An Assemblywoman’s attack against NYPD officers for not wearing masks on the subway after the funeral for slain Officer Jason Rivera has police and their supporters fuming — especially after the lawmaker liked a response to a Twitter thread comparing the NYPD to Nazis.
The Twitter war kicked off Monday when state Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) retweeted a video depicting NYPD officers waiting for the subway without wearing masks.
Niou, who represents the Lower East Side, slammed the cops for what she described as turning Rivera’s tragic death into “a frightening show of intimidation” and “a massive health risk to every New Yorker.”
In response to the thread, a Twitter user with the handle AT-AT Stampede said Niou was probably referring to “their fascism rally on the streets above” alongside photos depicting a Nazi march and NYPD officers lining 5th Avenue. The mention of a “rally” was apparently a reference to the funeral for Rivera, which hundreds of officers attended last week.
Niou initially liked the tweet, but then unliked it after being contacted by the Daily News about it Tuesday.
By then — at least as far as the rank-and-file police union was concerned — the damage had already been done.
“This is why our streets have gotten out of control,” PBA President Pat Lynch said of Niou’s tweet. “Our legislators are busy boosting anti-cop hate online when they should be fixing the laws that they broke.
Lynch then noted that thousands of New Yorkers came out in support of the families of the slain officers in their moment of grief.
“We’re glad that New Yorkers sent a resounding message last week and again this week,” he added. “We’re not going to let self-serving politicians divide us again.”
Lynch’s response comes at an emotionally raw time for the NYPD and the city.
Police poured into St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Tuesday for the wake of Wilbert Mora. He, along with Rivera, was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in Harlem a week and a half ago. Rivera’s funeral, which was held last Friday, led to hundreds of NYPD officers filling the streets outside of the packed cathedral.
After months of campaigning on a tough-on-crime platform, the officers’ deaths have served as an added impetus for Mayor Adams to renew his push to combat gun violence in the city. Speaking Friday at Rivera’s funeral, Adams, a former NYPD captain, tried to encourage cops who at times may feel that the public doesn’t appreciate them.
“There were days when I thought the public did not understand and appreciate the job we were doing,” he said in his eulogy to Rivera. “I want to tell you officers: they do, they do. Don’t ever give up on the people of this city because they will never give up on you.”
Adams’ press office did not immediately respond to a question regarding Niou’s tweet Tuesday.
When asked about the Twitter thread she sparked, Niou told The News that she didn’t intend to like the tweet comparing cops to Nazis, but that she didn’t regret criticizing the NYPD for not wearing masks while using the subway system either.
“Sometimes you just accidentally press stuff,” she said. “I’ll unlike it ... I wouldn’t have liked it.”
Despite that, she held firm on her initial tweet, and said it’s clear to her that police were trying to send a message by riding trains without masks, even though it’s required to prevent the spread of COVID.
“The one thing I thought was disgusting was they were purposefully not wearing their masks. It was a show,” Niou said Tuesday. “It was a show of force. That was a choice.”
Niou also pointed to the attacks against her on Twitter due to her initial tweet, specifically one leveled by Derrick Gibson, a longshot Republican hopeful for governor, who told her to “go back to China.”
“The only thing I remember,” said Niou, “was people saying racist things.”
What stuck out to New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Brooklyn) though, was the tweet from Niou that kicked off the war of words.
“Taking cracks at police officers returning from a funeral might please her super woke friends, but most New Yorkers give these heroes a standing ovation for their service,” he said. “The idea that seeing a video of police officers on the subway is ‘frightening’ to a member of the state legislature is amongst the most sick things I’ve ever heard.”