President Barack Obama's relationship with the Rev. Al Sharpton indicates the president is against the police, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” Giuliani also urged New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to apologize to police amid tensions between the NYPD and the current mayor following the police-involved death of an unarmed black man last summer and the fatal shootings of two cops earlier this month.
Meanwhile, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the CBS program it was “inappropriate” when his officers turned their backs on the mayor for the second straight week at Saturday's funeral for one of the two officers shot to death execution-style in Brooklyn. Officers turned their backs on the mayor last on Dec. 20 when de Blasio made a statement at a Brooklyn hospital following the deaths of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
Giuliani said Obama needs to ditch Sharpton, a civil rights activist who has participated and organized protests in memory of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the two unarmed black men who were killed by police during the summer. Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in August while Garner, 43, died after being placed in a choke hold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in July. Giuliani said Sharpton has been to the White House as many as 85 times, and blamed the civil rights leader for instigating riots and inflaming tensions between police and the public. The former New York City mayor also said Obama “hasn’t made strong comments” about the deaths of Liu and Ramos.
“If you would like to have a poster boy for hating the police, it’s Al Sharpton. You make Al Sharpton a close adviser, you’re going to turn the police in America against you. You’re going to tell the police in America, ‘We don’t understand you,’” Giuliani said. “To have that man sitting next to you speaks volumes. Actions speak louder than words. You put Al Sharpton next to you, you just told everyone, ‘I’m against the police.’”
Giuliani said New York City police unions “went overboard” in saying de Blasio had blood on his hands after the deaths of Liu and Ramos. Still, de Blasio “created an impression with the police that he was on the side of the [anti-police] protesters” who came out in force after a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo in Garner’s death, the former mayor said.
“The reality is the mayor of the city of New York should not be blamed for the murder of those police officers. That issue should not have been injected. It’s wrong,” Giuliani said, adding a mea culpa from de Blasio would diffuse the tensions. “It doesn’t matter if you like the mayor or don’t like the mayor, you have to respect the mayor’s position. I don’t support [the officers turning their backs], but I do believe Mayor de Blasio should apologize to the New York City Police Department.”
Bratton also said he didn’t condone his officer’s actions at Ramos’ funeral, calling them “very inappropriate” in an appearance on “Face the Nation.”
"That funeral was held to honor Officer Ramos, and to bring politics, to bring issues into that event I think was very inappropriate and I do not support it. He is the mayor of New York, he was there representing the citizens of New York to express their remorse and their regret at that death," he said. "At the same time it is reflective unfortunately of the feelings of some of our officers at this juncture about not just the mayor but I think about some of the many issues that are afflicting the city at this time and this particular police department.”
In addition to turning their backs physically on de Blasio to show their disapproval, officers sponsored a banner flown above the city on Friday reading, “De Blasio, Our Backs Have Turned to You.” The $1,200 banner was paid for by hundreds of police officers, current and retired, ex-cop and blogger John Cardillo said.