New York City's police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, is urging its members to ban Mayor Bill de Blasio from their funerals, the latest episode in the ongoing clash between the mayor and the city's law-enforcement power structure.
Officers are encouraged to fill out a form on the union's website titled "Don't Insult My Sacrifice" to request that neither de Blasio nor Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito attend their funeral, should they be killed in the line of duty.
The form reads:
I, _____________________, as a New York City police officer, request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty. Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito's consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York City police officer is an insult to that officer's memory and sacrifice.
For months, PBA President Patrick Lynch has complained about what he views as insufficient support from the mayor, particularly after the July 17 death of Eric Garner, who died after NYPD officers put him in a chokehold. In the wake of the incident, de Blasio recounted telling his 17-year-old biracial son, Dante, about the need to be careful around police officers. Lynch accused de Blasio of "stirring the emotions of the street" and throwing officers "under the bus."
De Blasio and Mark-Viverito issued a joint statement calling the new PBA form "deeply disappointing."
"Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics," said the 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."
Police Commissioner William Bratton hasn't commented on the controversy.
Since taking office, de Blasio has struggled to balance supporting the NYPD with acknowledging the distrust many have when it comes to racial profiling, exemplified by the controversial "Stop and Frisk" policy.
"There's a difference between saying we should respect our officers, which of course we should," de Blasio said in response to criticism from Lynch this month, "versus the reality that so many parents have felt that unfortunately their child might confront unfair treatment."
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