New York Daily News

January 15, 2015, 4:10 AM

  

 

De Blasio's sorry performance heats up his war with the NYPD

 

He needed to acknowledge cops' complaints. Instead, he doubled down on the very words that insulted them

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, ERIN DURKIN, KENNETH LOVETT

Mayor de Blasio has gone to war with the NYPD, risking consequences that could be disastrous for New York.

Mistaking stubbornness for strength, the mayor ruled out expressing any regret for the words and deeds that have cost him command of the police force.

“Things that I have said that I believe are what I believe, and you can’t apologize for your fundamental beliefs,” de Blasio declared, ensuring that New Yorkers will face an extended period of conflict between cops and the mayor, cops and the citizenry.

The mayor’s refusal to reconsider stances that have helped transform the NYPD in the eyes of the world from an indomitable anti-terror unit into factional mutineers was an act of recklessness.

Think Paris.

Think Paris here.

Think of the invitation being extended by disarray that’s become endemic under de Blasio.

As New York approaches the fifth week since the assassinations of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, a wiser choice was demanded of the mayor.

For starters, he needed to grapple with the fact that an elected official can be sure that he or she is right on an issue of great sensitivity, only to give enormous offense to others who happen to disagree.

The outcome can be poisonously debilitating, and never more so than when the issue involves racial attitudes.

In campaign attacks on stop-question-frisk, in placing the Rev. Al Sharpton on a par with Commissioner Bill Bratton at a public City Hall meeting, in suggesting that young black males need to be wary of the NYPD, and in citing centuries of racism as a factor behind the chokehold death of Eric Garner, police union leaders believe that de Blasio tagged the Finest as prejudiced abusers.

As even Bratton noted Tuesday, the appointment as First Lady Chirlane McCray’s chief of staff of Rachel Noerdlinger, a former top aide to Sharpton whose boyfriend was a convicted felon, only intensified police alienation.

Now, by refusing to acknowledge even the possibility that the cops have valid complaints, by ruling out even the chance that he gave unwarranted offense to individual officers, the mayor confirmed for the rank-and-file that his attempts to praise his way into the good graces of the Finest are hollow.

Does the mayor fundamentally believe that he made the right call in staging the confrontation between Bratton and Sharpton?

Does he fundamentally believe that racism dating back to slavery pushed a white cop toward using a chokehold on Garner?

Does he fundamentally believe that the Garner case demonstrated why his mixed-race son Dante has cause to fear cops?

That’s where the record now stands, because de Blasio blindly failed to make the nuanced distinctions that are necessary when a person in power discusses racial matters.

While no one disputes America’s grotesque history, de Blasio had no justification for suggesting cause and effect in the Garner case. Similarly, while many parents caution black children about relating to cops, de Blasio placed the phenomenon in a setting that communicated that the concerns extended to getting choked to death.

There had been many calls for a mediator to step in as a way to bridge the gap between de Blasio, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and other police labor leaders. Bill Clinton’s name had been floated, along with Gov. Cuomo’s.

Forget it.

Given the nature of the divide between de Blasio and the cops, the notion was unworkable. The prayer was that the mayor would at least express regret that, however heartfelt his words, many cops heard them as a personal insult when none was intended.

Nine days ago, the Daily News called on de Blasio to END THIS WAR NOW by accepting “responsibility for inflaming the police with remarks that, delivered in the context of the grand jury’s refusal to issue a chokehold indictment, cast the Finest as guilty of racial abuse.”

Fatefully, he instead ratcheted up a battle that promises no good to anyone.