Mayor’s office denies NYPD officers turned their backs on de Blasio at police funeral

Mayor’s office denies NYPD officers turned their backs on de Blasio at police funeral
Thousands of New York City cops attended a fellow officer’s funeral in the Bronx, but reports of hundreds turning their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio are being denied by the mayor’s office. De Blasio has faced this form of protest from the NYPD before.

Mayor de Blasio (D) apparently irked some in the police force when he left town to attend the G20 summit in Germany, shortly after the fatal shooting of 12-year veteran Officer Miosotis Familia, who was also a mother of three, while she was in her squad car last week.

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported that hundreds of New York Police Department (NYPD) officers turned their backs on de Blasio when he spoke at the funeral for Familia.

Patrick Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said that the officers were protesting de Blasio’s decision to leave New York the day after Familia was killed.

“The mayor is the compass for the city of New York,” Lynch told the Daily News before the funeral. “And unfortunately, when a police officer got killed, his compass led him to Germany rather than here on the Concourse.”

“He should have been here with the family,” Lynch continued. “He should have been there with us.”

Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said that the atmosphere between the police and the mayor is “definitely strained.”

“When you look at how he goes over there (to Germany) and protests, while the cops here are battling with protesters every day, you go 'What is he doing?'” Mullins said, according to the Daily News. “I talked with hundreds of cops today and they have about had it with the mayor and the police commissioner and their policies. They don't feel that either one of them has their backs. It's very hypocritical.”

De Blasio, who went to Germany to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate accords, called Familia a “hero” at the funeral, adding that she “lived life the right way,” according to the New York Post.

Austin Finan, a spokesman for De Blasio, also denied that there were hundreds of officers turning their back in protest, saying “a couple dozen people showed up to partake in a bogus controversy ginned up by the media and those looking to politicize Detective Familia's death.”

“That's unfortunate,” Finan said, according to the Daily News. “The Mayor, Police Commissioner and thousands of police officers from the city and beyond attended today's service in solidarity to pay their respects and honor Miosotis Familia.”

Finan also responded on Twitter, saying that the auditorium was “full of applause” adding that “no backs turned amidst the scores of officers on the blocks outside of the church.”

Eric Phillips, the mayor’s press secretary, also denied the reports, tweeting that there were only “dozens” out of the “several thousand officers” protesting the mayor.

Philips tweeted that De Blasio arranged time to travel back to the funeral before he left for Germany, saying “had it become clear he needed to be here, he would have been.”

Philips also refuted claims that De Blasio did not visit Familia until five days after her death, saying that he was “with the family at the hospital the night of the Officer's passing.”

Some NYPD officers previously turned their backs on de Blasio when he spoke at the funeral of slain Officer Wenjian Liu in 2015 after he relayed a story on ABC News about telling his multi-racial son not to make any sudden movements during an encounter with the police.