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NYPD Police Union Boss: Sorry For Sharing Racist Video, ‘I Have Black Friends’


Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins FACEBOOK

The president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, New York City’s second-largest police union, says he should not face consequences for circulating an explicitly racist video—in which black people are referred to as “monsters” and public housing as a “war zone”—because it was an “honest mistake.”

On Tuesday, the NY Post reported that the hate-filled video was emailed to thousands of police sergeants over the weekend, along with a message from SBA President Ed Mullins, reading: “Pay close attention to every word. You will hear what goes through the mind of real policemen every single day on the job. This is the best video I’ve ever seen telling the public the absolute truth.”

The 15-minute clip depicts a police shooting in Los Angeles, and features narration by Willie Shields, a radio host and conspiracist, reading a letter from an unnamed police officer. “The projects will always be dens of crime and violence,” the narrator asserts. “Cops will continue to wade into that fray and blacks will continue to attack and ambush us forever.”

It continues: “Section 8 scam artists and welfare queens have mastered the art of gaming the taxpayer. Bounce from baby mama to baby mama, impregnate as many women as possible.”

On Wednesday, Mullins denied having listened to the video in full before sending it out to thousands of officers. He told Gothamist that his emphatic endorsement had been “furnished” by a close friend, a retired NYPD sergeant and “pretty sharp guy,” whose name he declined to share. The union’s reason for disseminating the video was “purely tactical,” he said.

Over the course of a lengthy phone conversation, Mullins conceded that there were “racist components” to the video, while insisting there was nothing seriously wrong about his decision to share it.

“I have black friends, white friends, Asian friends—I wouldn’t want to insult anyone,” he said. “I don’t think one incident defines who I am.”

But he also acknowledged that aspects of the video overlapped with the SBA’s own ideology. Mullins said that he agreed with the narrator’s assessment that “killing cops is the new normal,” as well as the fact that members of the public filming police interactions is problematic. (“One hundred black George Holidays looking for a payout,” is how the video put it.)

He did distance himself from the video’s description of public housing—”comprised solely of people who have been taught…they are victims of white racism and police are the enemy”—pointing out that he spent three decades patrolling the streets as an NYPD officer, including in NYCHA residences.

This is hardly the first time the SBA has faced criticism for its online behavior. Earlier this year, the union’s official Twitter account shared obscene video of a sex act on the subway platform, in order to conflate congestion pricing and “quality of life” crimes. The account has previously claimed that “Ferguson Missouri was a lie,” suggested that college students who protest police are asking for mass shootings, and described the Civilian Complaint Review Board as a “disgrace” for reminding New Yorkers of their constitutional rights.

Ahead of planned ICE raids in the city earlier this summer, the account shared a letter signed by Mullins instructing NYPD sergeants to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with ICE agents.

Asked if backlash to this video would make him dial back the union’s controversial social media presence, Mullins replied: “I don’t think so.”

In a statement, Anne Oredeko, Supervising Attorney of the Racial Justice Unit at The Legal Aid Society, told Gothamist, “Mullins’ racism is no secret, and shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has viewed his consistently offensive, racist, and dehumanizing statements. SBA members should question why someone like that has been selected to represent them and what that says about their organization and the values that their members hold.”

She added, “Black and Latinx communities are vocal about the abuse and discrimination they experience in their neighborhoods at the hands of the NYPD, and Mullins’ statements only reiterate the root problem with how our city treats and over-polices black and Latinx New Yorkers.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD did not respond to Gothamist’s inquiries.

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