Text messages circulating throughout the New York Police Department are calling for members to “strike” on July 4 in protest of anti-police rhetoric and budget cut proposals as tensions in the wake of recent officer-involved deaths have reverberated across the city and country, sources confirmed to Fox News.
“NYPD cops will strike on July 4 th [sic],” states one of the two messages being sent around the NYPD. “To let the city have their independence without cops.”
The flier states that the alleged “strike” will begin at “1500 hours,” or 3 p.m. The New York Post was first to report the news. Fox News has confirmed the report and obtained images of both messages. It wasn't immediately clear who started the chain.
The message goes on to state that police are told they cannot strike because of New York State’s Taylor Law, formally known as the “Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act,” that bars public employees from doing so.
“The people and this city doesnt honor us why honor them,” the flier further states. “So its easy to loot and riot without repercussions but its not easy to do our job because the city will hang us.”
An NYPD spokesperson told Fox News any suggestion that the NYPD would not be available to do its job "is false."
"New York City Police Officers will be here today, tomorrow, and on the 4th of July to protect all New Yorkers," NYPD spokesperson Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell said in an emailed statement.
Racial tensions have flared nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes despite Floyd saying multiple times that he could not breathe.
Demonstrators worldwide took to streets to decry racism and protest police brutality, which has further strained the relationship between the police and the public.
Over the last three months, the coronavirus crisis has dealt an estimated $9.5 billion blow to New York City’s budget, leading some elected officials to peer closely at police department funding.
That scrutiny only intensified as pandemic lockdowns gave way to protests spurred by Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis, with demonstrations in New York marred by looting and violent clashes between officers and demonstrators.
Last Friday, city council leaders joined the city’s elected fiscal watchdog and police reform advocates in calling for $1 billion in cuts to the nearly $6 billion police budget. Among the proposals: slashing overtime, trimming the approximately 36,000-officer force through attrition, and investing some of the savings in social services and communities impacted by police misconduct.
The second message is topped with the heading “#Blueflu,” and describes how the mainstream media and New York State government officials have painted police as the “bad guys.”
“Police officers like you and me took an oath to protect strangers regardless of race, class or gender,” states one of the fliers. “Today we are vilified and must stand as one. Enclosed are instructions on how we will get our point across that we are necessary and must be valued.”
The message, which was sent out Thursday morning, also describes how an officer should go about taking a sick day on July 4, 2020 – “the date that we will make our voices heard.” If officers are initially denied their advance request for the day off, the message further encourages them to phone the NYPD’s “sick desk,” or even go into work that day and request a “bus” – a term used to refer to an ambulance – to pick them up, according to the message.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.