The president of the NYPD union slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio in reaction to the deaths of two officers who were ambushed and gunned down in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday in Brooklyn.
“There’s blood on many hands tonight,” Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said late Saturday. “Those that incited violence on this street under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did everyday.
“We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated,” Lynch continued. “That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.”
Also on Saturday evening, video obtained by the New York Post showed several officers turning their backs on the mayor as he made his way down a hallway at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, where Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu had earlier been pronounced dead.
[youtube CJUy_S8UUfY nolink]
The Post also reported that earlier in the evening, de Blasio approached a group of officers outside the hospital and told them, “We’re all in this together.”
“No, we’re not,” an officer responded, according to the Post, which cited another policeman who witnessed the exchange as its source.
Following the shunning by officers in the hospital hallway, de Blasio spoke emotionally of meeting the families of the deceased officers and praying over their bodies.
“We depend on our police to protect us against forces of criminality and evil,” de Blasio said. “They are a foundation of our society, and when they are attacked, it is an attack on the very concept of decency.”
The mayor declined to address a question about the possible political ramifications of the killings, saying it was “time to think about these families. I don’t think it’s a time for politics or political analysis. It’s a time to think about families that just lost their father, their husband, their son.”
Lynch and de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following a Staten Island grand jury decision Dec. 3 to not indict a police officer in connection with the death of Eric Garner. Garner was stopped by police this past July on suspicion of selling so-called “loosies”, or untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer appearing to put Garner in a chokehold and wrestle him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, “I can’t breathe” before he lost consciousness and later died.
Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests the grand jury decision, which closely followed a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said they were investigating whether the suspect, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley had attended any rallies or demonstrations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.