Pat Lynch, the president of New York City's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA), has always been a cop's best friend, especially the more questionable ones. In the wake of Eric Garner's death at the hands of an NYPD officer, Lynch was quick to deflect criticism by pointing fingers at the person who captured the incident on video.
The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest union representing NYPD officers, said in a statement that it was “criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.”
Lynch also opposed efforts (supported by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton) that might make his officers more accountable, ignoring evidence collected elsewhere
because it didn't agree with his belief that cops shouldn't be watched. Oh, and the real
problem is that the city is too quick to hand over money
to victims of police misconduct.
We are reserving our decision on body cameras until we see some real evidence of their effectiveness and impact on the officers who carry them. The Public Advocate cites the $152 million that the city spends on lawsuits against police officers but what she fails to say is that the city refuses to fight even the most ridiculous and baseless of the claims. Instead, they settle these ridiculous suits when they should fight everyone of them to conclusion which would effectively put an end to quick buck lawsuits against our officers.
As the situation eroded after the killing of Eric Garner, Lynch continued to support the NYPD's every action. When two officers were killed in their cars by a gunman, Lynch used this tragedy to widen the divide between the police and the policed. During memorial services for the slain cops, attending officers turned their backs on Mayor De Blasio
for his daring to suggest his mixed-race son might have more to fear from the city's stop-and-friskers than whites.
Lynch further leveraged this tragedy with his explicit support of the NYPD's "work slowdown." Unfortunately, this non-enforcement of bullshit charges
failed to return the city to its murder-a-minute heyday of the 70s and 80s, instead highlighting the fact that only going after more dangerous criminals was actually a fairly good way to police a city.
But even though Lynch has done his most to be a cop's best friend, it's becoming clear that many cops are no longer returning his affections. Union members are finally realizing that Lynch doesn't really serve his members' interests. He only serves himself.
Back in January, a union meeting devolved into shoving matches and screaming as members began to express their displeasure with Lynch's preference for grandstanding, rather than taking care of his officers
A police union meeting sparked an uproar Tuesday when officers blasted union president Pat Lynch over his demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio apologize to the NYPD, police sources said.
The war of words took place at the end of the two-hour meeting at Antun’s in Queens Village when union delegates from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association began shouting at Lynch, demanding to know what came out of a recent meeting with the mayor, a law-enforcement source said.
Lynch accused the mayor of having "blood on his hands"
after the slaying of two NYPD officers, while refashioning their corpses into his personal pulpit. But his officers don't care whether or not De Blasio apologizes for his statements on the Garner case. What they actually want is what almost all officers want: safety.
The officers at the union meeting wanted answers from Lynch about getting heavier weapons, better bulletproof vests and new patrol cars, the source said.
Lynch values being very publicly right
above almost anything else. His officers just want to feel that what happened to two of their own won't happen to them. Lynch not only doesn't care about the rank-and-files' priorities, he's not above using their deaths to further his career
Critics of Patrick Lynch have accused the fiery union leader of campaigning for reelection on the backs of murdered cops — including the use of a somber photo at a memorial for the slain officers…
The latest controversy stems from a new campaign video showing the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association in uniform at a makeshift memorial honoring Liu and Ramos.
The 1-minute, 4-second video, which a Lynch spokesman said was not authorized by the campaign, begins with a backdrop of stars and the words: “Team Lynch 2015.”
In one image, Lynch is delicately laying flowers at the foot of the memorial.
“Thousands of cops went to that memorial and he gets his picture taken and uses it,” the delegate said. “ None of the other cops had their pictures taken. Only the politicians . . . so that makes him worse than the politicians.”
"Authorized" or not, it's not making Lynch any more friends in the department, something he kind of needs if he's going to continue to hold this position of power. And as for the authorized aspect of the video, various PBA spokespeople seem to be offering contradictory statements.
The pictures in the video are not meant to elicit the sympathy vote, spokesman Al O’Leary said. “(They are) just the most recent photos available of him in uniform,” he explained.
Why someone from Lynch's camp would feel compelled to defend images from an unauthorized video, much less make statements about the intent of the photos that supposedly weren't picked by Lynch's office, is puzzling. Then there's the fact that the video first surfaced on PBA treasurer Joseph Alejandro's Facebook page
, which would at least suggest endorsement of the content. (Which has since been removed for -- of all reasons -- copyright claims by the NY Daily News
over images used in the video.)
Whether or not Lynch specifically authorized this video no longer matters. He will suffer the backlash from its publication just the same. He no longer has control of the union and he has really no one else to blame. While the PBA will undoubtedly continue to defend its officers from criticism and accountability, it likely won't be Lynch heading it up. It's the union that isn't, one whose "leadership" cares more about press appearances and political warfare than ensuring its members are better protected and equipped.
At the end of the day, cops (rightly or wrongly) just want to make it home alive. And while Lynch is certainly quick to deploy the unofficial First Rule of Policing
in defense of his officers' misconduct, he has no interest in actually backing up his stated concern for officer safety with any practical actions. Lynch's eventual exit will be welcomed, even if his replacement may be the same sort of self-centered political animal. Lynch managed to turn two tragedies into nothing more than a pointless, public shouting match with the Mayor's office that did nothing at all to serve the officers whose wages he receives a cut of.