NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – This weekend’s shooting spree at a Bronx police precinct has touched off a political firestorm.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is front and center, but other politicians are being criticized for not doing enough to end anti-cop bias.
“I know you will all join me in keeping our officers in your thoughts and prayers,” de Blasio said Monday, beginning his Albany budget testimony with a nod to the horrific events in the 41st precinct. Three cops were injured in what police officials have called an attempted assassination.
For at least one union leader, it was too little, too late.
“De Blasio is to blame for this… We have sent the message that it is OK to jump turnstyles… it is OK to resist arrest. We’re emboldening criminals,” said Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins.
In the last several months, there have been a number of troubling anti-cop incidents: A group of men dumping water on two officers as they tried to make an arrest. An NYPD vehicle covered in trash on Halloween. Mask-wearing anti-police protesters at Grand Central just 10 days ago. Bill de Blasio, bemoaning the relationship between cops and the black community, using his son, again, to jump-start his failing presidential bid.
“There’s something that sets me apart from my colleague in this race and that is for the last 21 years I’ve been raising a black son,” de Blasio said at the time.
“The anti-police rhetoric has now fostered an atmosphere of hate,” Mullins said.
Other police union leaders are troubled by all the elected officials in the state for enacting anti-cop legislation, including the controversial bail reform laws. They want changes.
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“It sends a terrible message onto the community. It promotes criminal activity with no consequences,” said Detectives Benevolent Association Presiodent Paul DiGiacamo. “The people who suffer… are the people out there enforcing the law.”
“We need our politicians to recognize that this individual, there’s more of them. He’s not the only one in the city,” said Lieutenants Benevolent Association President Lou Turco. “We need to address it.”
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch is demanding elected officials have a come-to-Jesus moment.
“It’s not too late to stand on that soapbox and say ‘My words against police officers did damage. My words go in the heads of criminals on the street who thought they were safe enough to try to kill police officers,” Lynch said.
De Blasio said that while he was in Albany he did meet with various lawmakers to discuss bail reform and possible changes.
Both Stroffolini and Gautreaux have been treated and released from the hospital.
Gautreaux, a 15-year veteran, walked out of the hospital on his own Monday to a round of applause from his brothers in blue.
U.S. Attorney William Barr also spoke about the shootings Monday, letting the NYPD know that Washington has its back.
“I’d just like to express my outrage at the attempted assassination of two New York City police officers,” he said. “I want them to know that they have the full support of this administration and this Department of Justice.”
The suspected gunman, 45-year-old Robert Williams, was arraigned and remanded into custody Monday on charges of attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest. Police said Williams had a lengthy criminal history and spent time in jail for attempted murder following a shootout with police in 2002.