NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association had some harsh words for Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, after a scuffle between police and protesters this weekend.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, SBA President Ed Mullins charged that de Blasio has created an atmosphere that encourages attacks on men and women in blue.
He used a specific word for the mayor, 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported.
"I think he is a nincompoop," Mullins said of de Blasio.
De Blasio was on the defensive following the statements, and it was not the first time even in the past week that he was accused by police unions that he is anti-cop, CBS2's Kramer reported.
"Such strong language," de Blasio said of Mullin's words.
"His words, not mine," Kramer said.
"I can't believe you said that publicly," de Blasio told Kramer, smiling.
"Well, I'm sorry, but he called you a nincompoop," Kramer said.
Relations between de Blasio and the NYPD have gotten so bad they are falling apart, Kramer reported, adding that de Blasio needs their backing to keep the city safe.
De Blasio Defends Remarks About Attack On Cops
Police largely feel that the mayor's apparent support of those protesting a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the Eric Garner apparent chokehold incident, has fostered anti-cop sentiment.
On Saturday, some protesters were heard chanting: "What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want it? Now."
Shortly afterward, two NYPD lieutenants were attacked and sent to an area hospital while trying to arrest Baruch College Eric Linsker. He was allegedly trying to throw a metal garbage can at officers on the Brooklyn Bridge at the time, authorities said.
"He's no doubt making it more dangerous," Mullins told Kramer. "And ultimately I hold him personally responsible for the injuries that are sustained by New York City police officers and to the general public. Because his comments that he makes are not one of leadership, they're not one of peace, they're not one of giving direction of lawful orders to which this nation is built upon. They're one of placating to the naysayers and the critics and they create a standard that people feel 'Hey, I can get away with these things.'"
Replied de Blasio: "These handful of incidents are unacceptable and we will address them. But I have found over the years that responding to self-interested critics with histrionic voices doesn't get you very far."
Police unions have also criticized the mayor for using the word "allegedly" when describing the attack on two lieutenants – claiming that he uses no qualifying terms when discussing cases involving police misconduct.
De Blasio defended the use of the word "allegedly" by saying he was trying to grant due process to the people who were accused of attacking the officers, Kramer reported.
Bratton came to de Blasio's defense on that issue late Monday.
"Let's get off of that in terms of 'allegedly,'" Bratton said. "He misspoke."
And in fairness to the mayor, Kramer reported, the NYPD used the word "allegedly" when reporting the incident on his own website. And he did not rush to judgment about the Garner case when he spoke about the attack while on vacation in Rome right after it happened in July.
"As an individual who is not an expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me," de Blasio said in Rome in July. "But I also emphasize that you have a full investigation, because all sides need to be heard, and all evidence has to be looked at."
De Blasio did not defend the actions of the Brooklyn Bridge protesters.
"What happened Saturday night on the Brooklyn Bridge was fundamentally unacceptable," he said. "It will not be tolerated."
He also said there will be a new tune for the protesters, who until now have been given a lot of rope.
"It is incumbent upon all those who are protesting to set a high standard, to respect the police who have done such a fine job of protecting them, and working with them, and to stop any potential acts of violence," the mayor said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo played peacemaker.
"There's no doubt that this is a difficult situation and there are strong feelings all around. Expressing those feelings is natural and maybe cathartic," Cuomo said. "But we also have to remember that at the end of the day, we all work together and we all need one another."
The question is whether police will accept that explanation since their unions are claiming de Blasio is creating an atmosphere in the city that's making it more difficult for officers to defend themselves and easier for the protesters to go after cops, Kramer reported.
Sergeants Benevolent Association Blasts Mayor Bill De Blasio After Attack On Cops
Meanwhile, de Blasio was clearly irked Monday at a move by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association to put a form on its website allowing a cop to request in writing that the mayor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito not attend his or her funeral if killed in the line of duty.
On the union website, members of are urged in red, boldfaced text on the PBA website to download and sign a letter titled "Don't Insult My Sacrifice."
"Due to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito's consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve, I believe that their attendance at the funeral of a fallen New York
City police officer is an insult to that officer's memory and sacrifice," the letter says.
The mayor told reporters, including WCBS 880's Rich Lamb, he's troubled by anything that undercuts the norms of civility in the city.
"It's fine to have differences. That's what a democracy allows for," de Blasio said. "But there still has to be mutual respect."
The mayor described the PBA's move as "divisive" and "unacceptable."
Cardinal Dolan: Stop The Quarreling
Also Monday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan weighed in on the controversy, saying neither the mayor nor the police should be vilified. Dolan is upset about the atmosphere in the city in the wake of the Garner decision, according to spokesman Joseph Zwilling.
"He has been distressed; alarmed at the way that this seems to have been tearing some people apart," Zwilling said.
In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, Dolan asked people to come together, and took aim at both sides of the debate.
"(I)t's only pouring kerosene on the fire when some upset leaders caricature our dedicated police officers as bigots," he wrote. "As the grandson of a policeman, as the pastor of the thousands of Catholic women and men who serve in the NYPD, and especially as a New Yorker who is grateful for those who literally put their lives on the line every day to protect us, I cringe at such intemperate stereotyping,"
But the attacks on the mayor are problematic too, Dolan wrote.
"It is equally unfair and counterproductive to dismiss our mayor and other leaders as enemies of the police, and even to go so far as to make controversial one of the more gripping and tearful occasions in the life of this city, the funeral of a fallen officer, a sacred occasion meant to unite us, never fracture us," he wrote.
Zwilling said Dolan hoped to break down some of the divisiveness in the debate.
"It was an effort to help calm the tension a little bit; to help people, in a sense, to maybe take a deep breath and realize that we work best when we work together," Zwilling said.
Dolan was particularly upset by the "Don't Insult My Sacrifice" letter about de Blasio attending fallen officers' funerals.
In discussing that issue Monday, de Blasio quoted Dolan's Daily News column and his call to act together, D'Auria reported.
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