Two recent NYPD suicides bring the year’s total to nine—more than double the 2018 total…
(Dan Way, Liberty Headlines) As police suicides mount in his city, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is under fire for refusing to participate in a mental-health seminar because a pro-law-enforcement group was involved.
The Democratic presidential hopeful denied that Thrive NYC, a nearly $1 billion, tax-paid program launched by his wife, Chirlane McCray, pulled out of a mental-health seminar for first responders because the police advocacy organization Blue Lives Matter was a co-sponsor.
Program officials first said it reversed course on providing psychologists and experts because it did not want its logo to appear on the same promotional materials as another organization.
The excuse was then changed to not wanting its logo to appear with one of a City Council member. Staten Island Councilman Joseph Borelli, who was behind the mental-health seminar with Blue Lives Matter, said he will hold the event without Thrive NYC.
The First Lady’s organization, whose effectiveness and unaccounted spending have been the subject of city oversight hearings, said it would hold nine NYPD mental-health training sessions in the coming month.
Borelli claimed de Blasio had a public change of heart about willingness to participate in his event only after an NYPD officer committed suicide Thursday.
Twenty-five-year veteran officer Robert Echeverria, 56, shot himself in the head in his Queens home.
Officer Johnny Rios, 35, killed himself a day earlier.
There have been nine police suicides this year in the city, and seven since June. There were just four suicides in 2018.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill has declared a mental-health emergency.
Given this year’s rising suicide totals, “It was very disheartening” that Thrive NYC backed out of an event to help police officers, said Joseph Imperatrice of Blue Lives Matter.
Nationally more than 120 law enforcement suicides, including retirees, occurred this year. At the present pace the country could surpass totals of the past four years.
The suicide seminar dust-up is the latest embarrassment for de Blasio, who has suffered sharp condemnation among police officers for how he has treated them, and critical statements he has made about them.
That blew up most notably in 2014, when officers turned their backs on the mayor at a hospital vigil after two police officers were shot to death.
In July, videos showing unruly crowds mocking and dousing NYPD officers with water went viral.
Police-union leaders and former mayor Rudy Giuliani blasted de Blasio and other political leaders for creating that atmosphere with their disrespectful attitudes and comments about police.