New York Police Unions Are "Standing Down" From Anti-Bill de Blasio Comments
The presidents of two prominent police unions in New York City have publicly delivered sharply worded messages to Mayor Bill de Blasio in the wake of the tragic executions of police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Pat Lynch and Ed Mullins, presidents of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Sergeants Benevolent Association, respectively, both declared that de Blasio had "blood on his hands" — insinuating that the mayor incited the violent attack because of his support of the #BlackLivesMatter protests. Now, the New York City police unions are reportedly "standing down" as the divided city continues to grieve for the loss of two of its officers.
In a press conference on Monday, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, who has pledged his support for de Blasio, said he was in contact with the city's five police unions, all of which have been openly critical of the Democratic mayor. Bratton said that in light of the suspended protests and the upcoming funerals of the deceased, the police unions have agreed to hold their tongues — a gesture that will temporarily assuage the unrest in America's largest city.
Bratton said on Monday:
I've had the opportunity today to talk with the leadership of all five of our police unions, in line with what the mayor has referenced, asking that demonstrations and other forms of protests be put on hold until after the Christmas holidays and after the funerals. In discussion with the five presidents of our various unions, they are standing down in respect for the fallen members until after the funerals, and then we can continue the dialogue that had begun about issues and differences that exist.
Bratton acknowledged on Monday that de Blasio has lost the trust of some New York police officers, but he pointed out that the police unions have been critical of New York mayors regardless of party affiliation or circumstances. "Can you point out to me one mayor that has not been battling with the police unions in the last 50 years? Name one," Bratton said at the press conference. The police commissioner added that the current police animosity directed at de Blasio is "nothing new."
While appearing on the "Today" show on Monday, Bratton also expressed his disagreement with the police unions' form of protest: On Saturday, police officers, led by Pat Lynch, turned their back on the mayor when he arrived at the hospital to visit the victims' grieving families. Bratton said he didn't think that protest was "appropriate, particularly in that setting."
On Monday, de Blasio suspended demonstrations in the city, saying it was time to "put aside political debates, put aside protests" while the two slain officers were being laid to rest. Their funerals have been scheduled for later in the week.
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