Updated: June 30, 2016, 8:01 AM
BY JENNIFER FERMINO
Mayor de Blasio said he finds it “intolerable” when protesters lodge “vile” insults at cops, but also defended the Black Lives Matter movement as “necessary.” (KEN MURRAY/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Dante de Blasio is an “exemplary” teen who never gets in trouble - but even he is scared of being a victim of police violence, Mayor de Blasio said on Friday.
The mayor, speaking about race matters on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, spoke openly about his son after an African-American Queens grandmother called in to complain that she was afraid “racist” cops would hurt her teenaged grandsons.
His comments immediately touched a nerve with the Police Benevolent Association, who blasted him for not vigoriously defending the NYPD against the woman’s charges.
“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,” said PBA President Pat Lynch.
Lynch, who has a long history of fighting with the mayor over race issues and policing, also said the mayor was “creating a destructive climate in New York City that will have an enormous impact on public safety."
But De Blasio, speaking on the radio show, said the woman’s point of view was important because it showed the “fear that parents of color, parents of children of color, feel all the time
Then the mayor, whose children are half black, brought up Dante.
“He is everything you could ask for ... He is an exemplary student. He follows every law,” the mayor said of his son, a student at Yale University.
“And yet, he has that fear, that he will be misunderstood, \[that\] there will be an assumption [ABOUT HIM].”
He said the teen’s feelings are why “Black Lives Matter as an idea is so important."
“We have to, as a country, dignify and respect young men of color in particular, all people obviously, but young men of color have been the focal point of so much suspicion, so much negativity,” he said.
In a sign of how much of a hot-button topic race and policing has become — and how different the views are — the prior caller was a black cop named Troy, who complained to the mayor about low morale in the department.
“People have marched around protest lines calling me a murderer. They don’t even know me,” said the cop.
|Dante de Blasio is an “exemplary” teen who never gets in trouble, Mayor de Blasio said. (RICHARD HARBUS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)|
De Blasio said he finds it “intolerable” when protesters lodge “vile” insults at cops, but also defended the Black Lives Matter movement as “necessary.”
The officer also said that cops are afraid to stop people now that the department has curbed the use of stop and frisk.
“They’re not stopping anyone, it’s a liability and you’ll probably end up getting sued,” said Troy.
De Blasio told Troy — who also praised some policies enacted under de Blasio — that he was sorry he felt that way, and the city had instituted policies that would reduce lawsuits against officers.
His comments to that cop also angered the PBA.
“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. 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,” said Lynch.