New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference on Rikers Island in New York, on Dec. 17.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has come under a barrage of criticism in the wake of the killing of two NYPD officers on Dec. 20, with police union officials blasting him for what they believe is an "anti-police" stance.
But is this really fair criticism?
HDT looked at de Blasio's speeches on policing before and after he assumed office on Jan. 1 this year.
While the mayor has been a vocal critic of 'stop and frisk,' a policy that has been around for decades, he has gone out of his way to praise the police corps and its leadership. In addition, as noted by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton during a Monday interview with Today, de Blasio has provided $400 million to the NYPD outside of its normal budget this year for additional training, improved facilities and better technology.
March 28, 2012
As a debate erupted over whether the NYPD in their surveillance was profiling Muslim communities, de Blasio joined the fray on the side of the police.
“I defend without question the NYPD’s obligation to pursue specific and credible threats,” then-Public Advocate de Blasio said at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Based on what I’ve learned, I believe that the NYPD is currently limiting its work to the pursuit of specific leads and that there is a substantial legal review process connected to those decisions."
May 8, 2012
As campaigning for the mayor's office got underway, de Blasio, then the city's Public Advocate, described stop-and-frisk as a "valid tool" but also said it had been overused, helping create distrust between citizens and police.
May 20, 2013
The following year, De Blasio pushed for new legislation to curb racial profiling during stop-and-frisks.
"It’s not just that minorities are more likely to be stopped—they’re more likely to be stopped without cause,” de Blasio said. "We need to fix this broken system now. The safety of our neighborhoods and our police officers depends on rebuilding the bond between law enforcement and community.”
Jan. 1, 2014
In his inaugural address as mayor, de Blasio again spoke about stop-and-frisk but was careful to praise the NYPD.
"We will reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy, both to protect the dignity and rights of young men of color, and to give our brave police officers the partnership they need to continue their success in driving down crime," he said.
"We won’t wait. We’ll do it now."
"We won’t wait. We’ll do it now."
June 2, 2014
During a speech to the National Action Network, an organization led by Rev. Al Sharpton, de Blasio praised NYPD Commissioner Bratton while extolling the work City Hall has done to roll back stop-and-frisk.
"Now, we’ve adopted new policies that do not discriminate based on race. Our police commissioner, Bill Bratton, is working tirelessly every day to repair the relationship between police and communities. We’ve recently settled a lawsuit against the policy, so victims of this police harassment could be compensated—at least partially—and go about their lives, knowing the dark days of racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk are over."
June 30, 2014
The mayor thanked Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the United States' largest police union, at the NYPD graduation ceremony.
"There’s an important and healthy role played by organized labor in our society, and now you’ll be represented by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association," de Blasio told the officers. "Let’s thank the president Pat Lynch for all the work he does on behalf of the men and women of the NYPD."
Lynch said de Blasio had blood on his hands after two NYPD officers were murdered in Brooklyn on Saturday.
July 31, 2014
Many have said that tensions between de Blasio and police ratcheted up during a roundtable the mayor held with Sharpton and Bratton in which Sharpton was critical of the police commissioner.
De Blasio was gracious to both of them, and praised Bratton several times.
"In Commissioner Bratton, I appointed the finest police leader in the United States of America, period, and I’m convinced of that," de Blasio said. "I did a lot of research to make sure that someone who could do those two things right – keep us safe and create an atmosphere of respect."
Aug. 23, 2014
After the death of Eric Garner, who died after a NYPD officer put him in an illegal chokeholds, de Blasio stressed bridging the gap between police and civilians.
"Their message was clearly about bringing police and community together. Any attempt to paint it otherwise is inaccurate," de Blasio said. "I also want to say, NYPD – NYPD has done an extraordinary job in the planning for this march."
Oct. 24, 2014
The mayor praised police after two officers were attacked by a man wielding a hatchet.
"As usual, the NYPD is ready for any and all situations and has handled the events in the last 24 hours with tremendous capability and professionalism," de Blasio said. "I've said many times, New York City is blessed to have the finest police force anywhere in the world and we are blessed to have the finest police leadership anywhere in the world."
Dec. 2, 2014
The day before a grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD officer in the chokehold death of Garner, de Blasio praised the NYPD for its role in bringing New York crime to a record-low.
“Thanks to the NYPD and the leadership of Police Commissioner Bratton,crime in New York City is at historic lows,” de Blasio said. “But this administration doesn’t rest on its laurels—we will continue to build on our efforts to strengthen the bond between our police officers and communities they service, working to keep New York the safest big city in the nation.”
Dec. 3, 2014
When de Blasio spoke about conversations he has had with his biracial son Dante about how to deal with the police, some said the mayor rubbed salt into an open wound.
"A good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face—we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him."
Dec. 20, 2014
At a press conference after the murder of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, the two NYPD officers who were killed in Brooklyn on Saturday, de Blasio appear to tear up.
"When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society," de Blasio said. "It is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on everything we hold dear."
Tags: BILL BRATTON, MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY, NYPD, POLICE, POLITICS, PROTESTS, SHOOTING, U.S., US & World