BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn — Ed Mullins, the president of the NYPD Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, disputed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s statement Sunday that gunfire in Brownsville “shattered a peaceful, neighborhood event.”
Mullins quoted a police sergeant who was on the scene, who observed, “In the previous years I worked this event, violence included people shot and numerous calls for multiple shots fired.”
Mullins, taking a page from President Donald Trump, has increasingly used Twitter to criticize the Mayor and, on Sunday, he tweeted an entire email from an NYPD sergeant who was at the Old Timer’s Day event, calling it “nothing short of a war zone.”
The shooting near New Lots Avenue and Mother Gaston Boulevard—said to involve two gunmen—left one man dead, two people critically injured and nine others wounded.
When some of the one hundred police officers on hand tried to get a crowd of 500 people to disperse from a courtyard, where they were said to be smoking weed and drinking alcohol, the sergeant on the scene recalled, “People were yelling vulgar and vile things at all the cops, such as ‘We wish you would die' and a litany of other horrific terms.”
Mullins pointed out the shootings of the 12 people happened in the same 73rd Precinct where police officers had buckets of water tossed at their heads and bodies last week, just one of several disturbing incidents.
“We’re losing control and cops are afraid to do anything," Mullins told PIX11 Sunday afternoon. "Cops on the street are walking around with their hands tied.”
An angry NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill fired back at Mullins during—and after—a promotion ceremony Monday at Police Plaza.
“He is a bit of a keyboard gangster,” the Commissioner said of Mullins. “We’re here to keep this city safe, we’re here to keep the cops safe, and if you want to ‘second guess’ us and think we don’t care about cops, ‘Man, you are dead wrong.’”
“You’re in the wrong business,” O’Neill said. “He should rethink his position.”
Earlier, during the ceremony, the Commissioner faced a crowd of various ranks getting their promotions and angrily defended his police administration.
“This is a vastly transformed New York City,” the Commissioner insisted. “At its peak, there were 2,245 homicides in New York City in 1990. That’s six a day. Now, in 2019, it’s less than one a day. At its peak, there were 5,000 shootings. That’s 13 a day. Today, it’s about two a day.”
“We didn’t get here because we don’t know what we’re doing,” O’Neill said. “We got here because we’re dedicated to the people in this city. Nobody takes this job just for a paycheck. We’re not victims. Cops aren’t victims.”
On Friday, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told PIX11’s Marvin Scott on “ News Closeup ” that the department would not tolerate disrespectful and harmful attacks on police officers, pointing out a couple of people arrested in some water dousing incidents were “gang members.”
The NYPD has acknowledged it has concerns about growing gun violence in the borough of Brooklyn, and it’s had discussions with District Attorney Eric Gonzalez about his prison diversion program that has allowed some people with gun arrests to have their record sealed.
Editor's Note: This has been updated to add a statement from NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.