The families of fallen officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos called for “peaceful coexistence”
between the NYPD and the city they police on Sunday night.
The call came after 24 hours of rancor that saw the top police union leader accuse Mayor Bill de Blasio of having blood on his hands in the death of the two cops, for suggesting that New Yorkers of color may be right to fear police and for meeting with the Justice League, which has organized protests against police over the death of Eric Garner.
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Officers lining the halls of Woodhull Hospital, where the two policemen were pronounced dead, turned their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio as as he arrived for a press conference with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
A short time later, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said “there’s blood on many hands tonight,” and the blood starts at City Hall. Lynch also said protesters who participated in recent peaceful marches on the deaths of Garner and other black men by police, were to blame for the officer’s deaths.
Lynch denied sending a widely-reported memo that circulated on Saturday, ordering two police cars to respond to every call. The memo said “the mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies,” and that the NYPD has become a “‘wartime’ police department.”
The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted out Saturday night “the blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio.” Former Gov. George Pataki said on Twitter the “barbaric acts” are a “predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric” of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The relationship between the police unions and City Hall has been strained since the Ferguson and Staten Island grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the killing of unarmed black men. Last month, the PBA said de Blasio threw officers “under the bus” during a speech following the Garner decision. De Blasio recounted conversations he’s had with his son, Dante, who is bi-racial, on how to interact with the police.
Earlier this month, the PBA began circulating forms for officers to sign requesting de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito not attend their funerals if they were killed in the line of duty.