Mayor de Blasio vs. The NYPD: A Short History

danjoseph | December 22, 2014
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In a stunning act of  public defiance, NYPD officers turned their backs on New York City Mayor Bill  de Blasio as he was giving a press conference regarding the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers that occurred over the weekend.  Anger at the mayor also led the president of one of the city’s most powerful police unions to lash out at the mayor.

In a statement, Sergeants Benevolent Association Police Union President Edward Mullins, held nothing back in his attack on de Blasio.

“Mayor de Blasio, the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands.” 

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Instead of making an effort to heal the rift between the mayor and those that protect the city he runs, de Blasio’s office released a statement that slammed the police union leader’s statement.

“It’s unfortunate that in a time of great tragedy, some would resort to irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people,” de Blasio spokesman Marti Adams said in a statement following the union leaders remarks.

While the rhetoric is reaching a fever pitch the police, anger at de Blasio has been building for weeks.  

de Blasio’s first swipe at the police came shortly after the decision by a Grand Jury not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric garner.  During a press conference, de Blasio brought up his son, Dante, who is of mixed race and implied that he was concerned that his son might be the victim of police misconduct from the NYPD. 

"So I've had to worry over the years. Chirlane's had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities—crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods—but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.

We’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.” 

This statement led to outrage among the leaders of police unions and some in the media. 

In the days that followed de Blasio gave full-throated support to the protesters who were rallying against the perceived injustice of the Eric Garner and Mike Brown deaths.  He took NYPD officers off of other assignments in order to protect the protesters as they blocked off streets,  chanted “What do we want? Dead cops!” and in several cases assaulted members of the NYPD.

Following the assaults, de Blasio took days before even acknowledging that protesters had assaulted two officers.

This led to, Pat Lynch, president of the biggest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, sending its members drafts of letters they could send out demanding that the mayor not be allowed to attend the funerals of NYPD officers.  Leaders of several other police unions followed suit. 

de Blasio responded to this with what was interpreted as yet another attack on the police organizations.

"Responding to self-interested critics with histrionic voices doesn't get you very far." 

Obviously, with tensions this high in America’s largest city, following the executions of two NYPD officers and angry protesters filling the streets in an anti-cop frenzy, the last thing that New York City needs is addition tension between the police force and the mayor that is supposed to lead them.  

But from the very beginning of his campaign for mayor, when de Blasio made ending “stop and frisk” a centerpiece of his campaign, the NYPD’s relationship with de Blasio has been chilly, to say the least. 

Whether the tension between New York City cops and de Blasio is beyond repair remains to be seen.