The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYCPBA) has called for officers to stop enforcing social distancing orders, saying that politicians have left them hanging to deal with the backlash on their own.
The union called city leaders “cowards” who have left the police to “fend for themselves.”
.@NYCPBA calls for end of @NYPDnews policing of social distancing: "As the weather heats up & the pandemic continues to unravel our social fabric, police officers should be allowed to focus on our core public safety mission. If we don’t, the city will fall apart before our eyes.” pic.twitter.com/YPYZUh4TG2
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) May 4, 2020
“The NYPD needs to get cops out of the social distancing enforcement business altogether,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “The cowards who run this city have given us nothing but vague guidelines and mixed messages, leaving the cops on the street corners to fend for ourselves.”
Lynch also blasted politicians for releasing real criminals while discouraging them from properly doing their jobs to enforce laws against things like fare evasion.
“Meanwhile, those same politicians are still watering down our laws, releasing real criminals and discouraging proactive enforcement of fare evasion and quality of life issues,” Lynch said.
The statement comes after a video went viral of a violent clash between law enforcement and citizens who were not complying with the social distancing orders.
NYPD Officers continue to terrorize us amid the Covid-19 Epidemic, WE WANT JUSTICE. Asking leaders to stand up for us
Avenue D and 9th st, Lower East Side@NYCMayor @NYPDCommAffairs @CMCarlinaRivera @NYCMayorsOffice @NBCNewYork @ABC@PIX11News @NYDailyNews @HarveyforNY pic.twitter.com/3p2MbEZ1w0
— Temitope Johnson 🇳🇬 (@afroshaped) May 3, 2020
The department has faced significant backlash over the footage.
“Officers instructed the group disperse and while most complies, some refused. As officers approached, they observed a bag of alleged marijuana in plain view. Subject #1 immediately became aggressive towards officers and resisted arrest. While attempting to effect this arrest, Subject #2 attempted to intervene and prevent the arrest of Subject #1 and was also placed under arrest,” the department said in a statement about the video.