NYPD Turns Backs on De Blasio as Tensions Rise

Tensions are high in New York City after two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafeal Ramos, were ambushed while they sat in their patrol car on the afternoon of December 20.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley walked up to their car and shot both officers in head, and later that day took his own life. Hours before the attack, Brinsley posted anti-police statements on social media, claiming he planned “to put wings on pigs” in outrage for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Prior to the shooting of these two officers, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out in support of the protests and protesters surrounding the death of Eric Garner. He detailed a discussion with his biracial son, Dante, about how he should handle himself in order stay safe in interactions with the police. “There could be a misunderstanding because of the history in this country,” he claimed.

Courtesy of Youtube

Screenshot courtesy of YouTube

Although he later stated that those remarks were not meant to be in disrespect of the police force, the NYPD has shown their disdain for the Mayor and his comments.

Pat Lynch, the head of New York's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said “there’s blood on many hands,” in reference to the mayor’s office. Police union officials believe that de Blasio has contributed to the feeling of mistrust towards the cops.

On December 27, over 25,000 police officers from all around the country surrounded the streets near Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens for the funeral of Rafeal Ramos. Vice President Joe Biden gave his condolences to the family, and referred to the NYPD as the finest police force in the world, gaining applause from the thousands in attendance.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio stood up to give his eulogy, the sea of blue in the streets outside the church turned their backs to him, symbolizing their unhappiness with the Mayor’s previous seemingly anti-cop rhetoric.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke out the next day on CBS's Face the Nation, calling the actions of the NYPD at Ramos's funeral "inappropriate."

"That funeral was held to honor Officer Ramos, and to bring politics or to bring issues into that event, I think was very inappropriate, and I do not support it," he said. "At the same time, it is reflective, unfortunately, of the feelings of some of our officers.”

Courtesy of Youtube

Screenshot courtesy of YouTube

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, also spoke out, describing his feelings about the events occurring in his old city.

He does not believe that de Blasio should be blamed for the deaths, but he stated that an apology to the NYPD is in order. He spoke not as partisan, as he proclaimed, but as a former mayor, saying that de Blasio left the distasteful  impression on the NYPD that he was against them, even though he did not mean it.

De Blasio also faced backlash when he spoke at the NYPD recruits' graduation at Madison Square Garden on Monday, December 29. The new police officers were described as sitting "stoically" in their seats as de Blasio was introduced. Some were cited as booing, while about "a dozen or so" in the stands turned their backs on the NYC mayor.

Bratton spoke after de Blasio at the ceremony, trying to ease existing tensions in the room. “We live in a very difficult time, at this time, in this country, in this city, in this department," he said. “But we will work forward through it. We always do.”

De Blasio is set to meet December 30 with leaders of police unions in an attempt to reconcile differences.

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