Mayor de Blasio Booed at NYPD Graduation Ceremony

(Photo: NYC Mayor's Office)

All eyes were on Bill de Blasio at the NYPD graduation ceremony held this morning. After an expanding rift between the Mayor and police officers was confirmed when “scores of mourning police officers” standing outside the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos turned their backs as the mayor delivered his eulogy, many expected to see another demonstration of disapproval.

However audience members at the ceremony held for 884 graduates at Madison Square Garden were split on de Blasio’s remarks, which were clearly aimed at mending the rift. The Mayor’s speech was full of praise for cops, who he once again called “peacemakers.”

As the Mayor took to the podium at Madison Square Garden, the audience erupted into some “boos and catcalls,” though they were barely audible on the live stream. Clapping could also be heard.

“Thank you for choosing what is a noble calling,” he said. “You serve in the greatest and finest police department on this earth […] It takes a special kind of person to put their lives on the line for others, to stare down the danger.” De Blasio also praised police officers for their role in fighting poverty and “all manner of problems,” in a “still too divided society.” He said that officers “can be part of the solution.”

Police Commissioner Bratton, who called the demonstration against de Blasio “very inappropriate” when he appeared on Face the Nation yesterday, used somewhat softer language at the graduation ceremony today when he acknowledged that the city is in the midst of a “difficult time,” but promised that “we will work through it.”

Much like de Blasio’s remarks, Bratton’s speech was full of praise for police officers. The Commissioner emphasized that, though he’s moved up to the highest ranking office in the NYPD, he still identifies with his roots as a rank-and-file officer. “There are those that seek to use [the term ‘cop’] in a derogatory fashion, but […] it is a name of distinction,” he said. “For 44 years, I’ve been privileged to call myself a cop.”

However, Bratton had a few words that seemed to be at odds with rhetoric heard from Pat Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. The NYPD union leader, in an email sent to members days after Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed in Bed-Stuy by a gunman, wrote that officers’ “number one priority must be to go home safely at each tour.” Lynch said the murders were a reminder that “our uniform makes us a target.”

Today, Commissioner Bratton emphasized to police academy graduates that, as officers, they have a duty to one another as well as to civilians. “In taking that oath … you are no longer just responsible for yourself, you are today responsible for keeping […] other cops safe,” he said. “And the 35,000 of you collectively will keep this city safe.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I have to side with the police officers over this – I believe they have every right to engage in “civil disobedience”. I completely disagree with them, and I’m well aware that Pat Lynch is stoking most of this for collective bargaining purposes. And yes, Rudy Guiliani is acting like a wingnut – as usual. But cops can’t organize a protest – that would be insane. So they protest during ceremonies. I say – they should be allowed to protest just like the rest of us. All lives matter. Black Lives. Hispanic Lives. Cops Lives.

    Civil disobedience is for all – and it’s design is to make you uncomfortable. And everyone is allowed to do it.

  2. If police officers show lack of discipline
    by publicly disrespecting the Mayor,
    how can we expect them to respect
    the public that they are sworn to serve. and protect?
    No more violence against police officers.
    And, no more Eric Garners. 

    We can strive for both.
    We must have both.

    We can’t turn our backs on each other in this City!.
    
Fight the real criminals, ….not each other.

  3. I am a black retired NYC cop …… How would those white cops feel if their mother, brother, sister etc were being choked to death … and they kept saying “I CANT BREATH” and he kept choking until they died ….. That cop deserved to spend the rest of his life in jail for MURDER. By the way my book “Where the sun didn’t shine” Is on line at Barns and Noble ….. TRUE story about a black NYC cop … Revealing, SHOCKING.

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