Mayor de Blasio gave the cops who turned their backs on him a good smack Monday.
Speaking for the first time about the public dissing he endured at the funerals of hero cops Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, de Blasio said “they were disrespectful to the families involved.”
“I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that,” an angry de Blasio said. “And I think it defies a lot of what we all feel is the right and decent thing to do.”
“I also think they were disrespectful to the people of this city, who in fact honor the work of the NYPD,” he added.
De Blasio declined to dwell on some of the sharpest barbs that have been hurled at him, particularly from Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Patrick Lynch.
Lynch earlier accused the mayor of having “blood on the hands” after Ramos and Liu were murdered.
“My feelings don’t matter here,” de Blasio said. “What matters is the people of this city who I think expect more from all leaders than those kind of unfair and inaccurate statements.”
“Obviously it was a totally inappropriate statement, totally inaccurate. It’s evident. So I’ll leave it at that.”
De Blasio was followed by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who branded as “selfish” the hundreds of officers who turned their backs on de Blasio at the Liu funeral on Sunday.
“I share the mayor’s concern about the idea of what’s effectively a labor action being taken in the middle of a funeral,” he said. “I think we need to focus much more on the vast majority who did what was expected rather than the few who embarrassed themselves and effectively took so much attention, so much attention.”
Deeply upset, Bratton lamented that the front pages of The Daily News and other newspapers “focused on them, the selfishness of that action, the selfishness of it.”
“The funeral is no place for that,” he said. “Come demonstrate outside City Hall. Come demonstrate outside police headquarters, but don’t put on your uniform and go to a funeral and engage in a political action.”
Bratton had explicitly asked officers not to engage in a repeat of the back-turning that hundreds of cops had done earlier earlier at the Ramos funeral. But hundreds defied Bratton anyway.
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama has got Bratton’s back.
“The part of Commissioner Bratton’s letter I think that resonates most strongly here at the White House is that those who are attending those funerals are there to pay their respect for the service and sacrifice of the two officers who were being laid to rest,” Earnest said. “And certainly the President believes that their service and their sacrifice is worthy of celebration and respect and should be afforded all the outward symbols of the honor that they’ve been given.”
The bitter words from de Blasio and Bratton came at a press conference to tout a dramatic 4.6% drop in citywide crime in 2014 — and amid reports that the rank-and-file have been engaging in a word slowdown to show their displeasure with the mayor.
“Rather than get lost in the daily back and forth by the loudest and most disrespectful voices, those that have been so loud in this debate in recent weeks, let’s talk about where we need to go as a city,” de Blasio said. “Let’s talk about a positive vision, let’s talk about what the people of this city want us to do together.”
There was no immediate response from Lynch, but Roy Richter, head of the Captains Endowment Association, defended the officers who turned their backs on de Blasio.
“It is a palpable anger amongst the members of the NYPD that led many to turn their back outside the funeral,” he said.
Michael Palladino, who heads the Detectives’ Endowment Association, complained they were being held to a different standard.
“When cops make arrests and give summonses they are accused of being robotic with no feelings,” he said. “When cops exercise discretion and express feelings they’re accused of being political and disrespectful. You can’t win.”
Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins’ reaction revealed how deep the rift was between his members and the mayor. He said Bratton’s request that officers refrain from demonstrating at the funeral read “as if he was doing the mayor’s bidding.”
“They know, deep down inside there is a feeling this mayor does not support police,” he said. “They know there was never an attempt to disrespect the family of Officer Liu. They are using a slain police officer to deflect from the issues that were pre-exisiting, long before these officers were killed.”
Earlier, in a radio interview, Mullins said the cops were exercising their right to free speech.
“They didn’t break a single law and they didn’t utter a single word and yet their actions made a statement that was recognized nationally and has never been done before that I’m aware of to any mayor in this nation,” Mullins said on Joe Piscopo’s radio show, AM 970 The Answer.
Mullins also accused de Blasio of creating the climate that prompted double cop killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley to leave Baltimore and come to New York City to murder Ramos and Liu.
“He could have killed police anywhere along the line in those 3 1/2 hours in any city in the country, but he chose New York,” Mullins said. “Why? Because the attention to the demonstrations and the lawlessness that was occurring enabled that type of an atmosphere.”
Brinsley killed the officers as part of a twisted plan to avenge the chokehold death of Eric Garner by an NYPD officer and the killing of Michael Brown by a cop in Ferguson, Mo.
De Blasio has taken heat from the NYPD for expressing sympathy for protesters demonstrating against a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to prosecute the cop who killed Garner.
He has also angered many officers by embracing the Rev. Al Sharpton, a police critic, and revealing that he told his son Dante, who is biracial, to be wary around cops.
Last week, de Blasio held a summit with Mullins, Lynch and the heads of the three other police unions aimed at ending the cold war between the NYPD and City Hall.
When it was over, both sides agreed to keep talking, although Lynch said their first sitdown was mostly a bust.
With DAN FRIEDMAN