Police Union Tears into Democratic Leadership for Putting Politics Ahead of Policing


Crime in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City is generally pretty low. In September, focusing on a set of positive statistics, the mayor said that the NYPD had made “further progress driving down crime in New York City.”

So, clearly, the city isn’t in the criminal morass that it found itself in the 1980s.

However, the head of one of the city’s biggest police unions says that the current state of affairs is like “the ’70s leading into the ’80s.”

Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins said in an appearance on WNYM-AM’s “The Cats Roundtable” that the state of Gotham under de Blasio was a “shame,” the New York Post reported.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Mullins said.

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“I laugh when I hear the police commissioner say this is not the ’80s. He’s 100 percent correct. I agree with him on one thing: It is not the ’80s. This is the ’70s leading into the ’80s. It’s the people of New York City that have no idea what the ’80s were like. If this continues, they’re going to find out soon.”

After the administrations of Mayors John Lindsay and Abraham Beame in the 1960s and 1970s, the city was left almost bankrupt and with a reputation for crime. The crack epidemic of the 1980s brought the city to a nadir before it underwent a renaissance in the 1990s.

At least on paper, de Blasio’s New York doesn’t seem like it’s going down that road. Statistics from August of this year showed that serious felonies were down 2.1 percent from August of 2018, going from 8,963 to 8,775.

“The human impact, we always come back to that in real terms. Well, it’s 188 fewer crimes, 188 fewer families afflicted by crime, living a better life because of the men and women of the NYPD,” de Blasio said as he announced the statistics.

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“This means people were kept safe. This means the strategies that were put in places continue to work, continue to grow and continue to succeed.”

Mullins said the statistics were misleading.

“Try telling that to the victims,” he said.

“We have poor people living in poor communities that are allowed to be victims,” the union chief added. “People don’t want to touch the issue of race.”

“I know where this is going. If you continue to blame the cops, you’re going to be living with the criminals.”

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Mullins isn’t necessarily wrong on this one. As de Blasio touted the August 2019 statistics, his own police commissioner, James O’Neill, noted that shootings had spiked in the two weeks following the firing of an officer involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

After Officer Daniel Pantaleo was dismissed, the Police Benevolent Association warned officers to exercise “extreme caution” in using force during arrests. Correlation isn’t causality, but what happened next was one heck of a correlation.

“Statistics showed citywide shootings nearly doubled during the past week, from 12 to 23, compared to the same time period last year,” the Post reported.

“That followed a 44% spike, from 16 to 23, during the previous week, which began the day of Pantaleo’s firing.

“Those shootings bought the most recent four-week total to 85 shootings, up 25% from 68 last year, after two weeks in which there were a combined 39 shootings, down from 40 during the same time last year.”

According to O’Neill, arrests were down 19.8 percent and criminal summonses fell by 12.5 percent in the week before the announcement. Shootings had been down 2.5 percent before the firing but jumped 64.3 percent afterward.

“Law enforcement sources have told The Post that while there’s no organized slowdown, the drop in numbers was due to the ‘Pantaleo effect’ of cops not wanting to put their careers at risk,” the Post reported.

“During the two weeks leading to Pantaleo’s arrest, total arrests and criminal summonses were down 7.3 and 4%, respectively, then dropped by 23.7 and 20.8% during the two weeks after, CompStat figures show.”

O’Neill said at the time that they were “monitoring” the jump and that “there is accountability here.”

“We have to make sure the precinct, [public housing] and transit commanders are paying attention to this and they are paying attention to this every day,” he said.

“Police officers have a responsibility to keep people safe and they need to do their jobs and that’s why we have the leadership in place that we do.”

The city’s also had dealt with quality of life issues, as well, particularly involving drug use in the city’s public parks. The de Blasio administration installed needle deposit bins in 14 Bronx public parks which had little to no effect. City Journal reported in January that in St. Mary’s Park, only 1 percent of the 21,000 syringes recovered by the Parks Department were put in the bins. However, the move made it clear that the city isn’t going to be cracking down on the public use of hard drugs.

De Blasio seemed to reverse course after a Post exposé revealed an 11 percent success rate for the syringe-bin program.

“The parks are not an OK place for people to use drugs,” he told reporters. On St., Mary’s Park specifically, which is in one of the most economically depressed areas of the city, he said, “I don’t accept what’s going on in that park.”

“I don’t accept it from a health point of view or from a policing point of view. We are going to change that reality very, very quickly,” he said, while still maintaining that “it makes sense to try it.”

When it comes to shootings or people shooting up, the writing is on the wall. No, this isn’t the 1980s yet. But it certainly could be the run-up to a period like that.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture