Brian Moore, a 25-year-old New York City police officer, is in a medically induced coma in Jamaica Hospital. He was  allegedly shot in the head by Demetrius Blackwell in Queens on Saturday night. What spurred the shooting? Here’s the New York Post: “Blackwell had been fiddling with his waistband, a source said. The officers [Moore and his partner] pulled up behind him, and Blackwell realized they were cops.” In other words, the cops were so good at their job that their suspicions were raised by the sight of a man adjusting his pants in a particular way that indicated he might have had a gun—and he did.

That’s what good vigilant police work is. It’s picking out what’s subtly wrong on the street and getting to the bottom of it. It’s also what, under other circumstances, would wrongly be called racist harassment. Blackwell is black, and if it turned out he didn’t have a gun and if the situation escalated in such a way that that he ended up in critical condition, we can well imagine the outrage that would follow: First black people are told to pull up their pants. Then, when they do, they get shot. The point is the overwhelming majority of cops—good, smart, brave cops—don’t harass black people for sport. They don’t harass, period. They act on hunches and experience and put their lives on the line over the slightest irregularity to prevent civilian deaths, both black and white. In this case, one shooter is now off the streets; Blackwell is in custody. But one cop is in a coma. He saw a thug adjust his pants and understood that his vow to protect the community overrides any fear of being called a racist. It’s the very definition of both physical and moral bravery. Pray for Brian Moore.