October 31, 2007

Union Demands Apology for Mayor's 'Hero' Comments

BY Staff Reporter of the Sun

A police officers' union is demanding that Mayor Bloomberg apologize for saying a deceased detective who worked for more than 400 hours at ground zero after the attacks of September 11, 2001, was not a hero.

Mr. Bloomberg retreated from his statement yesterday, but stopped short of apologizing. He said the detective, James Zadroga, was a dedicated police officer who put himself in harm's way hundreds of times throughout his career.

"I didn't mean to hurt the family or impugn his reputation," he said.

The city's medical examiner, Charles Hirsch, said he had determined Zadroga's death to be related to intravenous injection of prescription pills, not to breathing the air at ground zero. Before accepting an award at Harvard University on Monday, Mr. Bloomberg said, "Nobody wanted to hear that."

"We wanted to have a hero," he said. "And there are plenty of heroes. It's just in this case, science says this was not a hero.

The president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, said in a statement yesterday that it is despicable for Mr. Bloomberg to "tarnish the reputation and memory of a man who was a hero by nature."