NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An icy wind is blowing from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association to City Hall, in the form of a letter directed at Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, members of the police union are urged in red, boldfaced text on the PBA website to download and sign a letter titled “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice.” The letter asks members to fill in their names for a request that de Blasio and Mark-Viverto, “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,” the letter says.
The letter can be downloaded and returned to an officer’s local PBA delegate.
In a joint statement, de Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak and Mark-Viverito spokesman Eric Koch called the letter divisive.
“This is deeply disappointing. Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics,” the statement said. “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.”
The statement also pointed out that the de Blasio administration came to a labor agreement just this week with the Uniformed Superior Officers Coalition, which is different from the PBA but does include NYPD detectives, lieutenants, and captains.
On the city’s streets, some also found the letter shocking.
“That lacks a lot of compassion in my mind,” one man said.
“I do think that that’s a little overkill,” another said.
But as CBS2’s Lou Young reported, those deep in police culture said many echo the PBA’s position. Among them is Don Costello, a retired lieutenant with the Police Intelligence Division.
“My thought is that if he doesn’t respect us in life, why should we have him respect us at the time of our death?” Costello said.
Passions aside, it remains to be seen how many of the more than 34,000 New York City police officers will sign the PBA statement.
The PBA letter is the latest salvo in the relationship between the PBA and the de Blasio administration since a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the apparent police chokehold death of Eric Garner.
Following the ruling, de Blasio said he and his wife, Chirlane, have had to have painful conversations with their teenage son, Dante, about “how to take special care with any encounter he may have with police officers.”
“I’ve had to worry over the years, Chirlane has had to worry: Is Dante safe each night?” de Blasio said Wednesday. “And not just from some of the painful realities of crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods but safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.”
“What police officers felt yesterday after that press conference is that they were thrown under the bus,” Lynch told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell, last week. “That they were out there doing a difficult job in the middle of the night, protecting the rights of those to protest, protecting our sons and daughters and the mayor was behind microphones like this throwing them under the bus.”
Lynch slammed the mayor’s comments, saying “our city is safe because of police officers” and said New Yorkers should be afraid of the criminals, not the police.
“He spoke about, ‘we have to teach our children that their interaction with the police and that they should be afraid of New York City police officers.’ That’s not true,” Lynch said. “We have to teach our children, our sons and our daughters, no matter what they look like, to respect New York City police officers, teach them to comply with New York City police officers even if they think it’s unjust.”
Lynch also called Pantaleo a good cop in a bad situation.
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