The rift between the New York Police Department's unions and Mayor Bill de Blasio may give the mayor trouble bringing the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn in 2016, according to a source familiar with DNC talks.
"They're worried about the optics," the source, whose name was not reported, told The New York Daily News.
"Will [the police] turn their backs on the mayor? They don't want side stories. The story should be the convention."
The national party is expected to pick its host city in upcoming weeks, and local Democrats who are helping the mayor lobby for the convention also told the newspaper that he could face issues.
“Until we know how and when (the mayor’s problems with the police) are going to be resolved, the Democratic Party would not want to take the chance of this controversy being the backdrop for its convention selection," according to a person active in the bidding process. "Imagine what the Republicans would say ... that (the problems)'show the failure of progressive leadership.'"
New York, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio are the three finalists in the running for the convention. The Republican National Committee last summer picked Cleveland
for its 2016 convention.
If New York is picked, the convention would be at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Some powerful Democrats, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, are pulling for the Brooklyn venue,
but the strife between de Blasio and the police unions following the shooting deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu has cast doubt on New York for the convention.
De Blasio's administration has assured the DNC that there will not be problems with the unions, who say he has encouraged anti-police sentiment following the death of Eric Garner.
"With our unparalleled transit network, endless restaurants and cultural attractions, and historically low crime rates, no one can do that [the convention] better than New York City,” de Blasio spokeswoman Marti Adams told The Daily News.
But Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said there is no solution near, and no guarantee the problems between the NYPD unions and the mayor will ease before the 2016 convention.
“There’s no solution in sight,” said Mullins. “If the DNC were here next week, there’s a good chance that cops would turn their backs [on de Blasio] again.”
Mullins' union, in fact, has been against the DNC bringing the convention to New York even before the current problems surfaced between the mayor and police officers
. Back in August the union took out full-page newspaper advertisements in The New York Times and other newspapers urging the DNC to pick another city, saying de Blasio's public safety policies has caused the city to go "lurching backwards to the bad old days of high crime."
In 2014, though, under de Blasio, New York recorded the lowest number of murders since 1963, when the NYPD began keeping statistics.
De Blasio could also faces some criticism if the convention goes to Philadelphia or Columbus, the Democrat who is active in the city's bid said, as "people are going to say it was a rejection not just of the city, but of the de Blasio administration."
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