July 18, 2016: 8:20 p.m.
By MARK TOOR
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch continued his war of words with Mayor de Blasio, criticizing him July 15 for remarks he made on a radio show that “raise serious concerns about his callous attitude towards the men and women who keep our city safe.”
Mr. Lynch’s assaults on the Mayor have intensified in recent months as efforts to increase pay for Police Officers and improve line-of-duty-disability benefits for younger PBA members have stalled.
‘Brushed Off Cop Concerns’
Mr. de Blasio appeared earlier that day on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show to discuss public-safety matters and take questions from listeners.
“When a police officer called in to say that members of the NYPD are hesitant to be proactive for fear of lawsuits, he dismissed those concerns,” Mr. Lynch said in a statement. “But when the next caller said police officers are ‘racist in their hearts’ the Mayor did not stop her, he did not attempt to correct her, nor did he ever step up and defend our police officers in his answer. The Mayor’s silence is indefensible, and feeds a growing bias and misperception of why and how New York City police officers do their job.”
After praising the work the NYPD is doing, Mr. de Blasio told the officer, “Now, on the question of fear of being sued—I understand where that fear comes from, but I also think bluntly there are a lot of voices that are not giving you the full truth about what’s happening.”
He said that the Civilian Complaint Review Board had speeded up its handling of complaints and that the Law Department had become more aggressive in contesting nuisance suits against cops.
The female caller identified herself as a 69-year-old grandmother dreading the time her grandsons become old enough to drive. “I think many of these policemen are very racist,” she said. “They’re racist in their heart. And when the black ones join the force, they have to comply with the rules because it’s blue lives. And if they try to say anything, if they do want to say anything, then they become targets.”
‘Half People of Color’
Mr. de Blasio’s response included: “The New York City Police Department today is almost half people of color. It is almost half New York City residents. Those are very big changes from 10 or 20 years ago…We are instituting implicit bias-training…”
Mr. Lynch’s statement concluded, “The reality is that our officers are committed to making sure every New Yorker and every community in New York City is protected, and yet are forced to do so in an increasingly hostile and dangerous environment.
“We need the Mayor and our elected officials to understand that demeaning the cop on the street will not fix generations of racial tensions in our country, and when the leader of the city fails to defend the honor of our cops, he is creating a destructive climate in New York City that will have an enormous impact on public safety.”