Attacks by the New York City police unions on Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) may have backfired.
New York City voters across racial lines disapprove of recent protests in which police officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the funeral of two police officers slain in the line of duty, a new Quinnipiac poll says.
Black, white and Hispanic voters disapprove of the decision by police officers to turn their backs 69 percent to 27 percent, the poll says.
New York voters of all races also disapprove of comments by police union leaders who said de Blasio had "blood on his hands" after two officers were shot and killed in Brooklyn while sitting in their patrol car in December.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the alleged gunman, had posted references in social media to the police killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York's Staten Island before shooting the officers. Union officials had complained the de Blasio was not supportive enough of the city's officers during protests that followed a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the Garner case.
“That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said in a statement after the officers were killed. “When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable.”
Voters said that those comments were "too extreme" by a margin of 77 percent to 17 percent. The poll found that "there is no party, gender, racial, borough or age group which finds the comments 'appropriate.'"
New York voters were more divided along racial lines when they were asked whether de Blasio had supported police. A majority of black and Hispanic voters who were surveyed said that the mayor supported police during his mayoral campaign and his first year in office, while white voters said 49 percent to 36 percent that he did not.
Lynch's December comments began a nasty public feud with de Blasio. Lynch has said that de Blasio has unfairly attacked police, who are only following the policies set by the mayor.
"If the policy is wrong then change it. We’ll follow our orders and effectively police that policy. But when he criticizes his department, he’s criticizing his own policy,” he said in an interview with NPR last week.
Lynch has demanded an apology from de Blasio, who has recently taken a somewhat harder line against those protesting for policing reforms.