Bratton warns NYPD not to turn backs on mayor at cop’s funeral
Police Commissioner Bill BrattonPhoto: James Messerschmidt
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is so worried his cops will turn their backs to his boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, at another NYPD funeral that he sent out a memo to shame them into good behavior, sources told The Post.
“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” began the four-paragraph plea, which is being read at precinct roll calls ahead of slain Officer Wenjian Liu’sSunday service.
Bratton won’t punish officers who choose to turn their backs to de Blasio — which was done in droves at the funeral for fallen Officer Rafael Ramos — but he pleaded with the rank and file to shelve their anger.
“I issue no mandates and I make no threats of discipline,” the memo said. “But I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor, and decency that go with it.”
Thousands of cops outside the Ramos funeral church showed their backs to the massive video screens broadcasting de Blasio’s eulogy inside.
But the memo goes much further, blaming the officers involved with taking attention away from the funeral and ruining the NYPD’s reputation.
“The country’s consciousness of that funeral has focused on an act of disrespect shown by a fraction of those…officers,” he said.
“All officers were painted by it, and it stole the valor, honor, and attention that rightfully belonged to the memory of detective Rafael Ramos’s life and service. That was not the intent, I know. But it was the result.”
Many cops were furious over the directive, which they saw as an attempt to fix the mayor’s bruised ego.
“Obviously he’s doing this to help his boss, de Blasio. He’s taking his side. He’s trying to protect him and not make him look bad,” a police source said.
One cop who participated in the collective back-turn defended the act of protest, saying it was the mayor who first snubbed the NYPD, including officers Liu and Ramos, with his unsupportive statements.
Cops turn their backs on a live video monitor showing de Blasio as he speaks at Rafael Ramos’ funeral.Photo: Reuters
“I did that because I feel Mayor de Blasio does not like cops, and I would never do anything to disrespect another cop or his family,” he explained, adding that he found the memo “sickening.”
“He cares about his boss more than the 35,000 cops he’s in charge of,” the cop complained.
Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins blasted the mayor for having his commissioner tell cops to respect him.
“If you’re the mayor and you have to direct the commissioner to respect you, it’s a total embarrassment for the office,” he said. “Are they going to order cops to go have dinner with him next?”
Mullins told his members it’s up to them if they want to protest.
“I remind my members of their first amendment rights of expression,” he said. “It’s your choice. Choose what makes sense to you.”
But Roy Richter, president of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association, has taken Bratton’s tact, encouraging cops to stick with “cold, steely silence” instead.
“We must work to honor Police Officer Wenjian Liu’s sacrifice at future services,” he said in a statement. “In this forum the appropriate protest is not a sign or turning away from mourners, or people the family has asked to speak, but rather cold, steely silence.”