NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio has been sorrowful and somber in his public appearances since the murders of Officer Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
However, the mayor showed a flash of anger Monday afternoon at a news conference where CBS2’s Tony Aiello asked a question that sparked his reaction.
As Aiello reported, the mayor’s dignified demeanor in the aftermath of the murders dropped briefly when asked about ugly chants used at many protests following the Eric Garner decision.
The mayor condemned such language, but insisted the media is blowing the rhetoric out of proportion.
“What are you guys going to do? Are you going to keep dividing us?” de Blasio said.
“The few who want conflict, attempt that, and unfortunately, so many times you guys enable that,” he added.
Earlier, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the attack on officers Ramos and Liu was “a direct spinoff” of the protests that have shut down city streets.
Commissioner Bratton also downplayed the show of police-union led disrespect when cops turned their backs on the mayor at Woodhull Hospital.
“Can you point out to me one mayor that’s not been battling with the police unions in the last 50 years? Name one,” Bratton said.
The mayor said the five police unions have agreed to a timeout and will withhold comment until after the hero cops are laid to rest.
“Put aside demonstrations, until these funerals are past. Let’s focus on these families and what they have lost,” he said.
But some protest organizers are criticizing the city for stifling free speech by calling for a protest moratorium until after the funerals.
Aiello asked Commissioner Bratton for his reaction.
“If they have no respect for the loss of these officers, I think they’re going to lose support from the public,” Bratton said.
There’s been talk of a police slowdown as a show of anger but the commissioner says he’s not seeing that.
The mayor also spoke once more about “protecting those who protect us,” urging anyone who spots a threat to cops on social media to report it.
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