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NY Police Union boss Accuses Media of Treating Officers Like 'Animals and Thugs'

Image via Getty/Noam Galai

The head of New York State's Police Benevolent Association is demanding more respect.

During a PBA press conference Tuesday, Michael O'Meara boldly accused the media and legislators of "vilifying" officers and propagated anti-police sentiments. The comments come amid increasing calls for police reform and nationwide demonstrations spurred by 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 said. "What world are we living in? That doesn’t happen. It does not happen! Everybody’s trying to shame us. Legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our profession."

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O'Meara addressed the May 25 police killing of Floyd, who died after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than 8 minutes, despite his repeated pleas for help.

"You know what? This isn't stained by someone in Minneapolis," O'Meara said as he held up his badge and gesturing to the group of officers behind him. "It’s still got a shine on it, and so do theirs."

He continued: "We don’t condone Minneapolis. We roundly reject what he did as disgusting. It’s disgusting!.

It’s not what we do. It’s not what police officers do. … He killed someone. We didn’t. We are restrained."

O'Meara's criticism of law enforcement was primarily focused on Chauvin and the Minneapolis Police Department. He did not mention any other instances of police brutality during the nationwide protests, including the recent assault charges against Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski. The two Buffalo officers were arrested last week after they were filmed shoving 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino during a curfew crackdown. The graphic video shows Gugino fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete. A pool of blood was seen around Gugino's head moments later, as officers walked past him and began detaining another demonstrator. Gugino was transported to the hospital and treated for head injuries.

"Stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect ... Our legislators abandoned us. The press is vilifying us. It's disgusting."

"Stop treating us like animals and thugs, and start treating us with some respect!" O'Meara said. "That’s what we’re here today to say. We’ve been left out of the conversation. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting."

People did not take kindly to O'Meara's comments.

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My view: Oh well, they are treating you and your guys the brutal way you've been treating people of colour, what goes around comes all the way back around.

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