NYPD Chief: “Inappropriate” for Police Officers to Turn Their Backs on Mayor de Blasio

NYPD Chief: “Inappropriate” for Police Officers to Turn Their Backs on Mayor de Blasio
Source: AP
Source: AP

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said on Sunday it was "very inappropriate" that some officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio while he delivered the eulogy for a slain police officer on Saturday.

Many officers had turned their backs on de Blasio when he entered Woodhull Hospital on Dec. 20, after Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car. The display, meant to show that many officers have lost trust in the mayor, appeared again during the funeral for Officer Ramos' on Saturday when hundreds of law enforcement officers outside the church turned their backs when de Blasio appeared on a large screen to deliver his eulogy

"I think it was very inappropriate at that event," Bratton said on CBS' Face the Nation. "That funeral was held to honor Officer Ramos, and to bring politics or to bring issues into that event, I think was very inappropriate, and I do not support it. He is the mayor of New York. He was there representing the citizens of New York to express their remorse and their regret at that death. It was inappropriate, and at the same time, it is reflective, unfortunately, of the feelings of some of our officers."

Bratton added that members of the police force of America, from rank-and-file officers to leadership, feel under attack following the controversial deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, including "the federal government at the highest levels." Some police officers and former New York officials have blamed Mayor de Blasio for creating an "atmosphere of negativity" toward the NYPD in the weeks following a grand jury decision not to charge an officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

"See us. See the police," urged Bratton. "See why they have the anxieties and the perceptions they have."

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani concurred, despite recently decrying state and federal officials himself. (He openly criticized President Barack Obama for his lack of police support following the non-indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.)

"The mayor of the city of New York should not be blamed for the murder of those police officers," Giuliani told Face the Nation. "It doesn't matter if you like the mayor or you don't like the mayor, you have to respect the mayor's position."

Correction: Dec. 30, 2014
An earlier version of this article identified the officer not indicted in the Eric Garner case as Eric Holder. The officer in question is Daniel Pantaleo.