NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is thanking New Yorkers for their support as tensions remain high between rank-and-file officers and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The message was published in a full page ad in the New York Daily News Thursday featuring a picture of what appears to be a memorial to two NYPD officers killed in the line of duty last month.
“This is what it’s all about,” the message begins.
“Self-serving politicians and cynical pundits think that New York City police officers are more worried about settling a contract than mourning our fallen brothers,” the message continues. “Real New Yorkers know better. You’ve stood with us. You’ve grieved with us. You’ll work with us to protect our city and hold accountable all those who have stirred up hatred and violence against police officers.”
“Thank you for your support,” it concludes.
The ad comes a day after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton met with the heads of the police unions to address deteriorating relations between rank-and-file officers and the mayor.
The deaths of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were killed on Dec. 20 in a brazen daytime attack, exacerbated tensions between de Blasio and police officers already upset by the mayor’s remark following the Garner grand jury decision sympathizing with protesters who claim a pattern of excessive force in minority communities.
Bratton said the private meeting, which did not include de Blasio, was “a continuation of what we would routinely do,” but added they would also discuss the unions’ concerns about officer safety and morale.
He said concerns about police activity levels would also be “part of the subject of discussion.”
At the meeting, Bratton had been expected to discuss the hundreds of officers who turned their backs to the mayor several times, including at the officers’ funerals.
PBA President Pat Lynch said they had a frank discussion about working conditions and officer safety. But he called City Hall leaderless and unwilling to address the officers’ concerns.
“The problem was not created here at headquarters. It started at City Hall,” Lynch said.
Lynch also said there was no work slowdown or labor action being sanctioned.
“We want the public to understand that arrests of felonies are up. Our members are doing their job,” he said. “The other solutions will come from the leaders here. We wish there were a leader at City Hall.”
NYPD statistics show there has been a dramatic drop in summonses and arrests across the city over the two weeks since Liu and Ramos were shot dead in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
Last week, the number of summonses for minor criminal offenses and traffic and parking violations decreased by more than 90 percent compared with the same week a year earlier, statistics show. For example, summonses for urinating in public were down to 347 from more than 4,077 last year.
Arrests city-wide last week for more serious offenses were down 55 percent. In Midtown alone, they fell to 112 from 348.
Bratton attributed the decline in arrests to a stressful month filled with widespread protests, police funerals and other discord that distracted legions of officers from normal duties. But he also warned that, if necessary, he would take measures to make sure the numbers return to normal.
“We will take a look at maybe who is not doing the work we expect of them,” he said. “And we will deal with it very appropriately if we have to.”
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