Public Sector Alliance 3:55 p.m. | Dec. 24, 2014


Despite his silence, P.B.A. chief Lynch remains in the news

By Azi Paybarah

On Saturday night, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch said Mayor Bill de Blasio had “blood” on his hands for the deaths of two officers who were shot and killed by a man claiming he was avenging the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Lynch hasn’t spoken publicly since uttering those words and has said he will refrain from further public comment until after the funerals for officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

But Lynch's self-imposed public silence hasn't kept him out of the news.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg.com ran a nearly 1,100-word profile of the P.B.A. chief under the headline, "Meet Patrick Lynch, the Sharpest Thorn in de Blasio’s Side."

Today, Lynch is the subject of a front-page profile in the Times (1,275 words). Online, the headline is "After Shootings, Police Union Chief Deepens Rift With de Blasio." In print, the headline reads, "New Fight for a Police Bullhorn After 2 Killings."

Metro also published a story today about Lynch, focusing on the fact he is up for re-election as P.B.A. president next year. And veteran police reporter Murray Weiss, citing an unnamed source, published a detailed account of Lynch’s remarks to about 1,000 rookie officers in which he reportedly told the new officers to "connect with the community."

I asked P.B.A. spokesman Al O’Leary if Lynch was receiving any advice or guidance from public relations experts, media consultants or other outside sources.

In an email to Capital, O’Leary—himself a former reporter and veteran spokesman—wrote: “No outside pr firm. I handle all the media stuff. The higher profile is because no one else is defending the cops. [former mayor Michael] Bloomberg and [former police commissioner Ray] Kelly were staunch supporters but the new crowd isn't. In fact, most are cop haters. So Pat has had to step up and fill the gap. His advisers are all PBA staffers or board members.”

When Lynch was elected P.B.A. president in 1999, longtime police journalist Len Levitt wrote the election of “reformer Pat Lynch … can only be described as revolutionary.” According to Levitt, “Lynch, 35, a community affairs officer in Brooklyn's 90th Precinct, won with 6,458 votes to Jim Savage's 4,528 and [Ed} Mahoney's 3,795 in a turnout considered heavy by union standards. Jim Higgins, the candidate of Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari and former Deputy Mayor Peter Powers—i.e., of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir—ran last with 1,970 votes.”

At the time, Lynch was represented by Dan Klores communications, Levitt noted.