NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s police detail won’t be the only officers from the New York Police Department in Iowa on Tuesday. There will be more New York cops traveling to the Hawkeye State to simply protest their boss.
In an aggressive move, New York’s biggest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, is sending about a dozen officers to protest de Blasio as he heads to Des Moines with the intention of imprinting his image on the national stage, reported The New York Times.
Hence, their acrimonious relationship doesn’t appear to be improving anytime soon. But no one expects it to given the mayor’s public policy on so many issues.
“We can’t allow him to go to Iowa and try to stand on the mantle of being progressive and pro-labor when we know the truth is different,” Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the association, said in an interview. “So we’re going out there to tell our sisters and brothers: Don’t be fooled.”
Lynch said the union, which is in contract talks with City Hall, planned to have members wave signs, hand out leaflets and stand outside as the mayor delivers a speech on Tuesday night. He referred to the mayor as “the two-faced Bill de Blasio.”
Austin Finan, a spokesman for the mayor said, “We’re more than fine with their protests and wish them safe travels.”
“Those at the center of our successful efforts to reduce crime to historic lows deserve a fair contract,” Mr. Finan added. “We’re confident mediation will get us there, just like it did last time and just like we’ve done with nearly the entire city work force.”
Mayor de Blasio’s office and the police union have sparred throughout much of his tenure. Moreover, the tension dates back to 2013, when de Blasio campaigned zealously against stop-and-frisk police tactics, which he said disproportionately and wrongly targeted minorities.
— News Channel NYC (@NewsChannel_NYC) December 18, 2017
In 2014, de Blasio’s first year in office, Lynch said there was blood on his hands after two police officers were gunned down in a racially charged ambush in Brooklyn. Furthermore, some officers turned their backs on the mayor at the funerals.
The city and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association agreed on a contract earlier this year, but that deal — which granted officers raises of more than 11 percent — was retroactive to 2012 and expired in July. Members of the PBA are again working without a contract.
As a result, Lynch objected to City Hall’s opening offer, which he dismissed as “outrageous.”
“He’s offered three-and-a-half years of zeros, absolutely no raises for New York City police officers,” Lynch said of de Blasio.
In addition, the City Council this week is expected to take up a package of police-related legislation that the mayor supports and the union opposes. One measure would require officers to provide information to many of the people they stop on the street, including handing them a business card and providing the reason for questioning. The other would require consent before certain searches.
Consequently, Lynch said the union would quite likely follow the mayor wherever his political ambitions take him. However, Lynch himself is skipping the Iowa trip to remain in New York for a man’s sentencing for killing an officer in 2015.
“We’ve woke him up in the morning and put him to bed at night,” Lynch said of the mayor. “And we’ve met him at the gym, because it seems he spends an awful lot of time at the gym rather than at City Hall. Our members get up early and he doesn’t, so we’re out there waiting for him.”
“We’re going to pop up,” Lynch added, “where he pops up.”