December 8, 2014 5:45 pm

PBA to de Blasio: ‘You Threw Us Under Bus’

Fomenting Fear of Cops?


PATRICK J. LYNCH: ‘Teach kids respect for cops.’  

Simmering tensions between the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and Mayor de Blasio boiled over last week, with PBA President Patrick J. Lynch charging that cops felt Mr. de Blasio had “thrown them under a bus” with his reaction to a grand-jury verdict in the killing of Eric Garner.

In an appearance in Staten Island shortly after the announcement Dec. 3 that the grand jury had decided not to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, Mr. de Blasio said the incident had reawakened fears for his 17-year-old biracial son, Dante.

Fear of Police

“[Wife] Chirlane [McCray] and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers he may face,” Mr. de Blasio said. “A good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face—we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.

“...There are so many families in this city that feel this every night: is my child safe?”

Mr. Lynch fired back at a press conference the following day. “He spoke about we have to teach our children that their interaction with the police, that they have to be afraid of NYC police officers, and that’s not true,” Mr. Lynch said.

“We need to teach our children—our sons and our daughters, no matter who they look like—to respect New York City police officers, teach them to comply with police officers, even if they feel it’s unjust; that police officers are protecting them from the criminals on the street.”

‘Can’t Resist Arrest’

Mr. Lynch listed a menu of items he said Mr. de Blasio should have talked about. “We did not hear that you cannot go out and break the law. What we did not hear is that you cannot resist arrest, that that’s a crime. We did not hear why the police officers were at the location that day, because the community complained.”

He noted that “resisting arrest leads to confrontation, confrontation leads to tragedy...Police officers do not have the option to walk away. If the Mayor wants to change policy and wants us to stand down on crime, let him say that.”

He continued, “What we need is for the Mayor to stand up with and for us as well. To say that we support New York City police officers who are protecting your right to protest. What police officers felt yesterday after that press conference is that they were thrown under the bus. That they were out there doing a difficult job in the middle of the night protecting the rights of those to protest, protecting our sons and daughters, and the Mayor was behind microphones like this, throwing them under a bus.”

‘We Deserve His Support’

“One hundred percent of our members are putting themselves out there every day. The Mayor should give that support.”

Unlike many officials, Mr. de Blasio did not criticize the grand jury’s decision. He spoke of personal contacts with Mr. Garner’s grieving family, calling him a “good man,” and expressed hopes that whatever protests arose from the decision would be peaceful.