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Cops turning backs on de Blasio went too far, says poll

Police officers turn their backs to a monitor

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

New York City voters overwhelmingly disapprove of protests in which hundreds of cops turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at funerals for two slain officers, according to an opinion poll released Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University survey found that more than two-thirds -- 69 percent to 27 percent -- viewed unfavorably the cops' show of contempt for the mayor that came as he was delivering eulogies.

No demographic group -- age, race, sex, political party or borough residency -- approved of how the police behaved, even those polled on Staten Island, long a bulwark of police support, according to Quinnipiac.

The poll also found that voters, by 77 percent to 17 percent, consider Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch's remarks, made the night of the murders, that de Blasio had blood on his hands, to be "too extreme."

Polled voters also said, 43 percent to 27 percent, that Lynch is a mostly negative force for New York City.

"The cops overreached quite clearly, and people don't approve," pollster Maurice Carroll said Thursday at City Hall.

In a statement released Friday morning, Lynch said: “I fight for and speak for the police officers of the City of New York and they are the only ones whose opinions I care about. I don’t do my job to make myself popular, I fight for what’s right for my members.”

A Lynch nemesis, the Rev. Al Sharpton, got his lowest marks ever -- 29 percent favorable versus 53 percent unfavorable. Sharpton did not answer a request for comment.

Tensions between the police unions and de Blasio erupted after the mayor, voicing sympathy with those protesting a grand jury decision not to indict the cop in the Eric Garner apparent chokehold case, recounted coaching his biracial son to be cautious around cops.

The job-approval numbers for de Blasio's police commissioner, William Bratton, jumped from last month, with 56 percent approving to 31 percent, compared with the Dec. 17 poll, in which 44 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved. Bratton's office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Asked about the poll, de Blasio spokesman Phillip Walzak issued a statement: "The mayor is committed to keeping crime low, ensuring the brave men and women of the NYPD have the tools needed to keep them safe on the job, and bringing police and community closer together."

The poll, conducted Jan. 7-14 on cell and landline phones, interviewed 1,182 city voters, with a margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Separately Thursday, the City Council proposed $7.3 million for the 2016 budget to purchase upgraded bulletproof vests for NYPD officers.

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