John Jay College suspends professor over 'dead cops' tweet
A professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who tweeted that “it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops” has been suspended amid an uproar
By Matthew Chayes
NEW YORK — A professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who tweeted that “it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops” has been suspended amid an uproar, according to a school spokeswoman.
Michael Isaacson, who teaches economics at the Manhattan-based school, posted the remarks Aug. 23 on his @VulgarEconomics account.
“Some of y’all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops,” he said in the remarks.
He followed up with: “ ‘Weren’t you my econ professor?’ ‘See? You had the opportunity.’ *blade drops*” and “jokesaboutmystudentsgettingexecutedintherev dot tumblr dot com.”
John Jay president Karol V. Mason, in a statement Friday announcing Isaacson’s placement on administrative leave, called Isaacson’s remarks “abhorrent.”
“I am appalled that anyone associated with John Jay, with our proud history of supporting law enforcement authorities, would suggest that violence against police is ever acceptable,” said Mason, a former assistant attorney general in the Obama Justice Department.
Reached by email, Isaacson initially said he was not available to discuss the controversy — “Unfortunately I’m out of town for the weekend,” he wrote — but he tweeted Friday: “I critique policing as an institution which operates at the behest of a state that increasingly represents the weapons and prison industry rather than the public they’re supposed to serve through decades of gerrymandering by both Republicans and Democrats.”
In a email later Saturday, Isaacson pointed to a statement he gave The Washington Post, saying he “unequivocally” supports John Jay “in the interest of public safety,” and offered an apology to students and faculty.
“I am saddened that I cannot continue to teach my students, but I value their safety and the safety of the John Jay community above all else,” he said, adding: “My regret is that I put people at risk who did not assume that risk voluntarily.”
In a statement Saturday, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association union, called for Isaacson’s firing “immediately.”
Lynch lamented that Isaacson’s students “have to suffer through an imbecile instructor like Isaacson, who spews drivel with no connection to reality.”
According to a résumé posted on his website, Isaacson is a doctoral student in economics at the New School for Social Research. He has also taught at Long Island University, NYU, and Howard University. He taught Economics in Historical Perspectives, Introduction to Economics and Global Capitalism, the résumé says.
The Aug. 23 tweets attracted widespread attention after Isaacson appeared Thursday on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show, where Isaacson defended the Antifa movement, which condones violent confrontation if necessary to combat the speech of groups like white supremacists and others.