Police union head Patrick Lynch is known for using terms like “mopes” and “skells” when referring to suspects, but has recently reserved his caustic comments for a higher target.
“That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor,” Lynch said Saturday after two cops were shot and killed in Brooklyn while sitting in their patrol car. “After the funerals, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable.”
It’s not the first time the 51-year-old Queens-born head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — representing 24,000 officers — has publicly criticized City Hall since taking over the nation’s largest police union in 1999.
That’s a large part of his job while fighting to negotiate contracts for his members. The union and city are in binding arbitration right now, adding fuel to the fire.
But he seems to have taken the rhetoric up a notch in recent weeks, lobbing criticism at Mayor de Blasio for failing to condemn tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets this month against police brutality. The rallies came in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the cop who placed Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold.
“He’s trying to rile up the troops,” said a retired union official, noting that Lynch faces an election challenge in June.
The PBA members have been unified by the killings of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were executed in their car Saturday in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Just little over a week earlier, Lynch told cops they could sign a petition to keep de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito away from their funerals if they died in the line of duty.
Some members flinched.
“Why would you expose a family to that?” a source said.
The petition was in reaction to de Blasio’s statement that he had spoken to his biracial son about how to stay safe during interactions with police officers.
The mayor’s words left cops feeling betrayed, Lynch said.
De Blasio said Monday he thought Lynch’s recent comments were wrong and divisive.
Lynch said that the all-time lows in crime in the city were giving residents the luxury to criticize the police.
“People are forgetting how dangerous it was, the risks we took to make the city safe,” he told The Associated Press.
And Lynch remembers the bad old days.
He started on the job in 1984 as a beat cop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, before trendy condominiums and restaurants usurped empty warehouses.
Born and raised in a traditional Irish-Catholic family in Bayside, Lynch was the youngest of seven children. He met his wife while attending Monsignor Scanlan High School and they have two grown sons who are both cops.
PBA spokesman Al O’Leary disputed the idea that Lynch has notched up his rhetoric recently.
“He was vocal during the (Amadou) Diallo shooting,” O’Leary said of the 1999 shooting of an unarmed Bronx man by cops. But some union members were hoping Lynch would keep the volume down following Saturday’s tragedy.
“He’s going for the sound bite, ‘Blood on the hands,’ ” a Brooklyn cop said. “He just blows things up — that’s all he does.”
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