The White House reportedly is furious at an organized police union shunning of President Obama during his Labor Day speech in Boston, and has called on the mayor to issue an official denouncement.
Obama was in Boston on Monday to deliver remarks to hundreds of dignitaries, government officials and members of the public – an annual affair for the president. Typically, police gather at the speech and formally greet the president. But this year, that greeting was withheld. Why?
The New England Police Benevolent Association, the area police union that serves law enforcement officials in parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, called for a boycott via a written statement from Jerry Flynn, a Lowell policeman who’s on leave to serve as executive director of the organization.
He wrote, the Boston Herald reported: “Our members are enraged at his lack of support of law enforcement. It’s clear that he has an agenda and unfortunately, the police are not part of his agenda.”
Flynn referenced the eight police officers killed in a nine-day period, and Obama’s “silence” on that point. He also denounced Joe Biden’s silence, characterizing the lack of support for police “not an Obama problem” but rather “an administration problem,” he wrote.
“This is a horror show,” Flynn said. “This is an epidemic of lawless people trying to kill police officers for no apparent reasons. Case in point is the lieutenant who was pumping gas in Houston. Over 7,000 people were at that church, and where was [Obama]? Why wasn’t he there instead of a unity breakfast?”
Flynn then spoke of the widespread street violence that came on the heels of the police shooting of teenage Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri – a shooting that both local and Department of Justice investigations found justified.
And he said: “I mean, [Obama] had the opportunity to do things then and he didn’t, and all he’s done is escalated and allowed these people that are hellbent on causing problems to do so. We can’t continue to have people who have no intention to do anything but to be disruptive. These aren’t good citizens. These are thugs who go out and try to cause problems. You can’t continue to have this kind of hatred and animosity and the lawlessness that’s going on in this country at the cost of police officers losing their lives. It’s irresponsible of the president and his administration.”
Flynn then suggested Obama could calm some of this violence simply by issuing a statement of support for police.
“I think it would send a message to people in law enforcement that we have a commander in chief who actually is backing the people who are in the war on the street,” he said. “And this is a war on the street. He’s got to come out and ask to be a unified group and to support law enforcement. He’s got a new attorney general, what’s her agenda? What is her message going to be, that she’s actually putting forth? I don’t know the answer to that question. But certainly, what he’s doing now, what he hasn’t done now, has been supportive of those in law enforcement.”
The police announcement hung as a dark shadow over Obama’s Boston visit. And in response, the White House issued an angry call to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to denounce the union’s actions, one blog reported.
Liberal News tweeted, Top Right News found: “White House liaison ‘furious’ over Boston police ‘diss’ of president for Labor Day speech. Calls on mayor to denounce.”