Irate police union chief Patrick Lynch has launched a letter campaign against a Queens city councilman for “bashing cops” in the wake of the politician’s quest to get an officer fired for his role in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
Lynch, in a letter sent to scores of Queens residents, said outspoken City Councilman Donovan Richards cares more about making a name for himself and running for higher office than he does about crime and other issues.
City Council Member Donovan Richards Jr. (Go Nakamura/For New York Daily News)
"Do you know Donovan Richards?” the letter asks. “You should because he is your City Council member and he is failing. He cares more about running for higher office than he does about regular folks in southeast Queens.
"You deserve better representation, and you should call his office to demand it.”
Lynch, a lifelong Queens resident, said Richards is focused on winning the support of “transplants in Astoria and Long Island City.”
“He wants their votes,” Lynch said in the letter, “but he takes yours for granted.”
Lynch noted recent shooting events, including one in which 12 people were shot at a block party in Brownsville, and said that instead of using his position as chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee to deal with gun violence, he spends his time on the steps of City Hall “bashing cops.”
Lynch’s letter makes no mention of Daniel Pantaleo, the cop whose chokehold contributed to Garner’s death during an arrest on a Staten Island street in 2014. But Richards said it’s clear Lynch is angry the councilman has pushed — and will continue to push — for Police Commissioner James O’Neill to fire Pantaleo.
Richards said he won’t back down.
“We’re not going to waver in the face of injustices that families such as Eric Garner’s have endured,” Richards said.
Earlier this month, an administrative judge recommended that Pantaleo be fired over the incident.
Richards said he was taken aback by the letter, particularly since he met recently with Lynch to discuss issues and policies. He ticked off a number of initiatives for which he’s helped secure funding and said he wishes Lynch had picked up the phone and called him.
“We don’t agree on all things, as most people don’t,” Richards said. “But it’s always been a relationship of respect.”
Lynch, through a spokesman, said the letter speaks for itself and that he would have no additional comment. The union wouldn’t say how many letters were mailed out and at what cost.
“The mere fact that he would attack and spend union money on this is shameful," Richards said. “A better use of money would have been to send letters out to recruit more officers from our community, as we try to bridge that divide with communities of color.”