New Yorkers are pretty unhappy with the way police officers protested against Mayor Bill de Blasio at two recent police funerals. And while the city’s residents continue to support the police, a new poll shows that they believe any officers who deliberately made fewer arrests during a recent slowdown should be disciplined.
Nearly seven in 10 people in the city disapprove of the way police officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the recent police funerals, according to a Quinnipac University poll released Thursday.
Police officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the funerals for Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were gunned down while sitting in their squad car last month. After the shooting, the tense relationship between de Blasio and the police became a very public rift that has only worsened.
De Blasio and William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, criticized these funeral protests last week. The mayor called them disrespectful to the mourning families, while Bratton said he was disappointed with “the selfishness” of the officers who ignored his request that they not to turn their backs at the second funeral.
New Yorkers agree. During a survey conducted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 14, they said they were against the funeral protests.
“Cops turning their backs on their boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, is unacceptable, New Yorkers say by large margins,” Maurice Carroll, a Quinnipiac University poll assistant, said in a statement announcing the results. “Even cop-friendly Staten Island gives that rude gesture only a split decision.”
A majority of men, women, white, black and Hispanic respondents all said they disapproved. The only group with a majority of people approving of the protests was Republicans, with 51 percent approving (compared to 16 percent of Democrats, 36 percent of independents and 27 percent of the overall population).
Meanwhile, twice as many people (56 percent) said they felt police were making fewer arrests and issuing fewer summonses recently as a protest, rather than because they feared for their safety (27 percent). A majority of people also say the officers should be disciplined if they are purposefully slowing down (57 percent) and believe the slowdown is organized (61 percent).
Bratton confirmed that a slowdown was occurring last week, but he said this was “being corrected.” Numbers released this week show an increase in the number of tickets and arrests, though the numbers still did not match those during the same period last year.
Three out of four New Yorkers said the relationship between de Blasio and the police is “generally bad,” though residents are evenly split over whether de Blasio or the police are responsible.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, said on the night of the shooting that de Blasio had blood on his hands. Three out of four New Yorkers agreed that his comments were too extreme.