Watch CBS News

Bratton Chastises Officers For 'Political Action' Against Mayor At Funerals

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- While there are many New Yorkers who have supported police officers' act of defiance against Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton made it clear on Monday that he's not one of them.

Speaking during a press conference on year-end crime statistics in the city, Bratton was asked his opinion of cops turning their backs on the mayor during the funerals for officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were killed in Brooklyn back on Dec. 20 by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley in apparent retribution for the police-involved killings of unarmed black men in both Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island.

Bratton's answers were strong indictments against what he termed the "selfishness" of political actions by cops at a time when the city should have been mourning and healing.

"I share the mayors concern about the idea of what is effectively a labor action being taken in the middle of the funeral," Bratton said. "We are honoring the death of two police officers. I just don't understand it. I just do not understand it. What is the need in the middle of that ceremony to engage in a political action? I compliment the 20,000-plus who did what you would expect at a funeral. They stood and honored their comrades who had passed. So I think we should focus on those rather than the few who disrespected and took so much attention.

"Looking at the papers and news – the selfishness of that action ... the selfishness of it -- don't put on your uniform and go to a funeral and engage in a political action," the commissioner added.

Bratton Chastises Officers For 'Political Action' Against Mayor At Funerals

De Blasio said he was equally disgusted.

"Those individuals who took certain actions this past week ... they were disrespectful to the families who had lost their loved one," the mayor said. "I can't understand why anyone would do something like that in a context like that. I think they were disrespectful to the families and people of this city who honor the work of the NYPD. So at a time when I think the people of the city felt tremendous respect for the NYPD some individuals were incredibly disrespectful."

Sergeants Union President Edward Mullins had earlier defended the back turning.

"Police have First Amendment rights and their actions were done in protest to deliver a message. They didn't break a single law and they didn't utter a single word and yet their actions made a statement that was recognized nationally and have never been done before to any mayor in the nation," Mullins said.

City Hall sources told CBS2's Marcia Kramer the mayor believes he has supported the cops -- first by not bowing to critics and ordering an end to so-called "broken windows" policing, where people are arrested for small crimes on the theory that it stops bigger crimes, and also by increasing the NYPD budget.

The mayor invested an additional $352 million for such things as training, hand-held mobile devices, security cameras and rebuilding dilapidated precincts, Kramer reported.

The mayor is especially upset with charges from PBA President Patrick Lynch that he had blood on his hands in the murders or Ramos and Liu.

"Obviously, it was a totally inaccurate statement, totally inappropriate and it's unfair, it's evident," de Blasio said.

Added Bratton: "I don't share the perspective that the mayor had blood on his hands or that any of his actions contributed to the death of those two officers. I don't share that perspective at all."

De Blasio vowed to push forward no matter the size of the hurdles in his way.

"Rather than get lost in the daily back and forth by the loudest and most disrespectful voices, those that have been so loud in this debate in recent weeks, let's talk about a positive vision. And that positive vision will prevail over the negative visions where the loudest voices of disunity and discord dominate the news cycle. We will be as good as the people we serve. We're going to find a way forward together," the mayor said.

Bratton also vowed to go after any officer skirting his or her duty as an act of defiance. It was recently reported arrests were down dramatically following the murders of officers Ramos and Liu and many speculated that it was the result of angry officers trying to send the mayor a message.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.