World

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: Police were disrespectful to turn backs

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio offered praise to the New York Police Department as a whole, while saying it was "disrespectful" that some officers turned their backs to him during a pair of funerals for slain police officers.

Police head William Bratton says officers embarrassed themselves

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the homicide rate in New York was the lowest it has been in more than 20 years, lauding the NYPD for its efforts amid accusations he is anti-police. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio offered praise to the New York Police Department as a whole, while saying it was "disrespectful" that some officers turned their backs to him during a pair of funerals for slain police officers. 

De Blasio said the actions were hurtful to the families of the two cops killed in an ambush last month. He also said Monday, in his first remarks on the officers' protests, that the public rebuke was an offence to the city at large.

Police Commissioner William Bratton also condemned their actions.

The rift between the police unions and de Blasio has created the biggest crisis of his mayoralty. The unions have blamed de Blasio for fostering an anti-NYPD atmosphere they believe contributed to the murders of the officers.

De Blasio and Bratton eulogized slain officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday as an incarnation of the American dream: a man who had emigrated from China at age 12 and devoted himself to helping others in his adopted country.

On Monday, de Blasio said New Yorkers shouldn't "get lost listening to the loudest voices of unity and discord," CBC correspondent Steven D'Souza reported.

The mayor instead focused on reduced crime numbers, including the lowest number of homicides in the city in more than 20 years.

"People of this city appreciate our police, they appreciate how hard the work is and they see the progress we're making," he said.

Bratton, who had asked officers not to make political statements during the funeral, said the officers who turned their backs embarrassed themselves.

"The idea of what is effectively a labour action being taken in the middle of a funeral where we're honouring the death of two police officers — I just don't understand it," Bratton said.  "I'm sorry  — what was the need?"

Law enforcement officers stand, with some turning their backs, as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on a monitor outside the funeral for NYPD officer Wenjian Liu on Sunday. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now