'Stop treating us like animals': New York police union chief hits back over portrayal of cops and says Floyd killing was 'disgusting'

·3 min read
New York Police Benevolent Association President Mike O'Meara hit back at legislators and the press for vilifying the police: Fox News
New York Police Benevolent Association President Mike O'Meara hit back at legislators and the press for vilifying the police: Fox News

The head of a New York state police union has hit out at both lawmakers and the media for treating the police like “animals and thugs”, and for vilifying the profession.

Mike O’Meara, president of the New York Police Benevolent Association, standing in front of a large group of police officers at a press conference, said that 375 million interactions between the public and the police each year are “overwhelmingly positive”.

Yet he said that he had read all week that in the black community mothers are worried about their children getting home from school without being killed by a cop.

A frustrated Mr O’Meara said: “What world are we living in? That doesn’t happen. It does not happen!”

“I am not Derek Chauvin. They are not him.” he said referring to the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd. “He killed someone. We didn’t. We are restrained.”

Speaking on behalf of the assembled officers, he said: “Everybody’s trying to shame us. The legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our profession.”

Holding up his police badge he said: “You know what? This isn’t stained by someone in Minneapolis. It’s still got a shine on it, and so do theirs.”

Mr O’Meara added, angrily: “Stop treating us like animals and thugs, and start treating us with some respect! That’s what we’re here today to say. We’ve been left out of the conversation. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting.”

Bail has been set at $1.25m for Mr Chauvin, who has been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter over the death of Mr Floyd. Three other officers have also been charged.

Mr Floyd’s funeral took place in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday afternoon.

“We don’t condone Minneapolis. We roundly reject what he did as disgusting. It’s disgusting! It’s not what we do. It’s not what police officers do,” said Mr O’Meara.

The press conference in New York City comes after an incident in Buffalo on Friday in which 75-year-old Martin Gugino fell and suffered a head injury after an interaction with two officers clearing the plaza outside City Hall.

Video of the incident went viral, and officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were charged with second degree assault at the weekend, having already been suspended. Their suspension led 57 officers to resign from the emergency response team.

Mr O’Meara did not mention the incident in his remarks.

Initial reaction online focused on the lack of diversity in the assembled crowd of police officers standing behind Mr O’Meara, and it not being a reflection of the NYPD, something questioned by New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.

"Any New Yorker can tell you that this group does not look representative of the NYPD at all. Most NYPD patrol officers are Black, Latino, or Asian American — and the overall force is about 1/5 women. So what’s going on here? 👀," she wrote.

Other users said his comments and anger at the treatment of the force underline why reform of the police is so needed.

His statement about being treated with respect was declared ironic by many, especially the use of the words “animals and thugs”.

One Twitter user said: “Sir, that’s all Black and Brown people are asking for from YOUR officers.”

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