According to statistics obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the NYPD’s operational “slowdown” continues. Though the rates of arrests and citations are beginning to accelerate compared to the week of December 22 to 28 when they were down 90 percent from the year prior, New York City police activity remains relatively low.
The reduced police activity is largely seen as a protest in response to the actions of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who angered police when he implied that racism played a role in the death of Eric Garner and the grand jury’s subsequent decision not to indict the officer responsible.
Conservatives have largely sided with the police in their feud with New York City and its mayor. But, in the public relations war, the city’s police are losing.
According to a new Quinnipiac University survey of the city’s residents, 69 percent of respondents disapprove of the NYPD’s campaign of turning their backs on the mayor when he addresses audiences of cops. 52 percent believe that discipline among the NYPD has broken down. Further, NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton enjoys an approval rating of 56 percent, up from 44 percent in December. 62 percent of respondents expressed confidence in his ability to “restore discipline” to the police force.
“With a big racial divide,” as Quinnipiac noted, 49 percent of city residents believe “Mayor de Blasio’s statements and actions during his 2013 campaign and during his first year in office show he does support police.” While a broad majority of African-Americans and a slim majority of Hispanics agree with this statement, however, 49 percent of white city residents disagree.
“Cops turning their backs on their boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, is unacceptable, New Yorkers say by large margins. Even cop-friendly Staten Island gives that rude gesture only a split decision,” said, Maurice Carroll, the Quinnipiac University poll’s assistant director. “Comments by the PBA’s Patrick Lynch that Mayor de Blasio has ‘blood on his hands’ are condemned by white, black and Hispanic voters alike.”
As for PBA President Lynch, NYC residents of all backgrounds agree that his comments were “too extreme.” 77 percent of those polled agreed that Lynch’s comments have done his cause a disservice.
But the Quinnipiac poll isn’t all bad news for the NYPD:
New York City voters approve 56 – 37 percent of the job police citywide are doing, compared to 51 – 41 percent December 17. Approval today is 66 – 28 percent among white voters and 54 – 36 percent among Hispanic voters, while black voters disapprove 54 – 41 percent. Voters approve 71 – 25 percent of the job police in their community are doing.
Furthermore, conservatives can rejoice in the poll’s findings that MSNBC host slash activist Rev. Al Sharpton has received his lowest favorability score in the history of Quinnipiac polling. Only 29 percent of respondents view Sharpton favorably while 53 percent have a negative view of the political activist.
“It’s an incongruous pairing, but Lynch and Rev. Al Sharpton, the outspoken police critic, share in the negative judgments of New Yorkers,” Caroll added.
So, it’s clear New Yorkers have not given up on their new mayor just yet, and voters think the NYPD has overplayed their hand. What’s more, they believe that those figures who attempted to advance their own careers during this episode have acted irresponsibly. It would be prudent at this stage for the PBA and the mayor’s office to move on from this feud and get back to the work the city’s residents have trusted them to pursue. That is only unless de Blasio, who apparently enjoys the backing of the public, wants to press his advantage.