Bill de Blasio Has Warm Words for His Old Foe, Police Union Boss Patrick Lynch

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. (Photo: Alex Jones/New York Observer)
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. (Photo: Alex Jones/New York Observer) Alex Jones/Observer

A year ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch were at war—over contracts for rank-and-file officers, over the police killing of black Staten Islander Eric Garner, over Mr. de Blasio’s association with the Rev. Al Sharpton—and things were only about to get worse.

What a difference a year makes.

At the swearing-in ceremony for the new class of NYPD recruits, Mr. de Blasio singled out Mr. Lynch along with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and First Deputy Commissioner among the men with him on stage.

“I also want to thank someone who represents you in all the work you do, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Pat Lynch,” Mr. de Blasio told the audience of 678 new recruits at the academy in College Point, Queens. “Pat, thank you very much for being here today.”

Mr. de Blasio had a similarly gracious response when the Observer asked him about his kind comments about the man who last year said he had “blood on the hands” for the murders of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, and who reportedly once remarked that the mayor acted like he was “running a fucking revolution” and not a city.

“Well, look, he does his job as he sees fit, and, you know, again, I’m always willing to work with him. We agree on some things, we disagree on other things, but I’m always willing to work with him,” Mr. de Blasio said.

Besides continuing to battle the city over retroactive raises for his members for the years they went without a contract under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mr. Lynch has ripped the administration’s Civilian Complaint Review Board in recent months. He blasted its determination yesterday than an officer used excessive force in the mistaken identity arrest of retired tennis star James Blake.

Without alluding to Mr. Lynch, Mr. de Blasio praised the board today. The mayor appoints five of the CCRB’s 13 members—including its chairman, Richard Emery—while his police commissioner picks three more.

“I have a lot of respect for Chair Emery,” Mr. de Blasio said in response to a question about the Blake ruling. “I think he’s made the board much more efficient, much more fair for police officers and community members alike. There is a process here and I respect the process.”

It would appear Mr. de Blasio has no choice but to work with Mr. Lynch: he crushed two challengers in his union’s election in June with 70 percent of the vote.

The administration was at pains to emphasize the diversity of the recruits sworn in today—who represent the first tranche of 1,300 new officers agreed to in the budget this year—almost a third of whom are Latino, the largest bloc that ethnic group has ever had in a new class. Between 12 and 13 percent of the cops-to-be are black, and a little less than nine percent of them are Asian.

Bill de Blasio Has Warm Words for His Old Foe, Police Union Boss Patrick Lynch