CBS New York, December 29, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio faced applause, boos and catcalls when he took the stage to address hundreds of new police recruits at a police graduation ceremony.
De Blasio spoke Monday at Madison Square Garden during a tense point in his relationship with the NYPD.
The 884 new police officers sat stoically in their seats when de Blasio was introduced. But some could be heard booing and heckling the mayor in the seats reserved for the cadets’ family and friends. Others cheered and applauded.
“It takes a special kind of person to put their lives on the line for others, to stare down the danger, “he said. “Because that’s what you will do. You will stare down the danger. You will keep the peace.”
He then continued: “You’ll confront all the problems that plague our society–problems that you didn’t create.”
But immediately after the mayor made that remark, someone from the crowd yelled, “You did!” That heckle was met with laughter and some applause from the crowd.
About a dozen or so people in the stands stood with their backs turned to de Blasio. But he continued praising the officers and received polite applause when he finished speaking.
The graduation comes two days after hundreds of officers turned their backs to a video monitor as they watched de Blasio eulogize Officer Rafael Ramos at his funeral in Queens.
Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, were shot to death as they sat in their patrol car on Dec. 20. After the officers’ deaths, the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed himself.
The silent protest at Ramos’ funeral was a continuation of the defiance shown at a hospital after the officers’ slayings when Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and others turned their backs on de Blasio.
Lynch said the mayor had “blood on his hands.”
It was not clear if officers planned to turn their backs on de Blasio again at Liu’s funeral, which is set to be held at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Aievoli Funeral Home in Brooklyn.