NYC police union president defends officers: The media is portraying us as the enemy

Police across the nation are "not the enemy" of the communities they serve, New York Police Benevolent Association President Mike O'Meara said Wednesday.

In an interview on "Fox & Friends," O'Meara said that law enforcement around the country mourns the death of George Floyd and stands with protesters, but he said he had to speak out at the association's press conference Tuesday against the media and politicians who have been “vilifying” cops “like animals and thugs."

NY STATE POLICE UNION BOSS SAYS OFFICERS SHOULDN'T BE TREATED 'LIKE ANIMALS AND THUGS'

"We are portrayed in the press and everywhere else as the enemy and we want people to know that we take our jobs seriously, we’re professional, and the vast, vast majority of the time we act appropriately and honorably and that's what we do and that's not being portrayed right now in the media and in the world," he stated.

As calls to defund or dismantle police departments have grown amid nationwide protests against police brutality and Floyd's death, some Democratic politicians have complied, slashing budgets over police unions' objections. In Minneapolis -- the city where Floyd took his final breath -- the City Council announced its support for disbanding the city’s police department.

On Monday, congressional Democrats — including the House Judiciary Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus — introduced sweeping legislation that would bring about wide-ranging reforms to police departments across the country.

O'Meara acknowledged that while scrutiny of his profession has been magnified in recent weeks, many do not understand that the pressure on officers was already "enormous."

"The notion that police are not investigated and we're some wild organization out there, you know, doing what we wish is just a falsehood...And, that's why I think it's important…because we need people to understand that we are under scrutiny," he reassured.

According to O'Meara, "99.999 percent" of the members of the New York Police Benevolent Association "act honorably every day." But, suddenly, the media and New York legislators are painting them in a bad light, he said.

"Our legislators in New York -- we have had a partnership with our legislators in New York for years and years and years. I know many of them personally. And, they dropped us like a hot stove when this happened," he remarked, noting that his association and the NYPD wanted to be "partners" in police reform but were "cast aside."

"We want to be a well-respected, well trained, well-equipped police department and we want to treat the public fairly and we want to be partners in that reform. But, reform isn't just about saying that all police are bad," he argued. 

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"And, that's why I got emotional," he explained to the "Friends" hosts. "Because I don't want to be painted with that broad brush of ‘we are all these racist thugs.’ That's not who we are.

"99.9 percent of the cops are good and honorable people, but we have to change everything and diminish their civil rights and diminish what they do and scrutinize them more than anybody on Earth is scrutinized. I mean, it just makes no sense to us," O'Meara concluded.

"So, all the cops out there, you know, you are doing a great job."