New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio was greeted with boos and catcalls at a graduation ceremony for new police officers today where he told the cadets they can be "part of the solution."
The mayor's comments were the first to the police since this weekend when hundreds of officers turned their backs on an outdoor monitor showing de Blasio speaking at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos. Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were ambushed in Brooklyn Dec. 20 while sitting in their squad car. The gunman later killed himself. Liu's funeral will be held next weekend.
De Blasio presided over the graduation today of the nearly 900 cadets at a ceremony in Madison Square Garden. Boos and catcalls cascaded down upon the mayor when he was introduced. There was a smattering of polite applause.
At one point de Blasio told the cadets, "You didn't create problems," and someone in the crowd shouted audibly "No, you did!" The recruits were stoic.
The mayor continued, telling the cadets, "You can be part of the solution and that is a blessing." He quoted from the Bible saying, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be children of God... We lost two peacemakers nine days ago. We lost two heros. They were children of God for sure."
The police union has been furious at de Blasio for statements that were viewed as sympathetic to protesters demonstrating against the police after a grand jury cleared an officer in the death of Eric Garner, who was arrested and subdued for selling loose cigarets. At one point the mayor, who has a mixed race son, said he warned his son to be careful if he is ever stopped by police.
After the deaths of Ramos and Liu, the police union president said that de Blasio had "blood on his hands" for encouraging hostility to police.