New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: Police were disrespectful to turn backs
Police head William Bratton says officers embarrassed themselves
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?"
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters