NEW YORK (AP) – It was “disrespectful” for some New York Police Department officers to turn their backs to him during a pair of funerals for slain police officers, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday at a news conference with his police commissioner.
The act of protest were hurtful to the families of the two cops killed in an ambush last month, de Blasio said in his first public remarks on the officers’ protests. He also argued that the public rebuke was an offense to the city at large.
“Those individuals who took certain actions the last two weeks, they were disrespectful to the families involved. That’s the bottom line,” de Blasio said at the news conference, held at police headquarters. “They were disrespectful to the families who lost their loved ones. I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that.”
Patrick Lynch, head of the city’s rank-and-file police union, said after the deaths of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjin Liu that de Blasio had “blood on his hands.” Thousands of officers turned their backs on de Blasio when he delivered eulogies at Ramos’ funeral last month and again Sunday at Liu’s funeral.
The chasm between the police unions and de Blasio has created the biggest crisis of his tenure. The unions have blamed de Blasio for permitting protests over police conduct that has, in turn, fostered an anti-NYPD atmosphere they believe contributed to the killings of the officers.
Police Commissioner William Bratton, who has steadfastly supported the mayor during the widening rift with the rank-and-file, also condemned the action, saying the officers involved “embarrassed themselves.”
He also called the protests a selfish act that dominated the news coverage and diverted attention from the two slain officers.