Mayor and police standoff

Kate Lipman

More than 25,000 police gathered for the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos in New York City on Dec. 27.

While the sheer number of officers that attended the funeral was newsworthy, the funeral made headlines for a moment that came during the speech made by New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio.

When the mayor started to speak, hundreds of police officers immediately turned their backs. Why? Let me explain.

In a Dec. 7 interview, de Blasio said, “With Dante, my son, very early on, we said, ‘Look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cell phone.’ ”

On national news, de Blasio is telling his son not to trust the police; moreover, if he does happen to reach for his cell phone or make sudden movements, it is possible that he will be in danger.

He is publicly saying that he does not believe his child, who is half black, is safe when in the presence of an NYPD officer.

Here is a man who is the face of the city, a man that the police force should believe in and look up to.

Imagine you are a police officer, putting your life on the line, only to hear your mayor saying that not only does he not trust you, but that he worries his son will get hurt if he interacts with you or another officer.

Because of comments like these, some police union officials have accused de Blasio of adding to a climate of mistrust between the people of New York City and the police department.

Some, including me, believe that this mistrust was a contributing factor in the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu.

In another interview, de Blasio identified a “rift” that must be overcome between the public and the police, saying that the “incidents” across the country highlight a problem within police forces and “there is something fundamental we have to get at here.”

The “fundamental” problem he is referring to, of course, is racial discrimination. While it is certainly true that some police officers do commit criminal acts, the reality is that the vast majority of police officers do not.

In reality, the majority of police officers put their lives on the line everyday to protect the people of their city, as illustrated by the murders of Ramos and Liu.

They did nothing to provoke the murderer; they were targeted simply because of the uniform they wore.

The police are naturally responding to public scorn. Everything from arrests, summonses and even parking tickets has drastically dropped over the holidays.

NYPD statistics show parking and traffic tickets have dropped 90 percent, and in the week of Jan. 1, only 2,401 arrests were made, compared to last year in the same time period, during which 5,448 were made.

The week after New Year’s continues to show a large decline in the amount of general police activity in the city.

This has been attributed not only to the current hatred of police occurring throughout the nation and fear of more public resentment, but also the low morale of the NYPD created by de Blasio’s comments.

I support the decisions of the NYPD officers who turned their back on de Blasio that day.

Not only because of his comments expressing his fear and distrust of police officers, but also because as mayor he should be trying to support the NYPD in this time of extreme police hatred, as they are sworn to protect his city.

In his ABC interview, he turned his back on the men and women of the NYPD. It makes sense that they would then turn their backs on him.