Union Chief: “No Resolve” After Hours-long Meeting With Mayor, Bratton on NYPD Concerns

The president of the city's biggest police union said "time will tell" how the de Blasio administration responds to police safety concerns raised during a two-hour closed-door meeting Tuesday between the mayor, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the heads of the five NYPD unions.

The meeting was intended to begin repairing the widening rift between de Blasio and much of the rank-and-file police force. Tensions have escalated in recent weeks over the executions of two NYPD officers in Brooklyn and City Hall's response to protests over police conduct in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict an officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told reporters there had been "no resolve" to safety concerns broached during the meeting in Queens Tuesday.

"Action speaks louder than words," Lynch said.

The union boss, one of the mayor's most vocal critics, did not criticize de Blasio in his brief appearance after the meeting, however. Lynch took no questions. 

Shortly before the summit, Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, another of the five unions involved in the meeting, said a productive dialogue and setting ground rules for future protests were among the goals of the sit-down.

"The safety of the cops is of paramount importance," Palladino said. "If the police are in danger where does that leave the general public?"

Phil Walzak, the mayor's press secretary, said in a statement the meeting focused on identifying ways "to move forward together," though he did not elaborate on what those were.

Hunter College Professor of Political Science Kenneth Sherrill said he didn't find it likely significant progress would be made in one meeting.

"The important thing is the open lines of communication and more trust between the two sides," Sherrill said.

Relations between the unions -- who are seeking a new contract -- and the mayor have been poor from the time he took office a year ago. But the anger of many officers toward de Blasio in recent days has been striking.

Despite a day defined by politics, residents, police officers and elected officials in Queens avoided any reference to the conflict at a candlelight vigil dedicated to slain officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in front of the 107th Precinct station Monday evening.

"We need the cops to be strong and the mayor to be strong for us," said neighbor Patricia Dardani.

On Monday, de Blasio received a mixture of boos and applause while addressing nearly 1,000 police recruits at their Madison Square Garden graduation ceremony.

Many of the 884 new police officers applauded politely in their seats when de Blasio was introduced to speak but audible boos could be heard from some in the crowd in the seats reserved for the cadets' family and friends. About a dozen or so people in the stands stood with their backs turned to de Blasio, emulating the searing pose of disrespect that some officers struck at the funeral Saturday for officer Rafael Ramos, one of the two cops slain Dec. 20 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley.

The other officer killed, Wenjian Liu, will be laid to rest Sunday.

Brinsley, who fatally shot himself in a nearby subway station shortly after the ambush in Bedford-Stuyvesant, suggested in online posts that the officers' deaths were in retaliation for the police-involved deaths of Garner and 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Grand juries declined to indict the officers in both cases, prompting protests across the city and the country. Police unions have criticized de Blasio as too sympathetic to protesters and accused him of fostering an anti-NYPD atmosphere that contributed to the deaths of the officers in Brooklyn.  

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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