The US nation is highly sensitive to cop-related stories, following the many incidents which took place last year. After the brutal murders of the two police officers from New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio found himself in the position of defending law enforcement. The damaging public opinions did not help, and the slowdown in arrests only made his agenda worse.
Leaders of the police union accused the mayor and blamed him, in part, for the unfortunate tragedies of the two officers, and the dropping in arrests was viewed as a lack of control on the mayor’s part. Not only the public opinion was criticizing him, but also the mayor’s allies, political and otherwise, started to hesitate in their support.
But de Blasio seems to have successfully deterred the political crisis which threatened to cast a dark shadow on his term. He managed that by actively reaching out to the police department and also by being outranked in the public’s interest by other, more interesting political news.
De Blasio was quick to approve the $7.3 million budget for new vests for the next fiscal year, and he did so in a few hours after the request was proposed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. In his promise to fund the investment, de Blasio approved a budget request which would have otherwise been settled after months of negotiation.
Another critical concern of the police offers was addressed this month, when he pledged to veto the bill about criminalizing officers’ use of chokeholds, making them punishable by prison or charging drastic fees. This concern about the maneuver was raised after an incident last summer, in which officer Daniel Pantaleo seem to be holding a 43-year-old man in a chokehold.
Another important part in the mayor’s strategy of taming the public opinion was to rely strongly on the help of the NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, who acted as a contact between him and the police officers. It is no secret that the majority of the officers prefer to deal with Bratton than with the mayor, since Bratton can be more sympathetic to their needs, being a lifelong police officer himself. On numerous times, Bratton defended the mayor, while recognizing the legitimate frustration of the officers.
However, the most specific sign showing that the relationship between the police department and the City Hall is finally going back on track, was the fact that arrests and summonses have resumed, ending the dry spell which followed the shootings.
Image Source: Crain’s New York Business