A photo of numerous NYPD officers turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio as he spoke at slain officer Miosotis Familia's funeral is going viral.
Mayor de Blasio spoke at Familia's funeral service at the World Changers Church in the Bronx on July 11, the New York Daily News reported. Hundreds of police officers stood on the Grand Concourse with their backs to the church as the mayor delivered his eulogy.
The officers kept their backs to the mayor as they heard his speech through the public address system. The protest was in response to de Blasio's decision to travel to Germany to join protesters at the G20 summit a day after 12-year NYPD veteran Familia was fatally shot in the Bronx.
“The mayor is the compass for the City of New York,” Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told the New York Daily News ahead of the funeral. “And unfortunately, when a police officer got killed, his compass led him to Germany rather than here on the Grand Concourse.
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“He should have been here with the family. ... He should have been there with us.”
This isn't the first time de Blasio has had officers turn their backs toward him. Officers previously turned their backs to the mayor at the funerals of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were murdered in December 2014.
Union officials complained that de Blasio was not being supportive of police.
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A spokesperson for de Blasio said the protest only involved a small number of officers.
“A couple dozen people showed up to partake in a bogus controversy ginned up by the media and those looking to politicize Detective Familia's death,” Austin Finan told the newspaper. “That’s unfortunate. The mayor, police commissioner and thousands of police officers from the city and beyond attended today’s service ... to pay their respects and honor Miosotis Familia.”
SBA president Ed Mullins said the protest did not come as a surprise to him.
“The atmosphere with the mayor and the police is definitely strained,” Mullins said. “I talked with hundreds of cops today and they have about had it with the mayor and the police commissioner and their policies. They don’t feel that either one of them has their backs.”
During his eulogy, de Blasio praised officer Familia.
“She embodied the American dream, a child of immigrants, the first in her family to go to college: a beautiful New York City story,” de Blasio said, according to The New York Times.
“She lived for them, but she died for all of us,” the mayor added.