The fight between City Hall and the largest police union in the city continued to heat up on Friday as the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association fired off campaign to ban Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito from showing up at officers’ funerals.
A letter titled “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” allows the officer to sign his name on form that requesting that “Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refrain from attending my funeral services in the event that I am killed in the line of duty.”
It goes on to blame de Blasio and Mark-Viverito’s “consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve” as cause for the letter, and adds that their attendance would be an insult to the officer’s memory.
The PBA did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
De Blasio and Mark Viverito’s offices provided a joint statement lamenting the campaign.
“This is deeply disappointing,” wrote deBlasio spokesman Phil Walzak and Mark-Viverito spokesman Eric Koch.
“Incendiary rhetoric like this serves only to divide the city, and New Yorkers reject these tactics,” they added. “The mayor and the speaker both know better than to think this inappropriate stunt represents the views of the majority of police officers and their families.”
The letter is only the latest in an ongoing back and forth between the police union, as both sides remain in tense labor negotiations and protestors continue to decry the relationship between the NYPD and communities of color.
Last Wednesday, the City Council unveiled a series of reforms specifically in response to the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner by what critics still argue was an chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
The police union pushed back hard.
“Frankly, I am disgusted with the double talk coming out of this City Council,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement at the time. “They praise police with words and then take actions that clearly demonstrate their true lack of support for the very people who protect them and make their communities safe.”
On Friday, a group announced it would host a “Thank You NYPD” rally near City Hall on Friday, Dec. 19.
Read the letter below.