Staten Island Advance
December 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio to new cops at NYPD graduation: 'You will confront all the problems that plague our society.'

By Eddie DAnna | 

Eddie DAnna
Police Commissioner William Bratton addresses the NYPD graduating class during a ceremony at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- With his relationship with police officers in a tenuous state, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday referred to the force as a "noble calling," and praised the newest members of the city's Police Department for their courage during the NYPD graduation ceremony.

"It is an honor to call you officer," said de Blasio, speaking before 884 new cops during the ceremony at Madison Square Garden. "You have reached this moment in your lives through hard work, and I want to congratulate you all for what you have achieved."

De Blasio received some boos as he approached the podium.

De Blasio referred to the line-of-duty deaths of Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, highlighting their sacrifice.

"Thank you, for choosing for what is a noble calling. All 8.4 million New Yorkers depend on you," he said. "It's a noble calling, because you stand for everyone around you. You serve the people of the greatest city in the world. You serve in the greatest and finest police department on this earth."

De Blasio told them they would be working to protect "people you don't even know -- total strangers -- linked by our common humanity."

"You will confront all the problems that plague our society. Problems you didn't create," he said. 

As that point, someone in the crowd shouted out, "No, you did," according to

Police Commissioner William Bratton addressed the officers after de Blasio, telling them that the administration has "a passion for this department" and is dedicated to keeping its members safe and well-trained.

De Blasio's relationship with police officers and their unions have been in a tenuous state since the Eric Garner grand jury decision at the beginning of the month.

Union officials felt de Blasio's rhetoric following that decision added to an anti-cop climate in the city. Union officials created a petition for officers to sign barring the mayor from attending their funerals should they be killed in the line of duty.

Tensions grew further after Ramos and Liu were shot "execution-style" as they sat in their marked NYPD vehicle in Brooklyn last weekend by a man who said he was avenging the in-custody deaths of Garner and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Officers turned their backs to de Blasio when he arrived at the hospital the night of the shootings.

They turned their backs to him once again on Saturday, as he delivered remarks during Ramos' funeral.