In his first public remarks since New York Police Department (NYPD) officers turned their backs on him in protest, Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the action, calling it “disrespectful.”

In the weeks following the fatal shooting of two NYPD officers by a lone gunman, many in the department have been attributing the tense climate between community and officers to de Blasio’s “perceived” support of demonstrators protesting against police brutality.

But the mayor, who faced the backs of officers at both the funerals of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, said the action hurt the families of their two fallen comrades.

“Those individuals who took certain actions the last two weeks, they were disrespectful to the families involved. That’s the bottom line,” de Blasio said at a news conference held at police headquarters. “I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that.”

Liu’s funeral was the fourth time officers turned their backs on the mayor — the first was at the hospital where their bodies were taken, and again at an NYPD graduation ceremony. They also protested at Ramos’ funeral.

Officers continued to defy rank, even after police commissioner William Bratton requested they cease protests during the funerals.

Bratton continued to back de Blasio during his widening rift with the rank and file, saying he was “very disappointed” in the officers who did not honor his request to refrain from protesting at Liu’s funeral on Sunday.

“A funeral is not the place for that,” Bratton said. “Come demonstrate outside City Hall. Come demonstrate outside police headquarters. But don’t put on your uniform, go to a funeral and engage in a political action.”

The police union, however, continues to add fuel to the fire, suggesting de Blasio’s talks condemning police conduct after the death of Eric Garner and allowing residents to protest has created the tense atmosphere that led to Ramos and Liu’s deaths.

Patrick Lynch, head of the city’s rank-and-file police union, has repeatedly said de Blasio had “blood on his hands” from the deaths and has supported the officers’ rights to protest. He declined to comment about the mayor’s remarks Monday.

But Edward Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said de Blasio was using the slain officers’ families to “deflect what’s really happening.”

“The truth of the matter is the mayor knows there is bad blood between the rank and file,” Mullins said. “And the mayor wants to pretend like he didn’t create it, but he did.”

Meanwhile, arrests in the city remain at drastically decreased figures for the second straight week. In what many are calling a “work-stoppage protest,” arrests for serious offenses are down nearly 60 percent.

The police union, however, denies that the plummeting numbers are part of an organized effort to rebuke the mayor.

SOURCE: Huffington Post | VIDEO SOURCE: News Inc.

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