The city’s police unions have taken their message to the crossroads of the world.
Faulting city officials for a lack of urgency in the face of a rising murder toll, all five of the unions representing NYPD officers launched an online petition drive asking signatories to call on officeholders to reinstate funding to the department cut earlier this year.
They also paid for the installation of a video billboard on the 34-story skyscraper at 1500 Broadway, across 43rd St. from the NASDAQ electronic ticker-tape display.
‘We Need to Talk’
The video display shows brief scenes of mayhem, including police vehicles afire and images taken just moments before shootings. Accompanying text, some on a black background, reads, in capital letters: “Tell the NYC City Council we need to talk. Make our city safe again.”
It then directs viewers to the online petition page.
“Don’t blame the cops. Blame the politicians,” a message there reads.
The billboard and petition went live shortly after several days of violence during which 24 people were shot, one fatally, according to the unions.
“It was a New York City weekend few citizens will forget,” according to a statement from the unions announcing the campaign.
Through Oct. 25, 1,559 people had been shot and 373 murdered citywide, more than twice the 776 shot and 33 percent higher than the 280 killed through the same period in 2019, according to the NYPD.
“There is a better way,” the unions said in their announcement. “Things are moving in the wrong direction.”
On the website, the unions criticized the decision to disband the department’s plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit, as well as cuts to the NYPD budget, which they say “drove our most experienced police officers to retire in record numbers.”
They also were critical of a statute passed by the City Council in June that makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by as much as a one-year jail term and a $2,500 fine, for officers to use certain restraint methods, such as pressing an arm into a suspect's back or kneeling on a person’s neck, when making an arrest.
In effect, the unions say, “the politicians are responsible for violent-crime increases.”
They said the petition and video billboard will be followed by other efforts “to ramp up public pressure” on elected officials to restore resources to the department as well as repeal those laws the unions say “hamper effective police crime-fighting abilities.”
The five cop unions—the Police Benevolent Association, the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association, the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association and the Captains Endowment Association—in September and October joined with law-enforcement unions across the state to back a slate of Republican hopefuls for State Senate in hope of winning back that chamber for the GOP and upending some of the police reforms, including looser bail laws, enacted this year.
All five unions and their leaders have been active on social media and on the airwaves chastising leftist and liberal elected officials for their advocacy of police reforms, as well as backing pro-police candidates. The PBA and the SBA both endorsed President Trump's bid for re-election. According to Ed Mullins, the SBA's president, 82 percent of Sergeants responding to a union survey backed his re-election.
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