(Bloomberg) — New York City police officers were wrong to
turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday as he spoke
at the funeral for a slain officer, Police Commissioner William
Bratton and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

“I certainly don’t support that action yesterday,”
Bratton said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “It was very
inappropriate at that event.”

Bratton and de Blasio joined Vice President Joe Biden and
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in eulogizing Officer Rafael
Ramos, who was ambushed and killed on Dec. 20 in Brooklyn along
with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu.

“It doesn’t matter if you like the mayor or don’t like the
mayor; you have to respect the mayor’s position. I don’t support
that,” Giuliani, who was mayor of the nation’s most populous
city from 1994 to 2002, said on CBS.

The killing of Ramos and Liu, by a man who claimed on
social media to be retaliating for police killings of unarmed
black men, inflamed tensions between the police and de Blasio,
who ran for office criticizing police policies and vowed to end
“stop and frisk” tactics. The soured relationship was
underscored by the silent protest at Ramos’s service by some
officers who turned their backs to a video screen as de Blasio
spoke.

The tensions go far beyond race relations in the city,
Bratton said.

“They really do feel under attack, rank-and-file officers
and much of American police leadership,” Bratton said on NBC’s
“Meet the Press” program. “They feel that they are under
attack from the federal government at the highest levels.”

Police Threats

There have been more than 50 threats against New York City
police officers since the killing of Ramos and Liu, Bratton said
on CBS. Nine people have been arrested, he said, up from a count
of seven as of Dec. 25.

Americans need to be cognizant of “the anger and the
hatred and the violence directed against our police officers,”
Bratton said. “I think we need to broaden the conversation to
include the dangers being directed against them also.”

A Staten Island grand jury’s decision Dec. 3 not to indict
an officer accused of killing 43-year-old Eric Garner with a
chokehold touched off demonstrations and intensified a national
conversation about the relationship between the police and the
communities they protect. That decision came nine days after a
Missouri grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in
the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.

After the New York decision, de Blasio, who is white, spoke
about how he and his wife, who is black, had conversations with
their son, Dante, about being careful if he is stopped by a
police officer.

Giuliani called on de Blasio to apologize to the New York
City police department, saying the mayor “created an
impression” with the police “that he was on the side of the
protesters.”

Bratton said that de Blasio “cares very deeply about New
York City police officers, cares very deeply about the divide in
this city at this time, and is working very hard to heal that
divide.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Greg Giroux in Washington at
ggiroux@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Bernard Kohn at
bkohn2@bloomberg.net
Scott Lanman, Steve Geimann