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New York mayor greeted by heckles at police ceremony

30 december 2014, 12:40
0

 Simmering tensions between the city of New York's police force and its top official boiled over again into public view Monday as boos greeted the mayor during an officer swearing-in ceremony, AFP reports.

Hundreds of police turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio during Saturday's funeral for one of two officers killed in an anti-police shooting December 20.

Some officers have been highly critical of de Blasio for remarks about police relations with black Americans that they say incited the shooting.

While de Blasio was speaking Monday as 884 new police officers were sworn in at the city's Madison Square Garden, the crowd jeered.

De Blasio praised the city's police as "the finest police department in the world," and said the new officers had made a "heroic choice" to join the force.

Despite the praise, de Blasio was given only tepid applause compared to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who took the floor next.

When de Blasio said police would have to deal with problems they had not created, someone shouted: "You have created them."

When he took the podium, Bratton continued to mount his defense of the criticized mayor, citing his "passion" for the police during "very difficult times."

Aides for de Blasio pointed out that this wasn't the first time the mayor has been booed at a ceremony. He took no questions from the press.

   Weekend funerals 

 The funeral for the second officer killed by 28-year-old gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley is scheduled for this weekend.

Brinsley apparently shot the pair out of revenge for the police killings of two unarmed black men this summer. He later killed himself.

A prayer vigil will be held for Wenjian Liu, 32, Saturday and he will be buried the following day.

His partner Rafael Ramos was buried Saturday.

The killing of the two police officers in broad daylight shocked New Yorkers and caused a long-running dispute between the mayor and the police to spill over into public view.

Some police remain angered over de Blasio's statement that he counsels his biracial son to be particularly careful around police officers.

A leader of the police association claimed the mayor had blood on his hands for the officer shootings.

Police are also involved in protracted contract negotiations with the city.

Former Republican mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Sunday that de Blasio should apologize for his remarks.

Bratton, the police chief, is one of the few public officials to mount a defense of the mayor, in a delicate balancing act.

He decried the police protest of de Blasio at the funeral for Ramos as "very inappropriate."

But Bratton, who has served on the police force for 44 years and was appointed by de Blasio, also acknowledged that morale was low in the force and the divisions with the mayor would continue a "while longer."

"However, we will be making efforts to sit down and talk with the union leaders in particular to deal with their issues," he said.


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