A majority of New York City voters of all ethnic backgrounds do not approve of the police officers who turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio in protest at funerals for two police officers who were killed last month, according to a poll released Thursday.
Sixty-nine percent of New Yorkers said that they disapproved of the officers’ actions, according to the new Quinnipiac survey, the first taken since the protests over the New Year.
The feud between de Blasio and some police officers began after NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Dec. 20.
Their murders came as the city was embroiled in protests over police brutality, after a grand jury decided not to indict an NYPD officer in the death of a black Staten Island man during his arrest.
De Blasio said after the decision that the Garner case had been “profoundly personal” to him, as he had worried about what “dangers” aggressive law enforcement posed to his mixed-race son. Some in the NYPD took that to be a criticism of the police.
Despite a request from the city’s police chief that officers not use the two men’s funerals to protest the mayor, dozens of New York policemen turned their backs on de Blasio during each service to protest what they say is a lack of support from the mayor.
Though most agreed the police went too far by turning their back on de Blasio, the poll showed a racial division on voters’ views as to whether the mayor has demonstrated support for the New York Police Department since he took office in January 2013.
Citywide, voters said 47% to 37% that the mayor does support the police, but 69% of black voters and 53% of Hispanic voters said the mayor had been supportive while only 36% of white voters said that he had.
Over three quarters of voters said the relationship between de Blasio and the police was “bad” with 45% of those people saying the soured relationship was de Blasio’s fault and 43% blaming the police.
White voters overwhelmingly blamed de Blasio (61% to 31%), while black voters pointed toward the police (69% to 16%). Hispanic voters were divided: 45% blamed the mayor and 42% blamed the police.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,182 New York City voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points