NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch is speaking out after a new poll found only 18 percent of New Yorkers had a favorable opinion of the longtime union leader.
The Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday also found that 43 percent of voters think Lynch is a mostly negative force in the city.
“I fight for and speak for the police officers of the City of New York and they are the only ones whose opinions I care about,” Lynch said in a statement Friday. “I don’t do my job to make myself popular, I fight for what’s right for my members.”
EXTRA: Click Here For The Full Poll
The poll found that 77 percent considered Lynch’s comments that Mayor Bill de Blasio had “blood on his hands” following the deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu last month “too extreme.”
Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll said Lynch’s comments were “condemned by white, black and Hispanic voters alike.”
In addition, the poll found that 69 percent didn’t approve of police officers turning their backs on the mayor during the officers’ funerals.
The poll comes amid a rancorous time between police and the mayor that ramped up during protests over a Dec. 3 grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner and hit a fever pitch in the weeks since the officers were shot dead Dec. 20 by a man who vowed online to kill two “pigs.”
Among the poll results, 77 percent said relations between de Blasio and the police are “generally bad.” Of those, 45 percent said de Blasio is to blame, while 43 percent blame police.
Overall, 56 percent of New Yorkers approved of the way police are doing their jobs and about half approved of how de Blasio is handling crime. Fifty-six percent approved of the job Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was doing, up from his previous rating.
The poll surveyed 1,182 New York City voters by phone from Jan. 7 to 14. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
A spokesman for the mayor didn’t address Thursday’s poll specifically.
“The mayor is committed to keeping crime low, ensuring the brave men and women of the NYPD have the tools needed to keep them safe on the job, and bringing police and community closer together,” spokesman Phil Walzak said.
His approval rating on December 18 was 47 percent. That poll was taken two days before Liu and Ramos were killed.
“The mayor’s numbers showed really not much of an improvement at all,” Carroll told 1010 WINS.
The poll results this week also come amid a burst of dissension within the union ranks and Lynch.
At a union lunch this week in Queens, a shouting match broke out over Lynch’s public battle with de Blasio, with some delegates suggesting his methods weren’t effective. Lynch, 51, is seeking a fifth term in June at the union that represents 24,000 cops. No challenger has come forward.
De Blasio suggested that the dissension within the union meeting was because Lynch did not speak for all of his members, many of whom now want to “let their voices be heard.”
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