The escalating tensions between New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD became more evident today at a graduation ceremony at the city’s police academy, as graduating cadets booed and catcalled the mayor as he took the stage to deliver the commencement ceremony.
Speaking before some 900 police academy graduates at a ceremony in Madison Square Garden, the mayor was met with loud boos and catcalls by the assembled cadets and other attendees, ABC News reports. A “smattering” of polite applause accompanied the boos. At least one graduate shouted “Traitor!” at the mayor, according to the New York Post.
De Blasio Booed And Heckled During NYPD Officers Graduation Ceremony – Update: Crowd Shouts “Traitor!”… pic.twitter.com/vU4QTZQFit
— Fatima (@fatima_madsen) December 29, 2014
Obliquely addressing some of the issues currently facing the NYPD (particularly the dangers the police are facing in light of the deaths of officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos by a crazed gunman seeking revenge for the death of Eric Garner), the mayor tried to warn the cadets about the difficulties they’ll be facing.
“You will confront all manner of problems … problems that you didn’t create.”
Someone in the crowd then yelled back, “You did!” prompting laughter from the audience. The mayor continued, encouraging the new cops to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, and by quoting the Bible.
“You can be part of the solution and that is a blessing… Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be children of God… We lost two peacemakers nine days ago. We lost two heros. They were children of God for sure.”
Since the death of Eric Garner — an unarmed black man who was killed while being arrested for selling unlicensed cigarettes — tensions have been high between the NYPD and the mayor. Following a grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer involved in the incident, de Blasio made statements that the police union viewed as sympathetic to the protesters. The mayor also publicly stated that he’s warned his son, who is mixed-race, to be careful in his dealings with the NYPD. The police, their union, and their commissioner have all been at odds with the mayor since then, believing that the mayor threw them under the bus. And when Officers Ramos and Liu were killed, some were quick to blame the mayor for the cops’ deaths.
The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio. May God bless their families and may they rest in peace.
— SBA (@SBANYPD) December 21, 2014
The mayor’s office seemed to have anticipated de Blasio being booed, as they quickly provided a New York Post reporter with previous accounts of New York City mayors being booed at police academy graduations.
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[Image courtesy of: New York Post]