NYPD Union Leader: Apology From De Blasio Would Go A Long Way Patrick Lynch, the head of the big New York City Police Department union, the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, has been a outspoken critic of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

NYPD Union Leader: Apology From De Blasio Would Go A Long Way

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We've reported here on the tense relations between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city's police. At the funeral Sunday of Officer Wenjin Liu, hundreds of officers turned their backs on the mayor, as officers had done at the earlier funeral of Liu's partner, Raphael Ramos. Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio, the target of that snub, had this to say.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: They were disrespectful to the families involved. That's the bottom line. They were disrespectful to the families who had lost their loved one.

SIEGEL: Officer Patrick Lynch did not turn his back on the mayor. But the head of the big New York City police union, the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, has said the mayor has blood on his hands for having encouraged police haters. And Pat Lynch joins us now from New York. Welcome.

PATRICK LYNCH: Robert, thank you for having me.

SIEGEL: First, to pick up on what the mayor said, was it a point of disrespect to the mourners of officer Liu to have turned his funeral into a silent protest against Mayor de Blasio?

LYNCH: Absolutely not. It's not disrespectful to our hero police officers or for the supporters in the street of NYPD. Civilians and police officers from around the country alike who stood there who knows that City Hall is creating a climate where every interaction with police officers turn into a confrontation. And we had warned that the atmosphere needs to be turned down in the street, that chants of - what do we want, dead cops; and when do we want them, now - went unchecked. And we cautioned that that has to stop because it will lead to just that. And unfortunately, it did.

SIEGEL: When you're saying that it did, you are attributing the shooting of the two officers to protests on the street and to the people who didn't stop that?

LYNCH: We're attributing it to the atmosphere that's created when it goes unchecked.

SIEGEL: Right now there's been a very sharp falloff, it seems an unnatural falloff, in arrests and even tickets, summons being written by New York police. Is there an undeclared rulebook protest underway by the NYPD right now?

LYNCH: Absolutely not. What you have now is police officers being assassinated. So we had to redouble our efforts to make sure that police officers are safe so that we can keep the public safe. That means we have to double up on jobs. The police department does not have any solo foot posts or any solo vehicles on the road. They are doubled up. So police officers are out there doing their job, and last night's a perfect example. Up in the Bronx, police officers, when a robbery came over, ran out of the station house to stop the robbery and ended up getting shot on the street.

SIEGEL: Since the event that took place in New York City that prompted so much protest there was the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, I have to ask you, from what you know of that, I understand you don't think it warranted an indictment of a police officer. Did it strike you as a good, bad or average bit of police work that resulted in the death of that man?

LYNCH: I think it's police officers that were sent to that location by complaints from the community, a policy of City Hall to go after what they call looseys in those small crime...

SIEGEL: Lose cigarettes, you mean.

LYNCH: Cigarettes, correct. And police headquarters sent us there. And there's no script for police officers. And then what we had is we had someone that resisted arrest and said, I'm not going. So a lot of folks are telling us what we shouldn't do and what we can't do...

SIEGEL: No, but I'm asking you your judgment. I'm asking you your judgment.

LYNCH: But no one is telling us what we should do when a police officer, if faced with a resisting arrest situation...

SIEGEL: Well, I mean, if everyone who resisted arrest were killed, that would be - there would be a lot more deaths in the country. I mean, your reaction to what you saw there - I mean, I know that the PBA is there to protect the police and to stand up for the police. But, honestly, was that effective policing, or did somebody really screw up in Staten Island in uniform?

LYNCH: What you had is a person that resisted arrest who was in bad health, challenged a police - and I say you cannot resist arrest because resisting arrest leads to confrontation. Confrontation, unfortunately, leads to tragedy. And that's exactly what happened on that corner that day. We cannot send our police officers out to do the job and then not support them when something doesn't go exactly by script.

SIEGEL: Bill de Blasio is the mayor - the elected mayor of New York City. William Bratton is the police commissioner. Can the city take three more years of this kind of hostility between the cops and the men who've been placed in authority over the cops? Should you sit down with the mayor, perhaps, and cool things down?

LYNCH: We will always sit down, and we'll always have dialogues and discussion because New York City police officers want to effectively do their job, and safely, on the streets. And when he attacks the New York City Police Department, he's attacking his own department and his own policies. If the policy is wrong, then change it. We'll follow our orders and effectively police that policy.

SIEGEL: How far would an apology from the mayor go with you and with your men?

LYNCH: It would go a long way to say we can now start the dialogue on how to correct the problem and do our jobs better, rather constantly putting gasoline on the fire.

SIEGEL: But for having said the mayor has blood on his hands, more or less accusing him of complicity in the deaths of Ramos and Liu, would you be willing to apologize for that?

LYNCH: I will discuss why we feel that way, why our members feel that way and the atmosphere that's created on the street that went unchecked. And when we get there we can have a dialogue. We have to have a dialogue first.

SIEGEL: Patrick Lynch, thank you very much for talking with us.

LYNCH: Thank you, Robert. I appreciate the time.

SIEGEL: That's Patrick Lynch who is president of the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the head of the big police union in New York City.

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