DOES HE UNDERSTAND THEIR PAIN?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 27, 2014) — After numerous New York City Police Department officers turned their backs to Mayor Bill DeBlasio as he approached a lectern to make remarks following the murders of two members of the police force last Saturday, DeBlasio insisted on speaking at the funeral of one of the officers, Rafael Ramos, which was held today at Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens.
DeBlasio has been heavily criticized by the Sergeants Benevolent Assocation (SBA) and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) for comments he made following a grand jury’s decision not to issue a True Bill of indictment against Officer Daniel Pantaleo for allegedly causing the death of a black Staten Island man, Eric Garner, this past July.
The grand jury decision was announced on December 3. The following day, DeBlasio declared that “The way we go about policing has to change” and that “black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives.”
Early in his term, de Blasio agreed to abandon an appeal of a judge’s ruling that the practice of “stop and frisk” is unconstitutional in regard to “African-American and Latino men.”
De Blasio is white and his wife, Chilane McCray, is black. They have a son, Dante, who is 17. McCray has a staff and recently replaced her chief of staff, who had previously worked for the Rev. Al Sharpton, with “a longtime family friend.”
Sharpton has been vocal about his disagreement with the grand jury’s decision in the Garner case and in a Missouri grand jury’s “No True Bill” in the case of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Sharpton is an Obama adviser on “race relations” and advocates abandoning the grand jury system in favor of a state prosecutor who would report deaths involving police officers to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Ferguson announcement, made on the evening of November 24, set off a wave of protests, destruction, looting and possibly a murder in nearby St. Louis. The U.S. Justice Department under Eric Holder has become involved in both cases.
Following the officers’ slayings by a member of the Black Guerrilla Family on December 20, PBA president Patrick Lynch stated that “There is blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. That blood on their hands,” he added, “starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.”
DeBlasio had told ABC News’s “This Week” that he had given his biracial son instructions on how to handle “an encounter with a police officer” as a result of his being “a young man of color.” DeBlasio had added that “It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country,” which former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani found “racist.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and putative president Barack Obama also weighed in on the Garner grand jury decision, with Obama seeking “national reforms” in policing.
DeBlasio and his family are provided 24-hour police protection by the NYPD.
On December 12, the PBA urged its members to sign a downloadable form to DeBlasio instructing him and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito not to attend their funerals if they should be killed in the line of duty.
Former NYPD officer and former Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino told CNN that DeBlasio “should resign in shame” after providing “atrocious leadership” to the city and the officers charged with protecting it.
Several retired officers had weighed actions they might take to prevent DeBlasio from following his plan announced Friday evening to attend Ramos’s memorial service.
DeBlasio condemned the officers’ murders by stating that “When police officers are murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society. This heinous attack was an attack on our entire city.”
As DeBlasio eulogized Ramos today, some of those in attendance reported to be in the “hundreds,” turned their backs. On Friday, an airplane sporting a banner with the message “De Blasio, our backs have turned to you” flew “high over the Hudson River” and the Verrazano and George Washington Bridges.
In 1983, De Blasio traveled to the former Soviet Union and reportedly “honeymooned in Cuba.”
Ramos was nearly finished with his training to become chaplain of the 84th Precinct where he worked. NYPD Police Chief William Bratton designated him as “honorary department chaplain” posthumously.
The New York Daily News established a fund to assist the survivors of the fallen officers.
De Blasio reportedly stated during the funeral that the NYPD “is hurting so deeply right now.”