NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With calls for police reforms has come reaction from police unions. They say changes are coming too quickly and will have a damaging impact on their jobs.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch rallied with officers on Randalls Island on Tuesday. They blamed lawmakers for fueling anti-police sentiment in the wake of George Floyd’s death, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“Never, no matter how bad it gets, apologize for having a shield in your pocket,” Lynch said.
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Union leaders denounced what happened in Minneapolis, but Lynch said the swift passing of police reform in New York re-enforces negativity.
“For our legislators, and I emphasize our legislators, to then demonize police officers as if we’re the problem, as if we broke the window, as if we caused violence. That is absolutely outrageous,” Lynch said.
“Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed about our profession,” added Mike O’Meara, president of the New York State Association of PBAs. “Stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect.”
The new reforms include banning police use of chokeholds and would repeal 50A, the law that keeps officers’ personnel records confidential.
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Police unions say, with rising tension on the streets, officers are now hesitating to do their job.
“Any confrontation with anybody now results in some sort of physical contact. The cop is wrong,” said Richard Wells of the Police Conference of New York.
“Regardless of what the legislators say, you’re putting the life of our family on the line and correction officers, police officers, we deserve more,” added Elias Husamudeen, president of the New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association.
Lynch said lawmakers rushed to pass legislation without giving cops a seat at the table.
Sanchez asked Lynch what what his advice would be, adding, “What is the solution to bridge that gap?”
“My advice would be to sit down with us and have a rational discussion to see where we might be able to compromise, if we can compromise,” Lynch said. “What we would say is we’re entitled to the same rights as you.”
The PBA president ridiculed talk of defunding police and transferring some responsibilities, like vendor enforcement, to civilian agencies, adding he’d only want to see the city shift responsibilities if it is done reasonably.