NYPD work slowdown not official but ‘understandable’, says union president
A reported work slowdown by NYPD officers has not been sanctioned by one of the city’s largest police unions, the Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA). However, its president calls the move “quite understandable”.
Arrest rates in New York City fell by 66% year-on-year for the week starting 22 December, according to the New York Post . This decrease has been attributed to disgruntled police officers frustrated with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who remains at odds with police union chiefs following the fatal shooting of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, in Brooklyn last week.
DEA president Michael Palladino told the Guardian that “no work stoppage has been sanctioned by the unions”, but added as officers were now “targets for execution” it was “enough to make anyone hesitate regardless of your profession”.
None of the city’s other major police unions immediately responded to questions over whether they endorsed the reported slowdown.
Palladino’s comments come after the New York Times editorial board published a scathing piece on NYPD union conduct following the deaths of Liu and Ramos, describing the work slowdown as “dangerous” and “deplorable”.
“Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect,” the editorial said.
The editorial also singled out the conduct of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) president Pat Lynch, who has said that de Blasio is an accomplice to the officers’ deaths.
“This action is repugnant and inexcusable. It amounts to a public act of extortion by the police,” the editorial said.
Officers Liu and Ramos were killed in an ambush shooting on 20 December by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a 28-year-old man with a history of mental health problems. Brinsley had posted on his Instagram feed that he planned to kill two police officers to avenge the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, both unarmed black men killed by police this year.
De Blasio declined to endorse a grand jury decision not to indict the officer responsible for Garner’s death and has been sympathetic to the wave of protests against police impunity that followed.
Outside Ramos’s funeral in Queens on Saturday hundreds of officers turned their backs as De Blasio spoke. The funeral for officer Liu, who is reportedly the first Chinese-American officer to be killed in the line of duty , will be held on Sunday.
Asked by the Guardian if he expected more officers to turn their backs during Sunday’s service, Palladino responded: “It’s an individual decision. But after what they’ve been through I respect their feelings. They have just as much a right to freedom of speech as anyone else.”
On Wednesday, De Blasio announced he would move legislation in the city council to name two Brooklyn streets after Ramos and Liu.
“Our fallen heroes will never be forgotten. Their memory lives on in their families, and in the NYPD family. And now it will live on in the streets of the communities these brave men lived in and protected,” De Blasio said in a statement.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014