Earlier I noted the new Quinnipiac Poll that showed that while New Yorkers give solid approval numbers to the NYPD, they roundly oppose the campaign of public back-turning and the police refusal to enforce all but the most serious laws in the weeks since the execution style killing of two NYPD patrolmen. What also emerged in the poll is public anger that Patrick Lynch, President of the Police Benevolent Association has managed to make the public face of an asshole into the public face of the NYPD. And now there are signs of rising opposition to Lynch within the union itself. A raucous union meeting at Antun’s catering hall in Queens Village on Tuesday night broke down into a melee of pushing and shoving and screaming involving some 100 police officers angry Lynch’s leadership of the union. The yelling and screaming and shoving went on for about ten minutes, according to the Daily News, before Lynch walked out.
To be clear, it’s not that there’s any revolt in support of Mayor de Blasio. It’s more anger that Lynch has led the union into a dead-end with his increasingly politicized stand-off with the Mayor, and that at the expense of addressing the more practical concerns of his members.
For a little background, since things spiraled out of control at the end of last month, Lynch and fellow union leaders have stood pat on a demand that Mayor de Blasio apologize to the city’s police force. de Blasio has been taking every opportunity to praise the police. But he shows no sign that he is considering such an apology. Indeed, there is zero reason he should apologize. That’s not because he’s been perfect in everything he’s done as Mayor but because the whole pissing match is about asserting power and dominance. The real wrongs Lynch and others want contrition for are opposing stop & frisk (which city residents opposed by wide margins) and the Mayor’s story about his black son – neither of which he can or should apologize for.
Whether you agree with that or not, what’s clear is that an apology is not coming. And that’s left Lynch et al. holding on to their de facto strike policy with no end game in sight, and no exit plan. Presumably the NYPD can’t keep up its enforcement strike forever. And rather than driving public opposition to the Mayor, the antics are turning off the public at large.
From the Daily News ..
“This is what my members want!” a cop yelled near the end of the raucous meeting. “They want more cars, better vests, more manpower!”
And then the cop — one of about 350 in attendance — took a verbal jab at Lynch, who has called on de Blasio to offer a mea culpa for his continued lack of support for police.
“They don’t want an apology,” he said.
At the peak of the clash, about 100 cops were standing and screaming at Lynch, sources told the Daily News.
“I don’t care about an apology!” another PBA member shouted. “I want to know what you’re going to do to protect us!”
The poll out today suggests that Lynch’s behavior and the force under his union leadership has had the fairly astounding effect of sowing ill will toward the police department during a period when one would expect an outpouring of public support. I’m curious how or whether that will affect the politics within Lynch’s union.