The already-strained relationship between Mayor de Blasio and the city’s biggest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, has gotten downright nasty. On Friday, a notice was posted to the PBA’s website. “DON’T LET THEM INSULT YOUR SACRIFICE!” it blared. “Download and sign a request that Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito stay away from your funeral in the event that you are killed in the line of duty. Completed forms may be given to your PBA delegate.”
Here’s what that form looks like:
The PBA has never seemed fond of de Blasio, but the mayor’s response to the Eric Garner case seems to have pushed the union over the edge. De Blasio has declined to endorse the non-indictment of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, saying only that he “[respected] the grand jury process,” and has since spoken several times about teaching his black teen son, Dante, to be careful around the police.
PBA head Pat Lynch responded by saying that de Blasio had “thrown [cops] under the bus” in the wake of the Garner decision. “He spoke about, ‘we have to teach our children that their interaction with the police and that they should be afraid of New York City police officers.’ That’s not true,” Lynch said. “We have to teach our children, our sons and our daughters, no matter what they look like, to respect New York City police officers, teach them to comply with New York City police officers even if they think it’s unjust.”
De Blasio and Mark-Viverito, who has backed the mayor’s effort to reform the NYPD, called the PBA’s attempt to ban them from potential cop funerals “deeply disappointing.” “Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics,” they said in a joint statement. “The mayor and the speaker both know better than to think this inappropriate stunt represents the views of the majority of police officers and their families.”
On Saturday afternoon, Lynch insisted that the form reflected the feelings of rank-and-file cops. Speaking at a gathering for family members of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty, he said, “The members said, ‘If they can’t support us now when we’re alive, they surely shouldn’t come to a funeral and have crocodile tears and sit next to my family.’” Expect to hear more of this as preparations for next week’s pro-cop rally continue.