Gentile disputes NYPD sergeant union’s DNC stand
Councilmember says city is ‘as safe as ever’
The highly controversial stand taken by the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) against holding the 2016 Democratic National Convention at Barclays Center – a stand that included writing an open letter to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) urging it not to choose New York for its quadrennial event – is wrongheaded, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile, an elected official who normally champions police unions.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Sergeants Benevolent Association and their president Ed Mullins but I disagree with their concerns regarding the 2016 DNC coming here,” Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) said in a statement.
Last month, the SBA sent an open letter to the DNC calling for the selection committee to pick another city in which to hold the presidential nominating convention on the grounds that New York is no longer as safe as it was in the past due to the policies of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The New York Times reported last week that the open letter was featured in ads that the SBA took in the Times and New York Post. In the letter, the union leaders wrote that the DNC “should pick a different venue” for the convention.
The Brooklyn Eagle’s Mary Frost reported on Aug. 11 that the mayor and a host of city and borough officials rolled out the red carpet for DNC officials when the officials paid a scouting visit to Barclays Center as part of their selection process.
During the visit, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton reinforced the de Blasio Administration’s message that the city was safe and secure, the Eagle reported.
Gentile, the council’s most senior member in terms length of service (he has been in office since 2003), disputed the safety concerns brought up by the union representing the city’s police sergeants.
“Today our city is as safe as ever, and the DNC would be a terrific boon for our economy,” he stated.
It’s unusual for Gentile to go against a police union. During his re-election campaign last year, received enthusiastic endorsements from several law enforcement unions, including the SBA for his pro-cop stand on issues.
Gentile said he wants to see the convention held here.
“New York City is a true mosaic of our country and of the world. Indeed, New York City is America and America is New York City. We are a city built on determination and bringing people of all types together. What a perfect time for this historic opportunity. What we need right now is unity around a common cause – not division of any kind,” he said.
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