In New York City an intense dispute has erupted between the city’s 30,000+ police officers and the Mayor’s office over the handling of the death of Eric Garner. Mr. Garner was killed while being arrested by the NYPD for the crime of selling “loosies” or loose cigarettes. The killing caused controversy around the country and New York City was no different, but the way the Mayor handled the issue left a bad taste in the mouth of his officers.
Mayor de Blasio deflected criticism for his role in the death of Eric Garner, then seemed to lay the blame squarely at the ‘racist’ feet of the NYPD.
De Blasio said that Americans needed to have “an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism,” and that police across the country needed new training to “change the fundamental relationship between police and community.”
Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he said:
“We have a whole series of things we have to do to change the dynamics in our city. This is true all over the country. We have to re-train police forces in how to work with communities differently. We have to work on things like body cameras that would provide different levels of transparency and accountability. This is something systemic. And we bluntly have to talk about the historic racial dynamics underlie this. Our police keep us safe, and yet there’s been, as I said, not just decades of problems, a history of centuries of racism that under gird this reality. We can transcend that. We believe, in New York City, re-training our entire police force [that] it’s going to make a huge difference.”
However, when asked if politicians should share the blame because of the bad laws they’ve written (a suggestion made by Senator Rand Paul R-KY), de Blasio scoffed at the idea.
(But seriously, telling police to arrest a man for selling a single cigarette… and then calling them racist for doing what they were told… seems really crass and cowardly.)
Well, the NYPD is not responding well to Mayor de Blasio’s criticism and they’ve fired back in the most vocal and public way they can – by disinviting the Mayor to their funerals. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) sent out a flier to all of their members saying, “DON’T LET THEM INSULT YOUR SACRIFICE!” The flier also encouraged officers to sign a waiver telling certain politicians that they were not welcome at their funeral if they were to die in the line of duty.
“I, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty.
Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito’s consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer’s memory and sacrifice.”
Police officers can download the document from the PBA website and then turn it in by giving it to their PBA delegates.
While it is customary for the Mayor to attend the funerals of fallen police officers, if he were forced to miss because of this situation it could be very damaging for his political career. De Blasio responded saying, “This is deeply disappointing. Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics. The mayor and the speaker both know better than to think this inappropriate stunt represents the views of the majority of police officers and their families.”
Of course, nothing is ever de Blasio’s fault… it’s always the other guy.