Since he fired former officer Daniel Pantaleo for his ‘role’ in Eric Garner’s death, there have been mounting tensions and pressure for NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill to step down.
But he’s not going anywhere.
At least that’s what he said this weekend.
“This is not something that you walk away from,” Commissioner O’Neill said to the press on Friday.
O’Neill’s statements come just days after the NYC Police Benevolent Association instilled a vote of “no confidence” in both O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio when it comes to protecting a defending those who hold the thin blue line.
Since then, the police union has called upon O’Neill to remove himself from his position of power. They’ve also asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to take de Blasio out of office as well for his lack of support for his city’s department.
O’Neill said that in regards to Pantaleo, “there were some alternatives that were discussed, but in the end I made the decision,” he said.
Patrick Lynch fired back in the union’s resolutions last week.
“For years, Mayor de Blasio has demonized police officers and undermined our efforts to protect our city,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in the police union’s resolution Wednesday.
Lynch said that O’Neill’s political decision “deprived a dedicated and accomplished police officer of his livelihood”.
Police also said that the commissioner has failed to address issues within the department like mental health problems and quality-of-life issues.
“For years, Commissioner O’Neill has cravenly acquiesced to the mayor and his anti-cop allies,” Lynch said.
According to the PBA, they’ve had enough. And they won’t rest until New York City police officers get the support they need.
But the department has also fired back, claiming O’Neill wholeheartedly supports his officers.
“As the Police Commissioner has said before, his heart and soul are with the NYPD, and he is honored to lead this Department as it continues to drive crime to historically low levels,” said Phillip Walzak, the deputy commissioner for public information of the NYPD.
The union additionally called for Governor Cuomo to enact his official power to remove Mayor Bill de Blasio from office after he “unlawfully interfered” in the decision to fire Daniel Pantaleo.
The Police Benevolent Association “calls upon Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to exercise his powers under the Charter to immediately suspend and ultimately remove Mayor de Blasio on charges of malfeasance and nonfeasance in the above-stated matters.”
Lynch said that the mayor has been creating an environment of distrust between the police and the public, continuously widening the divide between law and order and the chaos in the streets.
The mayor’s office fired back after Lynch released his statements, calling the city the “safest it’s ever been.”
“This is another attempt by the PBA to divide our city and we won’t stand for it. Under this mayor and Police Commissioner, our officers and the communities they serve are closer than ever and the city is the safest it’s ever been,” Freddie Goldstein said. “That isn’t changing.”
Since former NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired five years after his fatal encounter with Eric Garner, arrests in the city have plummeted.
And experts say the two are directly connected.
“Who wants to be the last cop standing?” a Manhattan cop said in an interview with the New York Post. “If someone’s in trouble and needs help or if a cop’s in trouble, obviously, you do what you have to do as a police officer. But if it’s discretionary, why put yourself in harm’s way?’’
It seems that police are now fully aware of how much support they’ll get from the leaders of the city, and because of it, they’ve backed off.
Between Aug. 17, the day Pantaleo was terminated from the NYPD, and Aug. 25, arrests within the department dropped by 27 percent compared to the same period last year the New York Post reported.
According to that report, New York City cops made 3,508 arrests compared to 4,827 a year earlier during that time.
Seems like police have realized that the deck is stacked against them.
Pantaleo was fired five years after Eric Garner died in police custody. Though it had been ruled that his actions did not directly result in his death, the NYPD terminated him after a police administrator judge issued a strong recommendation that he be let go. It was only a recommendation, but the follow through was entirely political.
Commissioner O’Neill terminated Pantaleo just a day after the report was released… confirming to officers across the city – and across the country – that the “job is dead.”
“We are urging all New York City police officers to proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed ‘reckless’ just for doing their job,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said after Pantaleo was fired.
THE DE BLASIO EFFECT… https://t.co/3B68iHM80V
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 27, 2019
It’s not like New Yorkers are on their own. These officers know that they swore an oath to help those in need, but from now on, it seems like police may just tend to what’s necessary and let any additional legwork go.
“We will uphold our oath, but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety,” Lynch said.
The NYPD released a statement in regard to the report. They say that officers have been focusing on “precision policing” and paying attention to “the offenders who commit crimes, not the accumulation of raw numbers.”
Lynch called out O’Neill for choosing to ‘cringe in fear of anti-police extremists’ instead of backing the department after he fired Pantaleo. Lynch says that when the commissioner realized the grave mistake he’d made… it would already be too late.
Perhaps we’ve reached that point.
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“The damage is already done. The NYPD will remain rudderless and frozen, and Commissioner O’Neill will never be able to bring it back. Now it is time for every PO in this city to make their own choice.”
The NYC PBA Twitter account posted a statement from Lynch soon after the decision came down to fire the officer who was involved in Eric Garner’s death. Multiple federal investigations into the details behind the ‘chokehold’ death failed to uncover sufficient evidence to indict Officer Pantaleo.
But after the judge handed out a 46-page report about the investigation, Pantaleo was dropped from the department almost immediately.
"The damage is already done. The NYPD will remain rudderless and frozen, and Commissioner O’Neill will never be able to bring it back. Now it is time for every PO in this city to make their own choice." pic.twitter.com/TAsNyXQG3J
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) August 19, 2019
Where is the future of the department headed? Will leaders step up and support the police and empower them to perform their duties? Only time will tell.
- READ: GUNMAN DEAD AFTER OPENING FIRE, KILLING SEVEN AND INJURING NEARLY 20 MORE, INCLUDING THREE COPS