PBA President Blames 'Political Tug Of War' For Putting Officers In Danger

Rich Lamb
June 02, 2020 - 6:38 pm

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — With Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo butting heads over the response to end the looting and violence that has broken out on a nightly basis amid mainly peaceful protests, the head of the Police Benevolent Association is blaming what he calls the "political tug of war between Albany and City Hall" for putting officers in danger.

    After looters smashed their way into businesses in Manhattan and the Bronx late Monday and early Tuesday, the governor said, "The NYPD and the Mayor did not do their job last night."

    He said he has offered the support of the state police and the National Guard, but the mayor insists, "We do not need, nor do we think it's wise for the National Guard to be in New York City, nor any armed forces."

    On that point, PBA President Pat Lynch is on the same page as the mayor.

    "It's disgraceful that we're even having a discussion about bringing the National Guard into New York City," Lynch said. "We have the resources, the personnel and the equipment and the professionalism to do the job."

    But the governor said the city has not used enough police officers to address the situation. 

    The governor's senior advisor, Richard Azzopardi, released a statement later Tuesday afternoon, saying  "The Governor has always said he has respect and confidence in the NYPD and he knows they can handle this situation because he has seen them do it in the past. It's not the men and women of the NYPD - he questions the management and deployment of the NYPD and believes the Mayor should put more NYPD officers on the streets to do their job. There are 36,000 police officers - why isn't at least half the force on the streets protecting public safety with looting going on across the city?" 

    Lynch says officers have been going out every day and doing their jobs. He claims the mayor and the governor should point at the guy in the mirror.

    "They didn't have a plan. You have the governor putting a curfew in place and he's doing it a couple of hours beforehand. One day he's saying we use too much force, the next day he's saying we didn't use enough force. We have the mayor send out a signal to looters that the police officers will have a light touch," Lynch said.

    In a statement, Lynch said that officers are suffering the consequences because the "city and state governments can’t plan and work together."

    "Police officers are being run down, knocked down and almost shot on a nightly basis," he said. "The political tug of war between Albany and City Hall needs to stop, because it is putting police officers in danger.”

    Lynch told WCBS 880's Rich Lamb that the violence and destruction that has spread across the city over the last week is some of the worst he's ever seen.

    "We have violence in multiple boroughs. In the past, when we had violence and riots in the street, it was confined to neighbors, now we have it in three boroughs so far," Lynch said. "It's disgraceful that it's happening and it's happening cause the wrong message is being sent out — the message of a light touch, the message that Albany is going to blame us for their lack of planning and what they haven't done for years. That's the message on the street — go out it's free reign."

    Over the past six days, mostly peaceful protesters have taken to the streets to demand justice for the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but as the days turn to night, officials said others intent on committing crime and wreaking havoc have descended on the city.

    Over 700 people were arrested Monday night and early Tuesday morning for looting, assaulting officers and other offenses. 

    Social media has also been flooded with videos of violent clashes between police and protesters, as well as serious attacks on officers.

    The police union president said both leaders now have to say it stops now, adding they should stand behind the police officers.

    The city has enacted a curfew through Sunday to help address the looting and the NYPD has also doubled its police presence and moved to 12-hour shifts for officers.

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