Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton talked for more than two hours with NYPD union officials Tuesday but failed to resolve any of their divisions, according to the unions.
De Blasio had called the meeting at the new police academy in College Point, Queens, after weeks of attacks from police unions, notably the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, over his rhetoric and actions in the wake of Eric Garner's apparent chokehold death and anti-police statements by some demonstrators.
The sentiment against de Blasio came to head last weekend at the funeral of slain Officer Rafael Ramos where hundreds of NYPD officers and police from out of town turned their backs on the mayor when he delivered a eulogy at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens. De Blasio also was booed at Monday's police graduation ceremony in Manhattan.
Reporters were not allowed into the meeting and were not given a briefing by City Hall. However, in a short statement to the media, PBA president Patrick Lynch indicated it had not gone well.
"There were a number of discussions, especially about the safety issues our members face. There was no resolve [resolution], and our thought here today is that actions speak louder than words and time will tell," Lynch said. He declined to answer questions about his remarks or to say whether the unions would meet again with de Blasio.
In an equally brief statement, de Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak said, "Today's meeting focused on building a productive dialogue and identifying ways to move forward together."
"The mayor and police commissioner remain committed to keeping crime in New York City at historically low levels, supporting the brave men and women in uniform who protect us every day, and finding ways to bring police and the community closer together," Walzak said.
A labor official who didn't want to be identified said police union leaders had the impression they were being used by City Hall as part of a public relations stunt.
Police historian and author Thomas Reppetto said de Blasio and Bratton have to repair relations with officers.
"The bottom line is it has to be dealt with and reach some kind of arrangement now, or it's going to be a rough ride for the next three years" of the mayor's term, Reppetto said. "We have been through all this [in the past], but it is hard to get things done if there isn't some understanding and trust between the parties."