Top NY police union official says officers 'want to help fix' problems, 'but nobody's talking to us'

New York Police Benevolent Association President Mike O'Meara joined "The Story with Martha MacCallum" for an exclusive interview Tuesday to discuss his emotional defense of police officers at a news conference earlier in the day.

"I've been a police officer for 30 years and that's not us. That's not us. You know, I'm, I'm reading things that don't happen in the real world," O'Meara said. "And they're becoming part of this urban lore that just doesn't exist. And, you know, we get emotional about it. You know, we try to do a good job."


During a press conference in New York City earlier Tuesday, O'Meara defended his profession while condemning the actions of four Minneapolis police officers in the May 25, death of George Floyd.

“Everybody’s trying to shame us. Legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed of our profession," O'Meara said before brandishing his badge. "You know what? This isn’t stained by someone in Minneapolis. It’s still got a shine on it."

"Derek Chauvin is going to go to jail for the rest of his life for what he did and he should," O'Meara told MacCallum, referring to the now-former Minneapols officer who held his knee against Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

"We interact with the community at a very high level," he added. "We're social workers, we're marriage counselors. We do everything that everybody else fails at. So we get involved in people's lives at a very high level. And sometimes that gets emotional and sometimes that gets dangerous and sometimes it's a bad situation. But the overwhelming majority of police officers and their interactions with the public are positive.

"And we can't keep saying that the police [are] systemic racist ... thugs that are out there," O'Meara continued. "We are not. We are not. We are your friends. We're your family. We are your neighbors. We’re the coaches of your children. And we come to your homes. And we come to your problems. And we come when you’re sick and we come when you’re having an issue and we try to be the good person and try to be the person that helps out in that situation.”


The union official also told MacCallum that police need to be part of the conversation about law enforcement and race relations in America.

"We'll sit at the table. We'll talk about reforms. You want to talk about how we can do our job better? We'd love to hear it. We'd love to hear it because we want to do our job better," O'Meara said. "And we don't want these situations where we have these tense atmosphere. All the members of the public and the members of the police. And we want to help fix it."

"But nobody's talking to us. The only thing they're doing is throwing stones at us," O'Meara added. "And you know what?... It's hard for us."