Mayor Bill de Blasio today called NYPD officers who turned their backs to him during a funeral for a slain cop yesterday—for the second time in just over a week—”disrespectful” to the victims’ families and to the city.
“They were disrespectful to the families involved. That’s the bottom line. They were disrespectful to the families who lost their loved ones and I can’t understand why anyone would do something like that,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters today at a 1 Police Plaza press conference. “I also think they were disrespectful to the people of this city, who in fact honor the work of the NYPD.”
Hundreds of officers turned their backs Sunday as the mayor was shown on a large screen delivering a eulogy at the funeral for Officer Wenjian Liu, killed with Officer Rafael Ramos as they sat in a patrol car in Brooklyn just before Christmas. The protest came even after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton urged officers—but did not order them—not to turn their backs, following a similar display at Ramos’ funeral.
Mr. Bratton said concerns about what he saw at the Ramos funeral spurred him to issue that memo at roll calls before the service for Liu.
“I share the mayor’s concern about the idea of what is effectively a labor action being taken in the middle of a funeral, where we are honoring the death of two police officers,” an emotional Mr. Bratton said. “I just don’t understand it. I’m sorry, but I just do not understand it. What was the need, in the middle of that ceremony, to engage in a political action? And I’m disappointed. I’m very disappointed.”
Officers have a right to register their displeasure, Mr. Bratton said, but in doing so in uniform at a colleague’s funeral they had “embarrassed themselves.”
“Come demonstrate outside City Hall. Come demonstrate outside police headquarters,” he said.
Today was the first time Mr. de Blasio has taken questions since two weeks ago, at a December 22 press conference that was held before officers turned their backs to him at the Ramos funeral.