Patrick Lynch is the 51-year-old president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest and most influential union of the New York City Police Department. You might recognize his name: Over the weekend, Lynch blamed Bill de Blasio for the Saturday deaths of two Brooklyn cops who were murdered by a lone gunman from Georgia. “That blood on the hands,” he said at a press conference, “starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.”
To understand why he would say something so wrong and inflammatory, you need to delve into Lynch’s long, checkered history of issuing similarly insane statements. His public declarations over the past 15 years are essentially pro-police agitprop: Cops can do no wrong, while victims of their state-sanctioned violence always had it coming. They are also a deep well of masculine anxiety, hurt feelings, and barely disguised racism.
Here are some of Lynch’s greatest hits. Please consult them whenever he opens his mouth in the future.
June 2000: Lynch argued that Bruce Springsteen’s song about four NYPD officers shooting and killing an unarmed 23-year-old named Amadou Diallo was interfering with those (acquitted) officers’ “healing”:
Singer Bruce Springsteen has begun performing in concert a song called “American Skin”—the title seems to suggest that the shooting of Amadou Diallo was a case of racial profiling—which keeps repeating the phrase, “Forty-one-shots.” I consider it an outrage that he would be trying to fatten his wallet by reopening the wounds of this tragic case at a time when police officers and community members are in a healing period, and I have let his representatives and the press know how I feel about this song.
February 2004: Lynch called for the resignation of then-commissioner Ray Kelly after Kelly said that there “appears to be no justification” for the shooting an unarmed teenager named Timothy Stansbury:
Commissioner Kelly gave a message to the 23,000 New York City police officers that said basically this: Take all the risks of doing your job, go up on all those roofs, patrol all those subway platforms, walk the streets day and night, take the risks to yourself, take the risks to your family, but then when the worst happens, when there’s a tragedy, that you will not have the backing of the New York police commissioner.
March 2008: Lynch claimed an art installation called “The Blue Wall of Violence” that addressed police brutality was “promoting hate”:
“You can fill the museum with people of all races and ethnicities who are alive today because of the work of New York City police officers,” Lynch said in a statement. “Taxpayer dollars certainly should not fund any art that promotes hate, and that’s certainly what this does.”
Lynch added that the 1st Amendment depends on the existence of police officers:
Police guarantee the right of free expression to everyone, even to people who obviously do not appreciate the risk and sacrifice we make for them.
The anarchists were looking for a confrontation with police and found it in an rookie officer trying to do his job the best way he knew how. The conditional discharge doesn’t mitigate the fact that New York City has one less police officer today who could have served the city well.
October 2011: Lynch defended the widespread but illegal practice of ticket-fixing as institutionally sanctioned within the N.Y.P.D. (and therefore above the law):
When asked about ticket fixing, Lynch stated, “Ticket fixing was conduct accepted at all ranks for decades.”
June 2012: Lynch pilloried the New York Civil Liberties Union for “insulting” NYPD officers by creating a smartphone app that lets users record stop-and-frisk encounters and notify other users of nearby police activity:
Our main objection is that, as usual, the NYCLU’s idea is born of the assumption that the good men and women who wear the uniform of the NYPD and risk their lives to keep New Yorkers safe are doing something wrong. Frankly, that’s insulting to the very police officers who provide the freedom from fear and crime enjoyed by all New Yorkers, including members of the NYCLU.
February 2013: Lynch argued that the police department’s “disciplinary practices” were “beating down morale” with “overly harsh penalties”:
One of the most serious concerns this union has is that the department’s disciplinary practices have become way too harsh and it is beating down morale. Minor rules infractions or problems should be handled on the local level by an immediate supervisor not treated like a federal case and sent to the trial room. There are many ways a local boss can resolve problems without resorting to formal charges and overly harsh penalties.
“Police officers, detectives, lieutenants and captains are the boots on the ground in the fight against crime and terrorism," said Patrick Lynch, president of the patrolmen’s union, the largest in the country. “The establishment of a federal monitor may directly impact our members’ safety, day-to-day responsibilities, and collective bargaining and other rights. So we believe that we should have standing to participate in arguing the appeal in order to protect those rights.”
November 2013: Lynch accused the police department’s internal affairs unit of wearing “white socks” and fabricating evidence to indict fellow cops for fixing tickets:
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch showed up outside court with about 200 cops and union officials and slammed Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson and Internal Affairs. Johnson and prosecutors, he said, “were tripping on each other and didn’t even know their own case…we do not believe this was a proper investigation.” Internal Affairs, Lynch declared, is a “white socks entity” that “is constantly on a witch hunt.”
“They’re unprofessional, they never prove a case. They don’t go after real corruption, they go out where the police officers are, wearing white socks, and then they fabricate from there. They’re not real professionals. When the truth comes out these wrongfully accused police officers will be vindicated.”
December 2014: Lynch blamed Eric Garner for his own death at the hands of a N.Y.P.D. officer:
“We feel badly that there was a loss of life,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. “But unfortunately Mr. Garner made a choice that day to resist arrest.”
He also argued that critics were deliberately ignoring the moral character of the officer who placed Garner in a chokehold:
“He is the model of what we want a police officer to be,” P.B.A. president Pat Lynch said of Pantaleo. “What’s also been lost is the character of police officer Daniel Pantaleo. What’s not being told is what kind of man and what kind of person and what kind of professional he is. He is a resident of this great city. He lives on Staten Island. He lives in those neighborhoods. He’s college educated, here in this city. He’s a mature, mature police officer who’s motivated by serving the community.”
“He literally, literally, is an Eagle Scout,” said Lynch, adding that the maneuver Pantaleo used on Garner was a “textbook” takedown.
Remember any other Lynch doozies? Post them below or send an email to email@example.com
Photo credit: Associated Press // H/T Ken Silverstein