Amidst worsening relations between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD, New Yorkers reported seeing a plane flying a banner over the Hudson River Friday, reading, in red capital letters, "DE BLASIO, OUR BACKS HAVE TURNED TO YOU."
The head of Jersey Shore Aerial Advertising, the company that created the banner, told the New York Daily News that the people who paid for the message "want to remain anonymous."
Former policeman John Cardillo claims in a blog post that "a coalition of NYPD cops, detectives and supervisors hundreds strong" contacted him Thursday night to let him know it would be coming, but Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, told the Daily News that "the banner was neither funded nor sanctioned by the union." He did add, however, that "the message is a universal sentiment in law enforcement."
De Blasio’s Deputy Press Secretary Wiley Norvell issued a statement after the banner was flown, stating, "This is a time to think about the families and honor our fallen officers. Dividing people won’t help our city heal. We’ll continue to stand with responsible New Yorkers who are doing the right thing in a time of pain."
On his blog, Cardillo says he was asked to release a statement on the officers' behalf, which states, in part, "Mayor deBlasio [sic] clearly doesn't understand nor care that every man and woman of the NYPD would give their life to protect his son, his family, and every other resident of New York City. Tragically, two of our Finest made that ultimate sacrifice days before Christmas. We no longer have confidence in Mayor deBlasio, nor in his ability to lead New York City and promote the values that both the NYPD and the good law abiding citizens of the city hold dear. Mayor deBlasio turned his back on us long before we turned our backs on him."
Meanwhile, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani attended the wake of Rafael Ramos in Glendale, Queens, Friday afternoon, while Mayor de Blasio was expected to attend later on in the day.
Earlier this month -- before officers Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered "execution style" in Bedford-Stuyvesant by Ismaaiyl Brinsley -- the PBA posted a form on its website for NYPD members to sign that called out the mayor for his "consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve," and called his attendance at the funeral of a fallen police officer "an insult that officer's memory and sacrifice."
Officers literally turned their backs on de Blasio at a news conference outside Woodhull Medical Center Saturday night, where Ramos and Liu were transported after the shooting, to show their disappointment in what they see as his lack of support for the city's law enforcement.
"There's blood on many hands tonight," PBA President Patrick Lynch said that night. "Those that incited violence on the street in the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn't be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."