New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton rebuked members of his department Sunday who publicly turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at a funeral for a slain police officer.
The mayor has been criticized by a police union leader and others for some of his remarks about relations between police and blacks, and for his administration's closeness with Al Sharpton, the minister and cable television talk show host.
Scores of officers turned their backs when De Blasio's remarks at the funeral were broadcast outside on a giant video screen.
"I think it was very inappropriate at that event,'' Bratton said on CBS' "Face the Nation," adding that the funeral was to honor the life of Ramos, not to air grievances over "politics."
Bratton's leadership of the NYPD in the 1990s and, from 2002 to 2009, of the
Overall crime in New York, he said, has fallen in 2014, "continuing a 21-year unbroken trend."
Bratton said that since Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were shot and killed, the Police Department has investigated "over 50 incidents or reported threats against" city police. The cases have resulted in nine arrests, he said.
Bratton conceded that "morale in the department at this time is low."
He cited a number of causes, including pending contract negotiations between the city and a police union.
He blamed growing tensions in part on "pent-up frustrations" related to economic disparities and mutual perceptions of disrespect.
In a separate appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Bratton recalled his experience with defusing racial tensions in Los Angeles and said citizens and law enforcement need to "see each other … not look past each other."
Bratton called for "hard work, a lot less rhetoric," and mutual respect.