New York police union chief says 'stop treating cops like animals and thugs' in emotional video appeal
Michael O'Meara lashed out at news outlets and legislators, accusing them of 'vilifying' officers and propagating anti-police sentiments
The head of New York's Police Benevolent Association has demanded more respect for his profession.
Michael O'Meara lashed out at news outlets and legislators during a PBA press conference on Tuesday, June 9, accusing them of "vilifying" officers and propagating anti-police sentiments. His impassioned remarks came amid growing calls for police reform and nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.
"We all read in the paper all week that in the black community, mothers are worried about their children getting home from school without being killed by a cop," O'Meara began. "What world are we living in? That doesn’t happen. It does not happen! I am not Derek Chauvin, they are not him. He killed someone. We didn't."
You can watch the video here.
O'Meara addressed the May 25 death of Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes despite repeated pleas that he couldn't breathe.
"Everybody’s trying to shame us. Legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our profession," O'Meara continued.
"You know what? This isn't stained by someone in Minneapolis," the veteran cop asserted, holding up his badge and gesturing to the group of officers standing behind him. "It’s still got a shine on it, and so do theirs."
O'Meara called Chauvin's actions "disgusting."
“We don’t condone Minneapolis. We roundly reject what he did as disgusting. It’s disgusting!" he said. “It’s not what we do. It’s not what police officers do... He killed someone. We didn’t. We are restrained.”
“Stop treating us like animals and thugs, and start treating us with some respect! That’s what we’re here today to say," he added. "We’ve been left out of the conversation. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting.”
O'Meara later joined 'The Story with Martha MacCallum' in the day to discuss his emotional defense of the police officers.
"I've been a police officer for 30 years and that's not us. That's not us. You know, I'm reading things that don't happen in the real world," he explained. "And they're becoming part of this urban lore that just doesn't exist. And, you know, we get emotional about it. You know, we try to do a good job."
"Derek Chauvin is going to go to jail for the rest of his life for what he did and he should," O'Meara told MacCallum, referring to the now-former Minneapolis officer.
"We interact with the community at a very high level," he continued. "We're social workers, we're marriage counselors. We do everything that everybody else fails at. So we get involved in people's lives at a very high level. And sometimes that gets emotional and sometimes that gets dangerous and sometimes it's a bad situation. But the overwhelming majority of police officers and their interactions with the public are positive."
"And we can't keep saying that the police [are] systemic racist... thugs that are out there," O'Meara stressed. "We are not. We are your friends. We're your family. We are your neighbors. We’re the coaches of your children. And we come to your homes. And we come to your problems. And we come when you’re sick and we come when you’re having an issue and we try to be the good person and try to be the person that helps out in that situation.”