PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said: "It is a double miracle that we are not preparing for two funerals right now. These targeted attacks are exactly what we have warned against, again and again. The hatred and violence directed at cops continues to grow. Good luck and kind words are not enough to keep police officers or the public safe. Our elected officials need to start listening to us and working with us — not against us — to fix the deteriorating environment on our streets."
Hundreds of New York City police officers packed the hallways of the Bronx Criminal court as the man accused of opening fire and injuring two cops in back-to-back incidents over the weekend was arraigned on 27 counts of attempted murder in the first and second degree, as well as several other charges.
“Be aware. … You’re in danger,” Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch warned officers at a press conference on Monday. “You need to be careful, but more importantly, we need to back each other up.”
The suspected gunman, Robert Williams, allegedly ambushed two uniformed police officers who were sitting in a patrol van on Saturday night, shooting and wounding one officer after a bullet grazed his chin and neck, narrowly missing his carotid artery. Neither officer returned fire.
About 12 hours later, police say Williams then opened fire inside police headquarters at the 41st Precinct in the Bronx on Sunday morning. During the rampage, he struck a police lieutenant in the upper left arm, who returned fire but missed. The gunman shot through all the rounds of a 9 mm handgun before laying on the ground and surrendering to officers. (Editor’s Note: The 41st Precinct in the Bronx during the 1970s was know nationally as Fort Apache since the police station was surrounded by hostile criminals. A motion picture — Fort Apache: The Bronx — starred Hollywood icon Paul Newman as a street cop.)
Both injured officers in the twin incidents were released from the hospital on Sunday and were greeted by claps and cheers from dozens of fellow officers waiting outside the hospital.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has come under harsh criticism from police officers in the past who accuse him of contributing to anti-cop rhetoric in the city, called the incidents “an attempt to assassinate police officers,” and condemned the acts of violence.
“He’s a cop killer,” Lynch decried of Williams on Monday, before continuing to bash the “elected officials who rushed to the hospital,” after the attacks but “aren’t supporting us on a regular basis.”
“It’s not too late to stand up on that soapbox and say, ‘My words against police officers did damage. My words got into the heads of criminals on the street who thought they were safe enough to try to kill police officers,” Lynch said, taking aim at city officials like de Blasio.
Not First Time Mayor Raked Over the Coals
In December 2014, the display of thousands of law enforcement officials representing departments and agencies from throughout the country standing in the streets of the Queens section of New York City on Saturday, to honor one of two police officers assassinated last week, was a sight not seen since the large number police and firefighter funerals following the 9-11 terrorist attack.
But despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s well-written comments during the service – such as when he said the departed Officer Rafael Ramos was a devoted family man, aspiring chaplain and hero – the animosity felt by cops for a mayor they say threw them under the bus could not be subdued by one flowery speech.
Although the cops sitting and standing inside the Christ Tabernacle Catholic Church behaved politely as Mayor de Blasio spoke, scores of New York’s Finest outside on the streets turned their backs as he and his wife passed to demonstrate their distaste for his defense and out-and-out support for anti-police protesters. While the liberal-left politicians and news outlets downplayed the violence and hate-filled speech directed at police, amateur videos showed protest marchers encouraging the killing of police officers.
One officer who turned his back during de Blasio’s speech said that the mayor is all talk.”He’s just being a politician like the others [Vice President Joe Biden and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo], but even before he was elected mayor, he was anti-cop,” said the officer. “As far as I’m concerned, He’s no mayor of my city.”
“I noticed that at least [President Barack] Obama and [Attorney General Eric] Holder didn’t show up. They knew it would have been a bad time for their photo ops. At least, de Blasio had the stones to show up and take the heat,” said a former New York police detective, Ronald Knudsen.
New York City’s Police Benevolent Association union officials minced no words in their blaming de Blasio for his posturing and his anti-police sentiment. It was obvious to anyone watching and listening to de Blasio he supported the angry protests when it was announced that no charges were filed in the police deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York.
Saturday’s funeral was not the first time NYPD officers gave Mayor de Blasio a sign of their disrespect. At a hospital after the officers’ died, the police union’s president, Patrick Lynch, and others turned their backs on de Blasio. Lynch went as far as saying that the Democrat mayor had “blood on his hands.”
Even before the cop-killings, Lynch, who spent his adult life as a cop, had urged NYPD officers to sign a petition that would forbid the mayor’s attendance or participation in the funerals of fallen police officers who die in the line of duty.
The news media attempted to portray de Blasio as showing support for the NYPD since the shootings by a black Muslim repeat-offender, pointing to how he urged protesters to take time off from their demonstrations and marches. But even one of his best friends, Rev. Al Sharpton, for whom de Blasio’s wife once worked, continued the marches and protests.