For the first time in over a decade, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Pat Lynch will face a challenger when he goes up for reelection this year. Lynch, who has been in charge of the NYPD’s biggest union since 1999, has received an unusual amount of public attention recently, mostly for his extremely vocal criticism of Mayor de Blasio. (He’s the guy who accused the mayor of having “blood on his hands” after the shooting of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.) Last week, the tabloids reported that Lynch’s insistence on extracting an apology from de Blasio led to a huge fight at a Queens PBA meeting. Now the New York Daily News reports that a group of cops are officially looking to replace the current PBA leadership.
Here’s how 47-year-old Brian Fusco, a PBA trustee who represents south Brooklyn, described his reasons for running against Lynch:
“He’s not listening to the membership,” Fusco, a 27-year NYPD veteran, said. “He has an arrogance about him that it’s his way or no way at all.”
“The point is he has no plan,” Fusco said. “He does a great show. He grandstands. He’s all bark and no bite. He goes out there and screams and yells. He’ll get the media. He puts on a good show, but at the end of the day it’s the members who are saying, ‘Well, what do we do now?’”
Joining Fusco on the ticket are Joseph Anthony (running for vice president), Michael Hernandez (running for second vice president), John Giangrasso (running for treasurer), and James Martes (running for recording secretary). They reportedly plan to focus less on the NYPD’s rift with de Blasio and more on practical matters, including improvements to safety equipment and benefits for officers who are injured on the job.
Lynch responded to the news by saying that Fusco and his cohort (who are calling themselves Strengthen the Shield) offer “criticism and dissent but nothing productive.” “These individuals have been coasting as part of the P.B.A.’s board for many years, and they have brought nothing productive or innovative to the table,” he added. Shortly before that, the PBA released a statement claiming that Lynch has never directly called for an apology from de Blasio “regarding his lack of support for the police or his reaction to the Garner jury decision.”
As the New York Times notes, both Hernandez and Anthony are among the cops under indictment for 2011’s ticket fixing scandal, which Fusco insisted “won’t even be an issue,” regardless of how they plead.