News of Ed Mullins’ sudden resignation from the head of one of New York’s powerful police unions was still circulating in the city when Mayor Bill de Blasio fired a bitter tee shot.
“Ed Mullins has dishonored his uniform, his town and his union more times than I can count”, de Blasio tweeted just after Mullins resigned Tuesday as head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, or SBA, amid a federal corruption probe. “It was only a matter of time before his endless hatred caught up with him. That day has come.
That de Blasio publicly kicks Mullins while he was downstairs speaks volumes about the mayor’s strained relationship with the outspoken and polarizing leader of a union that represents 13,000 active police sergeants and at the same time. New York City pension and controls a $ 264 million retirement fund.
But de Blasio isn’t the only New York executive to have had issues with Mullins.
In the roughly 20 years that Mullins led the SBA, he managed to antagonize de Blasio’s predecessors, as well as the leadership of the New York City Police Department, with his staunch opposition to almost all of the reforms of the police, as well as his bare fist and his very personal character. public attacks on city leaders and other critics.
“He’s been a thorn in the side of four commissioners,” William Bratton, who served as police commissioner under de Blasio and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, told New York Magazine last year. “He’s always been a pain in the ass. “
Using the union’s Twitter account, Mullins tore de Blasio’s daughter apart as a “riot anarchist” after her arrest last year for participating in a protest against police violence over the murder of then-George Floyd. that he was being held by Minneapolis Police. He also called former New York City Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot a “slut” with “blood on her hands” after she allegedly argued with the NYPD leadership over the distribution of masks at the start of the pandemic.
“Ed Mullins is essentially the Donald Trump of New York City politics,” said Chris Hayes of MSNBC on the same day Mullins resigned, U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres, DN.Y., who was born and has grew up in the Bronx neighborhood.
Mullins had called Torres “fucking first class” in a tweet deleted last year after lawmakers called for an investigation into an alleged slowdown in police work.
Torres, who is gay, denounced Mullins’ tweet as homophobic.
“He has long embraced conspiracy theories, trafficking in racism, sexism and homophobia,” Torres said of Mullins. “He did it with impunity.
In a subsequent statement, Torres spokesman Raymond Rodriguez said Mullins “has a long history of fanaticism that permeated the entire union that he led.”
“For the most part, law enforcement unions oppose any sort of oversight or accountability measures. This is how they operate.
But Stephen Nasta, a retired NYPD inspector who now teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and has met Mullins on several occasions, said the former union boss was not a fanatic. He recalled how Mullins was keen to reach out to black ministers as part of a crime-fighting effort.
“I don’t believe it’s not for minorities,” Nasta said. “It is to help victims of crime, whatever their color.
Former NYPD commissioner James O’Neill called Mullins a “keyboard gangster” after the union boss tore him apart in 2018 for failing to crack down hard on people who sprayed police with gunpowder. water and tweeted “O’KNEEL has to go!”
The SBA chief also said then department chief Terence Monahan should “consider another profession”.
When not rampant on the internet, Mullins used his frequent appearances in conservative media outlets such as Fox News and Newsmax to attack city leaders.
In a July 2020 interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, a mug with imagery from QAnon, the Trump support group that propagated dozens of bogus conspiracies, some of which resulted in violence, may have been background view.
Mullins was also a frequent guest on right-wing radio and in 2019 he upset the family of Tessa Majors, a Barnard College student who was killed, by suggesting – without any evidence – that she was in Morningside Park to buy of marijuana when she was killed.
Investigators later determined that Majors had been fatally stabbed in an attempted robbery. Mullins then apologized and insisted his comments “were taken out of context.”
Mullins resigned from the union just hours after the FBI raided the SBA headquarters in lower Manhattan and his home in Port Washington, Long Island, on Tuesday as part of the federal corruption investigation. He did not respond to the NBC News email requesting comment on developments or his leadership of the nation’s fifth largest police union.
“Ed won’t be making any statement,” SBA attorney Andrew Quinn said in an email.
The SBA statutes require Mullins to continue working as a police sergeant and he was paid $ 133,195 by the city last year, though his full-time job is as the head of the SBA, which pays him a additional salary. The union paid Mullins $ 88,757 in 2019, according to the most recent SBA documents, which mentioned him as a trustee.
He has been placed on duty altered and stripped of his badge and weapon while the FBI and the Public Corruption Unit of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York investigate.
Federal investigators have not provided any details about the investigation. But in a statement confirming Mullins’ resignation, the SBA said “it is clear that President Mullins is apparently the target of a federal investigation.”
Mullins was able to keep a tight grip on the SBA because under his leadership the union successfully negotiated contracts with the city that resulted in wage increases of 40 percent.
He is also in the midst of NYPD disciplinary proceedings for violating departmental guidelines by tweeting Chiara de Blasio’s photo and personal details after her arrest in May 2020.
The son of a longshoreman and a stay-at-home mom, Mullins and his three siblings grew up in Greenwich Village and he joined the NYPD in 1982, according to his official bio.
He was elected president of the SBA in 2002. And, along with Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch, whose organization represents approximately 24,000 of the 36,000 NYPD officers, they have become the public faces of the opposition. from the police to the reform of the department by the town hall.
They were also staunch supporters of Trump, with both unions supporting him in the 2020 presidential election.
Mullins has defended “a reactionary stance” on social media, said Wilbur Chapman, who was the NYPD’s assistant training commissioner when he retired in 2011.
“There is a lot of tribalism in society right now and the police service is a reflection of society,” he said. “When I was going up there wasn’t the same political activism you see in the police now. People had their political opinions, but they kept them to themselves.
Chapman said Mullins first landed on his radar when he noticed the SBA’s first vice president attending sergeant promotion ceremonies in his place.
It is customary for police union leaders to attend such ceremonies, Chapman said, but from 2007 to 2011 Mullins was often absent “because of his differences from the then Commissioner of Police (Ray ) Kelly “.
“He was visibly missing,” Chapman said.