Outraged NYPD officers tell PBA president to cool rhetoric with mayor, focus on safety

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Some New York City police officers are furious that the political flap with Mayor Bill de Blasio is getting more attention than their safety, and they're telling PBA President Pat Lynch to cool it with the rhetoric.

They want better equipment and more cops on the streets.

So where does Lynch, de Blasio's toughest critic, go from here?

"I've had opponents in the past," he said. "I wish I had an opponent I can face and debate. I can't debate an empty chair."

Lynch downplayed a heated union meeting from Tuesday, when, according to the tabloids, some rank-and-file members spoke out against Lynch and his ongoing battle with City Hall.

One member from the back of the room reportedly yelled that police want more cars, better vests and more manpower.

"They don't want an apology" from the mayor, he said.

"This is just political theater in the back of the room," said Lynch. "It's hard to have a discussion when they're yelling in the back of the room. It wasn't 100. It was about 20. So it's being reported different than it is."

Eyewitness News asked the mayor if he found any consolation in the flareup, that maybe more officers don't see eye-to-eye with Lynch and want the bitter feud to end.

"I always assumed there was a real diversity of opinion," he said. "And I think it is more on display now."

So we asked the mayor why not apologize? He made it clear an "I'm sorry" is not in the cards.

"The things that I have said, that I believe, are what I believe," he said. "And you can't apologize for your fundamental beliefs."

Lynch indicated that wasn't what the unions are looking for anyway.

"It's not that we're looking for an 'I'm sorry,'" he said. "We're looking for him to stop creating an atmosphere where New York City police officers are getting hurt."

And so the feud continues, but de Blasio did offer an olive branch of sorts by denouncing those protesters who've chanted horrible things about police.

"There's a small group that has absolutely used unacceptable, reprehensible language toward officers," he said. "They have may a constitutional right to do it, but they should stop doing it."

The mayor's office - which hopes the attention spans of the public will shift with the passage of time - is considering empaneling focus groups to refine his message to disillusioned New Yorkers.

And de Blasio's team may soon get a clearer glimpse into how much work he has to do: The first independent poll conducted after the police shooting is expected to be released this week.
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