By Bill Parry
A retired police officer with an impressive resume has scheduled a pro-NYPD rally in front of Queens Borough Hall Tuesday at noon. It will be the first of a series of protests in each borough that will culminate with a final demonstration at City Hall next month.
“We’re going to bring out the raw police supporter, the true citizens that really care about their communities,” said organizer Joe Concannon, a 25-year member of the Police Department and a former captain of Midtown North. “Public safety is the cornerstone of our civilized society. The police are a thin blue line that separates civilization from chaos. Our mayor has been tearing down the NYPD consistently over the past two years since he was campaigning for mayor. It is now time to govern.”
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Concannon, a resident of Bellerose, said the rally was in the planning stages ever since the anti-police protests began when a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict an NYPD officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Gardner.
“What these guys did on Staten Island looked bad, but they were doing their jobs,” Concannon said. “You can’t paint law enforcement across the country as out of control.”
Concannon, who has run for the state Senate among the offices, doesn’t just point his finger at the mayor.
“The City Council and many elected officials have praised and supported the divisive anti-police protests which have led to violence, riots, assaults on police and the assassination of two of New York’s Finest,” he said in an interview. “The silence from our politically elected officials is deafening when it comes to supporting the police. Not one elected official has the nerve to call the administration’s actions misguided. Not one person has stood up and said, wait a minute, Mr. Mayor.”
Concannon emphasized that the Borough Hall rally will be nonpartisan, a non-political grassroots event that he expects to be attended by 500 to 1,000 members of Queens civic associations and ethnic, religious, veterans, business, political and fraternal organizations.
Concannon worked for the Giuliani administration as the deputy director of public safety. “We haven’t invited Mayor Giuliani because we don’t want to politicize this,” he said. “However, we might invite him to another rally down the road.”
He is also a staunch ally of Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, who has come under scrutiny over his handling of the current crisis between the administration and the police rank-and-file. Lynch has said Bill de Blasio “has blood on his hands” in the assassination of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn.
“He’s on the numbers with this because police officers are human and they have families and they have to know the city’s supporting them,” Concannon said. “The young cops are scared. We pay them $30,000 a year and put them in the worst neighborhoods in the city and when something goes wrong we treat them like a Wall Street banker.”
As for the public protests that saw thousands of officers turn their backs to the mayor during the Ramos and Liu funerals, Concannon said, “I don’t think they’ve overplayed their hand at all and if I were still on the force, I’d do the same thing. These cops are frustrated. They’re afraid to pull their guns because they know they’ll be vilified.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4538.