The head of New York State’s police unions slammed criticism of officers following George Floyd demonstrations, saying police were being treated like “animals.”
“I am not Derek Chauvin; they are not him,” Mike O’Meara, president of the New York Association of Police Benevolent Associations, told reporters on Tuesday while gesturing to officers gathered behind him. “He killed someone. We didn’t.”
O’Meara referred to one of the officers who killed Floyd, an African American resident of Minneapolis. The killing sparked massive demonstrations in major American cities, which have devolved into rioting in many instances.
“The legislators, the press, everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed about our profession,” O’Meara said. “Stop treating us like animals and thugs, and start treating us with some respect….We’ve been left out of the conversation, we’ve been vilified — it’s disgusting.”
The NYPD has faced challenges containing widespread rioting and looting, and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that New York City would divert some funding away from its police force to other programs. At the height of the rioting, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “The police in New York City were not effective at doing their job….Period.”
NYPD chief Terence Monahan hit back at Cuomo’s remarks the next day.
“I’m watching my men and women out there dealing with stuff that no cop should ever have to deal with, bricks, bottles, rocks, hit in the face with bottles and continuing to go forward to make an arrest,” Monahan said. “For a governor to be sitting in his office saying that we’re not doing a good job — I’m outraged.”