De Blasio calls police union tweet 'hateful'; proposes precinct security after shootings
NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot are calling the weekend's attacks on police officers "targeted assassination attempts." In an exclusive interview with FOX 5 NY, de Blasio said he is looking into ways to beef up precinct security without alienating the community.
But with emotions and safety concerns running high, a police union declared war on the mayor. In a tweet, the Sergeants Benevolent Association said: "You sold the NYPD to the vile creatures, the 1% who hate cops but vote for you."
"It made me really sad that after all the progress in this city, some people are still trying to divide us and hold us back," de Blasio said in reaction to a viral tweet.
SBA President Ed Mullins told FOX 5 NY that the members of the NYPD are declaring war on the mayor. It could turn into a PR war of words.
"We're going to utilize all of our resources," Mullins said. "We've got millions of dollars of resources combined with labor organizations and law enforcement."
"He's a public official. He said something divisive and hateful," de Blasio said. "It does not represent the values of our city or our police department."
Despite the de Blasio administration's record-low crime rate combined with declining arrests, Mullins maintained that the double ambush on cops shows the city is going in the wrong direction.
On Saturday night, Robert Williams, 45, allegedly shot at police and wounded an officer in a patrol vehicle. Then about 12 hours later, he stormed the 41st Precinct in the Bronx, spraying bullets and wounding a lieutenant, according to the NYPD.
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The police commissioner, who was a guest on Good Day New York, said that officers cannot afford political distractions.
"I think when you look at the men and women in blue who do such a phenomenal job policing this city, the last thing we need is them caught in the middle of anything. Their job is difficult enough. I can tell you first-hand," Shea said. "So what we need is New York City rallying behind the men and women in blue."
The shooting rampage raised questions about the open-door policy of most precincts.
"We have these Chinese restaurants, bodegas—they all have ballistic glass separating the people from the counter from the people who come in and shop," Mullins said.
De Blasio told FOX 5 NY that his administration will "look at anything and everything needed to protect" cops. He said that he will get recommendations from the police commissioner about what safety improvements could be made to the precincts, just as he did when ballistic glass and doors were recommended and installed in patrol vehicles.
"We have to create a secure environment but it has to be an open city and environment at the same time," de Blasio said. "We can balance those two factors and we'll do whatever it takes."
Williams is currently being held without bail on more than two dozen counts of attempted murder and other charges. Despite making a videotaped confession, he pleaded not guilty and will go back before a judge on Feb. 14.