By Sheryl Estrada
Kindness wasn’t on the agenda Tuesday during the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) meeting of delegates in Queens.
According to the New York Daily News, the meeting, with about 350 in attendance, almost ended up in fisticuffs. Tempers flared, with members shouting at their president, Patrick Lynch, over whether an apology from New York City Mayor de Blasio or better equipment and more officers are needed. The PBA union has 23,000 members.
“I don’t care about an apology!” a PBA member shouted. “I want to know what you’re going to do to protect us!”
Lynch publicly criticized de Blasio in the wake of the execution of two New York City police officers on Dec. 20. He said there was “blood on many hands tonight” starting with “the office of the mayor.”
The union’s feelings of discontent began in early December with de Blasio’s comments on race and police relations after the grand jury’s decision not to indictOfficerDaniel Pantaleoin the death of Eric Garner.
The protests that resulted after the decision strained their relations as well.
There was also a recent work slowdown by the NYPD, confirmed by New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
PBA elections will be held in June. Lynch is seeking to keep his seat.
In a statement, he downplayed what occurred at this week’s union meeting, blaming the ruckus on “a few agitators bent on their own self-agendas.”
Bratton said in an interview he’s not surprised there’s disagreement within the union.
“The PBA has always been a somewhat contentious group,” Bratton said. “Pat Lynch is running for reelection. He has opposition so the idea that there’d be a split is understandable even in normal times, and what we’re dealing with right now cannot be construed under any circumstances as normal times.”