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NEW YORK — New York’s mayor, a man so relentless that he won’t let prostate cancer get in the way of his horniness, feels sorry for the cops. “It seems like the cops just can’t win no matter what they do,” Rudolph Giuliani complained to a caller to his weekly radio show.

The event that set this latest police pity party into motion involved about 60 men on what used to be called a wilding spree during the National Puerto Rican Day parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue last weekend. Armed with high-pressure super-soakers and lubricated with cheap beer consumed under a blazing sun, they forced at least four dozen women to run a gauntlet reminiscent of a U.S. Navy Tailhook gathering at an entrance to Central Park between the Plaza Hotel and the Central Park Zoo.

“Before I knew it, I was surrounded by what seemed to be 20 guys, all pouring water on me, and I was trying to push through,” said a victim named Stephanie. “They were coming at me from all directions, and they were grabbing my butt, groping my butt, and I was screaming and I was trying to get through, trying to get away.”

Stephanie was one of the lucky ones — she eventually got away. An 18-year-old English tourist had her shorts ripped off her body. Several other women had their shirts torn completely off; an as-yet-undetermined number were robbed of cash and jewelry. Hospitals treated victims as young as 14 years old for sexual molestation, including vaginal bruising. Relying on numerous videotapes gathered from people who attended the parade, police have arrested 16 men and released still photos of 17 more suspects.

But the real victims of this sunny summer rampage, to hear the law-and-order types tell it, are the police. Several women said that they were ignored or brushed off when they asked police officers manning the parade route for help. After being attacked by thugs who tried to yank down her pants, Anne Peyton Bryant, 29, approached a cop. “I told him I was assaulted, but he acted like it was nothing,” she told reporters. Two other officers advised her to “file a report.” She did so, but the police preferred sitting on their asses to chasing down unruly rapists.

“Without prejudging,” Police Commissioner Howard Safir announced during the ensuing hubbub, “my sense is we’ll probably find four or five police officers who acted inappropriately while the vast majority of them acted appropriately. Those police officers who acted inappropriately will be subject to discipline.”

Now the cops are playing dumb, no doubt to force the public to choose between a blank-check police force that shoots unarmed people for no reason whatsoever and the kind of anarchy that prevailed in Central Park. “With the Diallo thing, they complain that we’re too aggressive,” one of New York’s Finest groused on talk radio. “Now they say we’re too passive. We just can’t win!”

Here, guys, Mr. Mayor, let me help you out: The next time you’re cruising down a neighborhood street and you see some guy hanging out in front of his apartment building, don’t pump 41 taxpayer-funded bullets into his innocent body. Just keep driving; guys hanging out in front of their buildings may or may not be criminals, but hanging out does not in itself constitute a capital offense. Not yet, anyway.

In the same vein, please allow me to point out what went wrong with the Patrick Dorismond shooting, in which the death of yet another unarmed black guy proved to be terribly inconvenient from a PR standpoint. When you see some guy standing on the curb hailing a cab (yes, even if he’s black!), there’s nothing to get alarmed about. Don’t automatically assume, as the police did, that said African-American taxi hailer deals drugs, possesses knowledge about the sale and/or distribution of drugs or is a consumer of the same. Just keep walking or driving, as the case may be.

On the other hand, if you come across a bunch of guys tearing off women’s clothes, soaking them with water and shoving their digits into their genitals, please feel free to indulge the aggression that first made you want to walk a beat. Wade into that crowd of miscreants with your heaviest, hardest nightstick and administer the fiercest wood shampoo known to humanity. At the first sign of resistance, consider yourself authorized to open fire. Trust me: Not only will nobody mind, you’ll be widely praised, even by annoying leftie types like my drinking compadres. Yes, it’ll be OK, even if the perps are black, Latino or another sundry nonwhite ethnicity.

There’s no need to thank me — just try to keep this stuff straight in the future.

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