NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered the latest volley Tuesday in his ongoing battle with the city’s police union leaders.
De Blasio dismissed their ability to speak for their rank-and-file members during an appearance Tuesday on the daytime talk show “The View.”
“Police unions, with all due respect to them, do not necessarily speak for the rank and file,” he said. “The rank and file is 35,000 uniformed officers. They keep their own counsel. They have their own ideas, and I respect the work they do.”
The mayor also criticized the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s petition to ban him from future NYPD funerals as “inappropriate.”
The relationship between de Blasio and the unions has been rocky since before he took office in January.
It has grown steadily more poisonous in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
PBA head Patrick Lynch accused de Blasio of throwing police officers “under the bus” when he said earlier this month that he and his wife have had conversations with their teenage son, Dante, about “how to take special care with any encounter he may have with police officers.”
“The police are there to protect you,” the mayor said Tuesday. “You have to respect the police, listen to police and, yet, there could be a misunderstanding because there’s been a history in this country. We have to tell them to be very careful, and some people try to interpret that as a lack of respect for police. It’s anything but. I have immense respect for police. The main message we’re trying to get across is police protect us; we need to support police. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore a history that’s real.”
On Monday, the Sergeants Benevolent Association criticized the mayor for using the word “allegedly” to describe an attack on two lieutenants during a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday night.
De Blasio said he was only trying to grant due process to the people who were accused in the incident.
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