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NYC Mayor de Blasio: Police were disrespectful to turn backs

Police officers turn their backs to a monitor

Police officers turn their backs to a monitor as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the funeral service for New York City Police Officer Rafael Ramos on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Monday that police officers have been making sharply fewer arrests since the murders of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and warned of consequences if cops were involved in a work slowdown.

"We are taking a long view look in terms of going back over time, looking at very specific precincts, boroughs, tours of duty," said Bratton, who wouldn't at that point call the activity a work "slowdown."

"If in fact we feel, myself and the leadership team, that that is what we are dealing with, we will call it that [a slowdown] and deal with it according," Bratton said.

The commissioner was reacting to data and reports that summonses and arrest activity had dropped sharply in recent weeks, particularly compared with a year ago. The drop comes as rank and file cops, as well as their union leaders, have literally turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio over his statements after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict a police officer in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner.

The bad feelings have run so deep that de Blasio held a closed-door meeting with union officials last week to try and mend fences. During the recent funerals for Liu and Ramos many cops turned their backs on de Blasio when he gave eulogies.

At a news conference Monday to tout 2014's record year in crime reduction, de Blasio sharply criticized such action directed against him as "disrespectful to the families" while Bratton labeled it "selfish."

Bratton didn't cite specific statistics about the drop off in arrests and summonses. But the latest NYPD data for the seven days ending Sunday shows arrests were off 55.9 percent from the same period last year. The drop was 95.7 percent for transit arrests, 67.1 percent for drunken driving and 52.2 percent for narcotics busts, the data showed. All summonses, including those for parking and moving violations and criminal infractions, were off on average 92 percent compared with last year, the same as for the week ending Dec. 28.

"We will take a look at who is maybe not doing the work that we expect of them . . . and we will deal with it very appropriately if we have to," Bratton said.

Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said the drop off in enforcement is a result of shifting of manpower to deal with demonstrations, the funerals and the doubling up of patrol cars so that officers can respond to 911 calls in case they are being set up for assassination.

"There is not a union-sanctioned slowdown, it doesn't exist," Mullins said.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association officials didn't return calls for comment. Detective Endowment Association president Michael Paladino said in a statement that when cops make arrests they are criticized as "robotic" and when they don't they are accused of being "political and disrespectful."

""You can't win," Paladino said in the statement.

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