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Police Benevolent Association Breaks With Tradition, Endorses President Trump's Re-Election Campaign

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- In light of New York City's recent surge in shootings, one police union is endorsing President Donald Trump's re-election campaign.

They say law and order need to be restored, but African-American officers say the endorsement will make their jobs even harder.

The union endorsement of President Trump is causing an uproar among some of the rank and file of the NYPD.

It's an uncharacteristic endorsement of a president by the Police Benevolent Association, which represents 24,000 NYPD officers.

"I cannot remember when we've ever endorsed for the office of President of the United States until now. That's how important this is," PBA President Pat Lynch said Friday.

US President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks to the City of New York Police Benevolent Association at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, on August 14, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

With a spike in gun violence, funding cuts and police reforms supported by Democrats, in front of a cheering crowd of officers, Lynch is breaking with tradition at a time when he says police need a lot more support.

"To get the endorsement, Pat, of this group of incredible men and women is mind-blowing," Trump said Friday.

RELATED STORY: Coalition Of Police Unions Join Forces, File Lawsuit In Attempt To Overturn NYC's Controversial Police Reform Law

But 34-year NYPD veteran Det. Felicia Richards says the presidential endorsement undermines the 1,100 Black officers she represents as president of the Guardians Association.

"The words coming out of his mouth have been divisive," Richards told CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

Richards says those racial divisions were stoked during Friday's endorsement.

"We took police officers out of white neighborhoods who voted for me, who were really angry at me for doing it, and we put it into Black neighborhoods where Al Sharpton would complain about us," Rudy Giuliani said.

"Now you label it as being a negative community. And I'm supposed to now come in and say, 'We're here to help you build your community back.' I'm part of the engine that just broke it down," Richards said.

With gun violence at a rate not seen in decades, community activist Tony Herbert has been working to address community-police relationships.

"It hinders the relationship-building component because of our feelings about Donald Trump and his administration," Herbert said.

RELATED STORY: Communities Making Efforts To Control Gun Violence Amid Spike Across New York City

Richards is surveying her members, trying to determine how they should now proceed.

Officers are unified in their concerns over recent reforms they say hinder their ability to do their jobs. Still, no other police unions have formally endorsed a presidential candidate.

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