NYPD officers have turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio twice since the shooting of two police officers a little over a week ago, but there was less tension on Monday morning during the NYPD cadet graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden. There were no protests from the 884 cadets as de Blasio took the podium, but a few spectators booed and stood to turn their backs to him. At one point, de Blasio said, “You will be confronted with problems you didn’t create …” and someone in the audience shouted, “No, you did,” drawing a smattering of applause.
“We heard a mix of applause and boos today. Want to remind folks that today was not the first time a NYC Mayor has been booed at a police graduation,” said a statement from the mayor’s office, which noted that Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Dinkins, and even Mayor Giuliani have been booed at police graduation ceremonies
Those present said it appeared that some of the clapping was meant to drown out the heckler:
Following the few initial jeers, the crowd remained silent as de Blasio spoke. The mayor praised the new officers’ “heroic choice” and vowed that the city will do everything it can to protect them. The applause afterward was reportedly “tepid,” but there was no booing.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton got a warmer response:
Pat Lynch, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president who accused de Blasio of having “blood on his hands,” was also seated behind the podium. Unsurprisingly, the two did not shake hands:
The event ended with a tribute to the two slain cops, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.