The NYPD Is Losing Its War Against Bill De Blasio

Bill de blasioCarlo Allegri /ReutersNew York Mayor Bill de Blasio walks away from the podium after speaking to the New York City Police Academy Graduating class in New York December 29, 2014.

In early January, the NYPD began a two-week slowdown that cut the number of arrests in New York City nearly in half since the same period last year.

While the department has started to make low-level arrests once again, the situation likely began, for many officers, as a way to push back against Mayor Bill de Blasio for his perceived lack of support amid growing protests against cops after the police chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Some considered the response an all-out act of war, especially considering thousands of cops turned their backs on the mayor as he eulogized one of the Brooklyn officers shot in his car.

And even before the funeral, police union president Pat Lynch said the mayor had “blood on [his] hands.”

A recent survey of 1,182 New York City voters from Quinnipiac University, however, suggests the NYPD’s strategy may have backfired. Most notably:

  • Black, white, and Hispanic respondents disapprove 69%, compared to 27% who approve, of officers turning their backs on de Blasio that day, according to the data.
  • 77% of respondents would call Lynch’s comment “too extreme.” No one of any party, gender, race, borough, or age group finds the comments “appropriate.”
  • 57% believe officers should face punishment if they deliberately make fewer arrests or write fewer tickets.
  • Of the 77% of respondents who classify relations between de Blasio and the department as “generally bad,” 61% of white voters and 69% of black voters blame the mayor.

Interestingly enough, approval for Police Commissioner Brill Bratton has increased 12% (from 44% to 54%) since Dec. 17. Bratton, however, has consistently received a lower approval rating than the later years of his predecessor, Ray Kelly.

“Voters think misbehaving cops should be punished and they fear that discipline in the department has broken down, but they believe Commissioner Bratton can straighten things out,” Quinnipiac University poll assistant director Maurice Carroll said.

Recently, de Blasio expressed relief that the NYPD showed signs of returning to business as usual.

“I’m confident we’re moving in the right direction,” de Blasio said. “Every public servant needs to do their job. But I think in the interest of moving us forward, they have taken the right approach and we’re seeing good results.”

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