New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gave remarks over the weekend at the funeral of one of two gunned down New York Police Department officers. However, hundreds of NYPD officers turned their backs to him as a sign of protest.
The gesture, which comes during a time of heightened tension between the NYPD and the mayor's office, happened while de Blasio spoke at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos. However, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton thought that the response happened in an untimely manner.
"I certainly don't support that action," Bratton said. "That funeral was held to honor Officer Ramos. And to bring politics, to bring issues into that event, I think, was very inappropriate."
Chelsia Rose Marcius and Stephen Rex Brown of New York Daily News reported that Bratton defended the embattled New York City mayor on Sunday news shows such as "Face the Nation" and "Meet the Press."
"He is the mayor of New York, he was there representing the citizens of New York to express their remorse and their regret at that death," Bratton said.
According to the Associated Press, the police commissioner called for a "lot less rhetoric and a lot more dialogue" so the tension can be defused. Bratton focused on the "pent-up frustrations" that bubbled up in recent weeks regarding police policies across the United States.
"This is about the continuing poverty rates, the continuing growing disparity between the wealthy and the poor," Bratton said. "It's still about unemployment issues. There are so many national issues that have to be addressed that it isn't just policing, as I think we all well know."
The Associated Press also reported that Bratton thought rank-and-file officers and most of America's police leadership felt under attack from "the federal government at the highest levels."
"See us. See the police. See why they have the anxieties and the perceptions they have," Bratton urged.
According to the Associated Press, some officers within the NYPD blamed the mayor for creating a negative atmosphere toward the nation's largest police department in the aftermath of no police officers being indicted by the grand jury after the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island. Bratton acknowledged, however, that morale within the NYPD is low, noting that their actions "unfortunately" reflected the feelings of some toward the mayor.
Despite that, the police commissioner thought that the blatant show of disrespect will linger for some time, according to New York Daily News.
"I think it's probably a rift that is going to go on for a while longer," Bratton said. "However, we will be making effort to sit down and talk with the union leaders in particular to deal with their issues."
According to the Associated Press, the five city police unions will meet with Bratton this week. In the meantime, the National Latino Officers Association urged police officers in a statement to honor the sacrifice of Ramos and his partner by maintaining their discipline.
"The Office of the Mayor deserves to be respected regardless of the disagreements you may have with the elected holder of the office," the statement said. "It is the office itself that merits your esteem and when you disrespect the Office of the Mayor, you tarnish the image the public has for the position you hold as the protectors of our great city."