New York Police Dept mulls strike on July 4 to let the city have its 'independence without cops'

Messages are doing rounds among law-enforcing officers in New York, encouraging them to call in sick on Independence Day as protests against cops continue in the US

                            New York Police Dept mulls strike on July 4 to let the city have its 'independence without cops'
(Getty Images)

Cops of the New York Police Department (NYPD) may go on strike on July 4 to allow the Big Apple to have its "independence" from them as tension continues to mount between the law enforcers and protesters. Messages are doing rounds among the law-enforcing officers in New York, encouraging them to call in sick on Independence Day as protests against the police continue across the US in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black American, in Minneapolis on Memorial Day in May, The New York Post reported. New York City is one of those cities where the police have come under the scanner and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed sweeping police reform bills. There have also been calls to slash NYPD's funding by a big margin and use the money for social services. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced comprehensive measures this week to make the NYPD more transparent, like launching a new disciplinary database. The city will also start publishing the decisions in police officers' disciplinary trials as they occur, de Blasio said.

Like many other police departments in the country, the NYPD was slammed after some of its officers were seen attacking protesters seeking an end to police brutality after the death of Floyd. Earlier this month, another black man named Rayshard Brooks was killed in police firing in Atlanta, fuelling the tension.

NYPD chief Dermot Shea (Getty Images)

"NYPD cops will strike on July 4th to let the city have their independence without cops," one message, which is being circulated among cops via text reads, the Post said citing sources. The message also says: "Cops that say we can’t strike because of the Taylor Law," referring to a law that makes public worker stoppages punishable. "The people and this city doesn’t (sic) honor us why honor them (sic)." Though, it was not clear whether other police officers wrote those messages. Another message asking the cops to call in sick on Independence Day says: "Police officers like you and me took an oath to protect strangers regardless of race, class or gender. Today we are vilified and must stand as one."

'Blue flu' joke returns but mood is somber

This message then instructs for a sick-out, telling the members to call their precinct and seek a sick day. If they are denied leave, the message asks them to call the main NYPD sick desk. And even if that doesn't work out, the officers are instructed to join duty and then ask for an ambulance so that they can return home sick. "If you are held because of the #Bluflu, request a bus and go sick from command," it adds. 

Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch said "blue flu" is a joke that is being made through generations but added that the current situation is no joke. He said the NYC police officers "have reached the breaking point". Lynch recently blasted the decision to scrap NYPD’s plain-clothes anti-crime units and warned the move will backfire. Addressing the challenges the cops have been facing of late, Lynch said: "Over the past few weeks, we have been attacked in the streets, demonized in the media and denigrated by practically every politician in this city. Now we are facing the possibility of being arrested any time we go out to do our job."

The NYPD, however, said that the police will function as usual on July 4. "New York City Police Officers will be here today, tomorrow, and on the 4th of July to protect all New Yorkers," Sergeant Mary Frances O'Donnell, DCPI (Deputy Commissioner, Public Information) spokesperson, said, adding that nothing other than is true. The potential pushback from NYPD cops comes in the wake of Atlanta police officers calling in sick to work this week to protest charges against the cop who shot Brooks.

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