruling empowered criminals and disempowered New York’s Finest. It basically gave the bad guys permission, of sorts to carry guns; it instilled in them a confidence, a relative certainty, that they would NOT be searched. 

The real-life ramifications of this decision are the equivalent of a lottery win for bad guys; they can, now, carry guns with relative impunity, secure in the fact that New York’s finest will probably not search them (there has been an astonishing 89 percent decrease in reported stop, question and frisks in the first quarter of this year versus the first quarter of last year). To be crystal clear there is no negative connotation to be imparted toward the brave and selfless men and women of New York’s Finest (and they are aptly named) but even the most proactive officer’s enthusiasm would be dampened by these forced conditions. 

They are sworn to do a difficult and, at times, almost impossible job in the face of crippling rulings and an unprecedented climate of anti-police hatred. The bad guys know that the NYPD’s diminished morale and the resulting hesitancy to use this vital tool since Scheindlin's ruling translates into a virtual free pass.

​ The risk/reward calculus has shifted dramatically for these felons. They are now, once again, behaving as they did prior to Rudy’s empowerment of the police during his two terms, carrying guns in their waistbands rather than hiding them nearby- on top of the tire of a parked car or stuffed in a mailbox. 

​These deadly weapons are readily available, again, to mete out street justice, correct a perceived slight; settle an argument; send a message to rival drug dealers; or, sadly, to shoot PO Randolph Holder in the head.

Patrick J. Brosnan is the owner of Brosnan Risk Consultants – a security and investigative firm based in Midtown Manhattan – and a crime analyst for Fox News.

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