July 8, 2016 12:50 p.m.
By MARA GAY
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio denounced on Friday the fatal shooting of police officers in Dallas as “horrific,” saying the country can only move forward by giving equal value to officers’ lives and those they are sworn to protect.
“An attack on our police is an attack on all of us,” said Mr. de Blasio, who oversees the largest municipal police force in the nation, during an appearance on WNYC radio. “Our police feel embattled and they feel often misunderstood and disrespected while they’re trying to protect us.”
“At the same time,” he said, “the grievances of many of our community members are based on decades and even centuries of pain.”
The mayor’s remarks came the morning after five officers were killed and seven others were wounded when shootings broke out Thursday night in downtown Dallas during a protest sparked by the fatal police shootings of black men this week in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Mr. de Blasio said the city would have a “very, very large” police presence at a protest expected to take place outside NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan Friday afternoon. He said NYPD officers were patrolling in pairs Friday to ensure their safety.
There was no evidence of a similar threat to the one in Dallas against the NYPD, the mayor said.
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat who took office in January 2014 following a campaign in which he pledged to improve the relationship between the New York Police Department and the city’s minority communities, has drawn sharp criticism from police union officials who say he has helped foster an antipolice climate.
On Friday, Mr. de Blasio stood by remarks he made Thursday about videos connected to the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. “No parent of color, or parent of a child of color in this country, can watch that and not be afraid,” said Mr. de Blasio, the father of two biracial children.
In response, Sgt. Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a New York City police union, said Thursday evening that the mayor had “lost his mind again.”
“It’s inappropriate again for the mayor to do what he’s doing.”
Asked Friday about Mr. Mullins’s criticism, Mr. de Blasio said, “I’m not going to get lost in any individual’s critique.”
Dramatic video shows an exchange of gunfire between a suspect and a law enforcement officer on a sidewalk outside a building in downtown Dallas on Thursday night. Warning: Graphic content. Photo: Randy Biart/AP.
“I don’t think anyone should participate in that back and forth and allow it to happen again,”
The comments by Mr. Mullins harked back to 2014 when thousands of police officers turned their back on the mayor after the killing of two NYPD officers. At the time, officers were angry, in part, over remarks Mr. de Blasio made in which he said he and his wife Chirlane McCray, who is black, have had to train their son Dante how to interact with the police.
Mr. de Blasio said Friday he stood by the remarks and said he was simply discussing, “a fact of life in America we have to grapple with.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest police union in the city, described the slaying of five officers in Dallas as a “senseless, coldblooded assassination.”
Mr. Lynch said elected leaders “fail us when they prejudge incidents without having all the facts and disparage all law enforcement.”
“We need to take an honest, hard look at everything that wrongfully inflames emotions against police officers if we are going to be able to bring police officers and the community together,” Mr. Lynch said.
The mayor was set to meet Friday with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton to discuss security in New York City in the wake of the Dallas attacks.
Write to Mara Gay at email@example.com