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Pause or progress in City Hall-police feud?

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch speaks

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch speaks at the annual PBA Awards luncheon at The Water Club in Manhattan on Nov. 21, 2013. Photo Credit: Bryan Smith

There are a few promising signs that the feud between City Hall and the NYC police is waning.

Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, and other union heads met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday to discuss the tense relations.

As delegates of the PBA met on Tuesday in Queens, some members tried to shout down Patrick Lynch -- the PBA's hard-line, high-decibel, mediagenic president. Lynch said he wanted an apology from Mayor Bill de Blasio for attitudes the union considers anti-police. To the surprise of many, angry shouts erupted. One delegate said rather than an apology, his members wanted more cars, better bulletproof vests and a transfusion of manpower.

The shameful PBA effort to persuade officers to bar de Blasio and City Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito from members' funerals if they're killed in the line of duty has fizzled. Just 4% of members have signed up, sources told the New York Daily News. Meanwhile, the police work slowdown a few days ago, which some attribute to the PBA, was hardly a success for the union.

Beyond that, the PBA's own numbers say changes are coming. Blacks and Hispanics -- together -- are a majority on the NYPD's 22,000-patrol force. Whites are a minority. This tells us that the old PBA, which once reveled in an in-your-face attitude on minority streets, may soon become a thing of the past.

But it's way soon to assume that hostilities are over.

The PBA is still trying to hammer out a labor contract with the city after five years without a deal. That might account for much of the member annoyance with Lynch. At the same time, the anti-cop protests are scheduled to ramp up again after their hiatus in the wake of the recent police assassinations in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Anything can happen. De Blasio, to his credit, made a strong effort Wednesday to show he's with the cops. The groups planning to march Thursday have let members say "reprehensible things" about police, he complained.

These disparate signs hardly represent a wave -- much less a sea change. But they're far better than nothing.


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