NY police chief calls protest at funeral 'inappropriate'

WASHINGTON - New York's police commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday it was "very inappropriate" for officers outside the funeral of slain cop Rafael Ramos to turn their backs in protest as the mayor spoke.

"That funeral was held to honour Officer Ramos, and to bring politics, to bring issues into that event, I think was very inappropriate, and I do not support it," Bratton told CBS talk show "Face the Nation."

"He is the mayor of New York. He was there representing the citizens of New York to express their remorse and their regret at that death," he added.

"At the same time, it is reflective, unfortunately, of the feelings of some of our officers."

Protests sparked by police killings of unarmed black men have drawn race relations and policing into the national spotlight, with some accusing police of using excessive force against blacks.

But the protests have also sparked anger from some police officers. They say some officials have been too sympathetic and accuse them of inciting violence against law enforcement officers.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke publicly about the counsel he gave to his biracial son to take extra care when dealing with police.

Some police representatives went as far as connecting the statement to the recent double murder of Ramos and his partner.

Bratton defended de Blasio.

"This is a mayor that cares very deeply about New York City police officers, cares very deeply about the divide in this city at this time and is working very hard to heal that divide," he said.

In a separate interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Bratton said the mistrust of police officers by minorities needed to be addressed.

"There's no denying that among the black community there are those concerns," Bratton said.

"It has to be part of the dialogue," the commissioner said, adding that it wasn't simply a race issue.

The debate is also about poverty, class divides and unemployment, he said.

"We are the tip of the iceberg at the moment."

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani also criticised the protest at the funeral.

"Doesn't matter if you like the mayor or you don't like the mayor; you have to respect the mayor's position," he told CBS.

However, he said de Blasio should apologise for his comments.

"He created an impression with the police that he was on the side of the protesters," said the former mayor, who argued that some of the demonstrators took their rhetoric too far.