|Updated February 25, 2016 8:05 PM|
|Richard Emery, the newly appointed chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, convenes the board for the first time during a special public meeting in its Manhattan office on Aug. 6, 2014.|
The head of the independent city agency that fields complaints against the NYPD insisted Thursday that he has never derided a police officer as a “pig” and offered an apology to anyone “offended” by a remark he aimed at police unions.
Civilian Complaint Review Board chairman Richard Emery said he has the “utmost respect for policing as a civic function and police officers as people and public servants who selflessly serve all of us.”
In an interview published Wednesday, he had told the New York Daily News he won’t be pushed out by of his post “because some union is squealing like a stuck pig.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier Thursday backed police union calls for Emery’s ouster unless the remark was a “mistake” and Emery apologized.
“If it wasn’t a mistake, and that’s how he feels, I think he should resign,” the governor said in Albany.
“If he believes what he said about police officers — which was highly distasteful and ugly — I don’t know how anyone, how a police officer would ever believe he has an open mind,” Cuomo said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio described his appointee’s remarks as “insensitive and inappropriate” but did not agree he should step down.
“Under Chairman Emery, the CCRB is functioning a lot better,” de Blasio said at City Hall, adding that the agency — which investigates and make recommendations on allegations of misconduct by police officers — has dramatically reduced its case-processing times.
In his statement Thursday, Emery said he has “never and never would use the word ‘pig’ to refer to police officers.”
He continued: “To the extent that anyone was offended by my poor choice of words, I apologize and want to make clear that nothing I said was directed at our superb public servants.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, reiterated his call for Emery’s resignation or dismissal.
“Emery cannot take back his words and his apology is disingenuous at best,” Lynch said in a statement.
Sergeants’ Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins also rejected the mea culpa.
“He knew exactly what he was saying and how it would be interpreted,” Mullins said in a statement.
The two unions have taken issue with Emery’s civil rights law firm representing a Queens man who suing an NYPD officer and sergeant under CCRB investigation for alleged excessive use of force.
Emery’s tie to the law firm has clearance from the city Conflicts of Interest Board, though he must recuse himself from cases involving the CCRB. He told the Daily News there are internal discussions at his firm about withdrawing from the Queens case.