NYC Councilman Responds to Police Union's Insult Over Apparent Slowdown in Policing

New York City Councilman and congressional candidate Ritchie Torres fired back at the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), after the police union called him a "first class w***e" on Twitter.

On Friday afternoon, the SBA quote-tweeted from Torres, who called for an independent investigation into the New York City Police Department (NYPD). In addition to the slur, the SBA said Torres voted in favor of defunding police.

The SBA also tweeted a 2017 photo of Torres being arrested while participating in a rally, protesting President Donald Trump cutting Housing and Urban Development budgets.

"He we go America this is what a first class w***e looks like RITCHIE TORRES. Passes laws to defund police, supports criminals, & now because he's running for office he blames the police to protect what he voted for. Remember Little Ritchie? Meet LYING RITCHIE," the SBA tweet said.

Besides the video in his tweet, the SBA attack seemed motivated Torres' stance on police reform. In a June interview with local radio station Hot 97, Torres spoke about his stance on police reform. "I'm not in favor of more police. I'm in favor of defunding the police," he said, when a host asked him about accusations that he was in favor of increasing the number of police in the Bronx.

On Twitter, a number of people criticized the union for the language it used to attack Torres, including New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay and CNN commentator Keith Boykin.

"If this is the way a police union talks about an elected official almost certainly headed for Congress in January, how do its gun-carrying members treat New Yorkers?" asked Gay.

"And of all the words you could have chosen," tweeted Boykin, "to call an openly gay Black and Latino future congressman a "w***e" shows just how racist, homophobic and out of touch your so-called police union has become. You bring nothing but shame and dishonor on the New York Police Department."

Torres responded to SBA's tweet, saying he was undeterred by the name-calling, reassuring his faith in his campaign for Congress. "My message to the homophobes of @SBANYPD: I'm here. I'm queer. I'm not going anywhere," he wrote.

My message to the homophobes of @SBANYPD: I'm here. I'm queer. I'm not going anywhere. And whether you like it or not, I'm heading to the United States Congress.

— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) September 4, 2020

Torres wrote an earlier tweet, accusing the SBA of being "a bona fide hate group masquerading as a union. The racism, misogyny, and homophobia of Ed Mullins gives@realDonaldTrump a run for his money." Mullins is the president of the union.

The video that the SBA shared of Torres was from a press conference explaining that an investigation would be launched to see if there'd been a slowdown in the NYPD responding to gun-related crimes.

"In 2020, we saw nearly a doubling of the surge in summertime shootings. The NYPD is making fewer gun arrests, solving fewer gun cases, responding more slowly to gun crimes in progress. The dramatic increase in gun violence can be best explained by the dramatic decrease in gun enforcement," Torres said in the video.

Torres explained that the investigation was to confirm whether there had been a slowdown, and what effects it may have had. "That's why we are calling for an investigation to examine whether there is in fact a work slow down and to what extent has the work slowdown driven the growth of violence in New York City," he said.

Torres and a media contact for the SBA did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Ritchie Torres
New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres is arrested with other activists at a rally demanding that the Trump administration abandon proposals to cut the Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) budget on April 20, 2017 in New York City. The SBA shared the photo of Torres being arrested in the tweet, where it called the council member a "w***e." Spencer Platt/Getty