The actions of the New York City police officers who turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio during two recent police officer funerals disrespected the families and the people of New York, the mayor charged during a press conference on Monday.
De Blasio leveled the criticism—which marked the mayor's first public comment on the recent officer protests— during a press conference with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton discussing the record low crime rates in the city.
"They were disrespectful to the families involved," de Blasio said Monday. "They were disrespectful to the families who had lost their loved ones. I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that."
During both the December 27 funeral for Officer Rafael Ramos and the January 4 funeral for Officer Wenjian Liu, members of the NYPD turned their backs on de Blasio while he gave his address protesting what the officers perceive is a lack of support from the mayor amid the ongoing uproar over police aggression and targeting of people of color. Both officers were shot by a man who was allegedly retaliating for the recent police killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.
De Blasio added that the action was "disrespectful to the people of this city who, in fact, honor the work of the NYPD."
Echoing De Blasio, Bratton called the action "selfish." He said: "Don't put on your uniform and go to a funeral and engage in a political action."
Ahead of Liu's funeral, Bratton sent a memo to the entire department saying "a hero's funeral is about grieving not grievance," and encouraging them to not repeat the "act of disrespect" displayed at the service for Ramos.
In addition to the funeral protests, NYPD officers are also reportedly engaging in other acts of defiance including a "work stoppage," which critics of the police department hail as a positive development.