New York, NY – The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) largest union voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve resolutions of “no confidence” Against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill against a backdrop of the police department’s flag hung upside down to signal distress.
“Today’s votes are an unequivocal indictment of our failed leaders in City Hall and 1 Police Plaza,” Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said in a press release after the vote.
“For years, Mayor de Blasio has demonized police officers and undermined our efforts to protect our city. For years, Commissioner O’Neill has cravenly acquiesced to the Mayor and his anti-cop allies,” Lynch continued.
“The unjust termination of P.O. Daniel Pantaleo was merely the final straw: both men have displayed an appalling pattern of malfeasance and nonfeasance that disqualifies them from continuing to serve in their current offices. Neither can hope to regain the trust or confidence of New York City police officers. They must resign or be fired," he declared.
The move was only the latest blowback from Commissioner O’Neill’s decision to take the administrative trial judge’s recommendation to fire NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection with the death of Eric Garner despite the fact a New York grand jury and a federal investigation exonerated him.
At the PBA press conference after the commissioner’s announcement, Lynch said that “justice had not been served” by Officer Pantaleo’s termination but that it had confirmed that the police commissioner and the mayor were all about politics and not about justice.
“The job is dead because the leadership of this city and the police department is absolute afraid of the criminal advocates,” Lynch said. “And based this decision not on the facts, but based this decision on the politics. What makes it equally sad is that due process is now gone for New York City police officers.”
He accused the commissioner of running to “the corner that has the loudest crowd,” and said he had made self-preservation first over fact.
Lynch warned then that the PBA would be organizing the vote of “no confidence” and asking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to intervene.
“This mayor needs to be removed. The police commissioner needs to know he has lost the police department,” he said. “There is no confidence in their leadership at City Hall and One Police Plaza.”
Almost 400 PBA delegates who represent 25,000 NYPD officers gathered on Aug. 28 to conduct separate votes for resolutions of “no confidence” for de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill, according to the press release.
The resolution that named the mayor said he has “consistently engaged in rhetoric that demonizes law enforcement” and has attacked the integrity of NYPD officers.
It accused de Blasio of having done nothing to fight the suicide crisis that has led nine NYPD officers to take their own lives so far in 2019, and accused him of interfering in the police department’s disciplinary process.
The “no confidence” resolution also alleged that the mayor had abandoned the city to seek higher political office and said the city leader has let down more than his police department.
It also alleged that de Blasio had “engaged in a sustained effort to deceive the public regarding crime and enforcement in New York City, by distorting or misrepresenting official statistics in order to obscure troubling public safety trends” and called on the governor to suspend, and ultimately remove, the mayor from office.
The resolution against the mayor passed unanimously.
The “no confidence” resolution against the police commissioner basically called the 34-year-veteran of the police force a turncoat.
It said Commissioner O’Neill had “betrayed the trust of every member of the NYPD, by failing to adequately defend the NYPD and its members from the endless onslaught of demonization and anti-police rhetoric” and said he had unsuccessfully tried to “appease anti-police advocates by acquiescing to politically motivated changes to NYPD policy and the law.”
The resolution also accused the commissioner of having been complicit in the mayor’s efforts to deceive the public about the true state of crime in the city and called for his resignation.
Again, delegates voted unanimously to pass the vote of “no confidence.”
“The unity of this organization at this difficult time is beyond compare for any union because the moment we do this, we put ourselves in jeopardy,” the union president told the delegates after the vote. “And you’re willing to do it. You’re willing to put yourself in jeopardies [sic] as the stewards of the members of this organization because you don’t want the members… in jeopardy every single day… You should be proud of yourself. You should be proud of yourself to say you’re a New York City police officer. Never forget that, despite this.”