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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s graduation speech to fall Police Academy graduates was met with mixed audience reactions on Monday, as de Blasio struggles to bridge relationships with New York police officers after a fatal ambush on two cops last week.

Mayor de Blasio was booed and heckled by the audience before he had begun speaking, the New York Times reported. The ceremony for the 884 graduating cadets, held in Madison Square Garden, came only two days after hundreds of officers had turned their backs on de Blasio as he spoke at the funeral of one of the two slain officers.

The mayor continued his speech, and drew applause when he said, “You will confront problems that you didn’t create. You will confront poverty, you will confront mental illness, illegal guns and the challenges of a still-divided society.”

The murders of police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu widened a chasm between de Blasio and New York police officer and community leaders, who have accused the mayor of endangering officer safety by supporting ongoing protests. The protests, scattered nationwide, seek to address police racism after several killings of unarmed black Americans by white police officers, whose grand jury investigations returned non-indictments.


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