New York Daily News

 December 29, 2014, 1:43 AM


 

 

Bill Bratton: Police turning their backs on de Blasio was ‘very inappropriate’

 

The NYPD Commissioner said on ‘Face the Nation’ that the stunning show of disrespect for City Hall during the funeral for Officer Rafael Ramos was in poor taste. In a separate appearance on ‘Meet the Press,’ Bratton added that the rift between cops and Mayor de Blasio will likely ‘go on for a while.’

BY CHELSIA ROSE MARCIUS, STEPHEN REX BROWN

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday cops need to listen to concerns about police abuse.

They played politics during a eulogy.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday it was “very inappropriate” for police officers to turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio while he spoke at the funeral for assassinated hero cop Rafael Ramos.

“I certainly don’t support that action yesterday. I think it was very inappropriate at that event,” Bratton said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“That funeral was held to honor Officer Ramos, and to bring politics, to bring issues into that event was very inappropriate and I do not support it.”

SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS
Law enforcement officers turned their backs on a live video monitor showing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when he spoke at the funeral of slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos near Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens.

Bratton’s defense of de Blasio came a day after dozens of uniformed officers watching a live feed of the funeral flouted the mayor’s request to set aside protests for the heartbreaking funeral.

“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,” Bratton said.

Still, the city’s top cop admitted the issues revolving around the show of disrespect will linger for some time.

“I think it’s probably a rift that is going to go on for a while longer,” Bratton said in a separate appearance on “Meet the Press.”

“However, we will be making efforts to sit down and talk with the union leaders in particular to deal with their issues.”

A mayoral spokesman confirmed that de Blasio and the NYPD had invited the five police unions “to meet about fostering a constructive and responsible dialogue that moves us forward together.”

But before that can happen, de Blasio will face an ocean of blue again when he addresses a police graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at Madison Square Garden. It is unclear how cops will respond.

In the CBS interview, Bratton attributed much of the dispute between City Hall and cops to issues “far beyond race relations in this city,” including unresolved labor contracts.

MARK BONIFACIO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A mayoral spokesman confirmed that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD had invited the five police unions to meet about ongoing tensions.

“We’re at the tip of the iceberg at the moment. This is about the continuing poverty rates, the continuing growing disparity between the wealthy and the poor. It’s still about unemployment issues,” he said. “There are so many national issues that have to be addressed that it isn’t just policing.”

See Daily News photos of the funeral.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said communication with police would benefit from de Blasio admitting he made a mistake by not denouncing the subset of protesters who called for violence against cops.

“Mayor de Blasio, please say you’re sorry,” said Giuliani, who also appeared on “Face the Nation.”

“He created an impression with the police that he was on the side of the protesters.”

The outspoken ex-mayor said de Blasio didn’t deserve to be blamed for the assassinations of Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu. But as long as de Blasio continues counting the Rev. Al Sharpton among his closest allies, he deserves cops’ distrust, Giuliani said.

“When he loses Al Sharpton, maybe then he can have a better relationship with the New York City Police Department,” he said. “If you would like to have a poster boy for hating the police, it’s Al Sharpton.”

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch struck a more humble tone a day after the defiant display.

“Those of us who wear the blue of the NYPD have experienced love, support and respect in many forms from people from all over the nation, but none means more to us than the slight smile and nod of the head we have been receiving from New Yorkers,” he said in a statement of thanks.

THEODORE PARISIENNE FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEW
The burial site of slain NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos is seen at the Cypress Hills Cemetery on Sunday.

That was a far cry from Lynch’s earlier, now-notorious statement that “blood was on the hands” of de Blasio after maniac gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot Ramos and Liu on Dec. 20. Brinsley had claimed to be acting in revenge for the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Funeral arrangements for Liu were still being finalized, an NYPD spokesman said.

At the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where Brinsley ambushed the officers, about 50 civilians and cops held a vigil.

“We are officers of color and this is a Hispanic police officer. And (Ramos) was probably the best example of what we look for in police officers, what we seek to have in our community ,” said Tony Miranda, executive chairman of the National Latino Officers Association. “Officer Ramos and Officer Liu, they represented all that was good in law enforcement.”

THEODORE PARISIENNE FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEW
Dominick Artale pays his respects at Ramos' gravesite.

At Ramos’ grave in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, visitors also paid their respects. “No matter what people are saying about cops these days, this guy did not deserve it,” said Michael Angelo Hidalgo, an officer with the special victims unit who worked with Ramos at the 84th Precinct.

“He never hurt anyone. He was a really good cop,” Hidalgo, 45, said.

Bratton, meanwhile, reiterated words from his own eulogy, noting that cops need to have more empathy for concerns within the black communities about police abuse.

His call for dialogue applied to Washington, D.C., as well, where outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has prioritized reforming police practices that disproportionately affect minorities.

“They really do feel under attack, rank-and-file officers and much of American police leadership. They feel that they are under attack from the federal government at the highest levels,” Bratton said.

With Eli Rosenberg, Jennifer Fermino, Terence Cullen

sbrown@nydailynews.com