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Flyers passed among members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) are reportedly urging officers to go on strike on July 4.
The New York Post reports that multiple cops informed them that the flyers are “retribution for police reform and a perceived anti-cop climate following the outrage over high-profile police killings of unarmed black men across the country.”
One text message that has been shared among police officers reads: “NYPD cops will strike on July 4th to let the city have their independence without cops … Cops that say we can’t strike because of the Taylor Law … The people and this city doesn’t honor us why honor them.”
Another message reportedly promotes “#Bluflu,” urging police officers to call in sick on July 4. “Police officers like you and me took an oath to protect strangers regardless of race, class or gender,” it reads. “Today we are vilified and must stand as one.”
The message then offers guidance on how to effect a sickout: call the precinct and telling them that you’re ill; if that claim is denied, call the main NYPD sick desk. If the second step fails, the message instructs officers to go to work, then ask for an ambulance to go home. The flyer states, “If you are held because of the #Bluflu, request a bus and go sick from command.”
The reported “Bluflu” movement follows New York Governor Andrew Cuomo telling NPR on Monday, “What the community is now saying, all across this nation, ‘We don’t want this type of police force.’ And if they don’t want it, they shouldn’t have it.”
As the Post reports, Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, has described the current situation facing police as “no joke” and said that officers have “reached the breaking point.”
“Over the past few weeks, we have been attacked in the streets, demonized in the media and denigrated by practically every politician in this city,” said Lynch. “Now we are facing the possibility of being arrested any time we go out to do our job.”
In response to the Post’s report, Sergeant Mary Frances O’Donnell, the spokesperson for the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI), protested, assuring the public that the police would show up to serve on Independence Day. “New York City Police Officers will be here today, tomorrow, and on the 4th of July to protect all New Yorkers,” she said. “To suggest otherwise is false.”
The Taylor Law, passed in New York State in 1967, prohibits strikes by public employees. It states: “The legislature of the state of New York declares that it is the public policy of the state and the purpose of this act to promote harmonious and cooperative relationships between government and its employees and to protect the public by assuring, at all times, the orderly and uninterrupted operations and functions of government. These policies are best effectuated by … continuing the prohibition against strikes by public employees and providing remedies for violations of such prohibition.”
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