By Ben Kamisar
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Monday said police union leaders should be more focused on keeping guns from the insane than pointing fingers at politicians over the murder of two New York City policemen.
Rangel offered criticism of New York City police union leaders who have directed their ire at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Two human beings were shot dead, we should not be pointing fingers at the mayor of the city of New York.”
The weekend killing of the two officers in an ambush provoked strong criticism from some police unions and politicians. They blamed de Blasio for creating an unstable environment by siding with critics of police after a black man died in Staten Island in an altercation with the police.
During the mayor’s press conference Saturday, a group of officers turned their backs to de Blasio as he walked through. And the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a New York police officers union, said in a letter that “the blood of these two officers is clearly on your hands.”
Rangel dismissed those claims and said that the true takeaway of the tragedy should be an increased push for gun control, specifically focused on restricting access to guns by the mentally ill.
“What we should do is follow Cardinal Dolan [the Archbishop of New York] and have our spiritual leaders say, ‘Hey, we can fight this after the burial, after we heal the wounds that are lost by this tragic episode,’ ” he said.
“We’ve got serious problems to deal with and screaming and pointing fingers about ‘blood on your hands?’ No, we have to come together as a city.”