Ed Mullin’s sudden resignation as head of one of New York City’s powerful police unions was still circulating through the city when Mayor Bill de Blasio fired a bitter shot.
“Ed Mullins disgraced his uniform, his city and his union more times than I can count,” de Blasio tweeted just after Mullins resigned Tuesday as leader of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, or SBA, amid a federal corruption investigation. “It was just a matter of time before his endless hatred would catch up with him. That day has come. ”
That de Blasio would publicly fire Mullins while he was down says a lot about the mayor’s fragile relationship with the outspoken and polarizing leader of a union representing 13,000 active and retired police officers in New York City and controlling a 264 million pension fund dollars.
But de Blasio is not the only leader in New York City who had problems with Mullins.
During the approximately 20 years that Mullins headed the SBA, he managed to oppose de Blasio’s predecessors as well as the leadership of the New York police, with his sharp opposition to almost any police reform, as well as with his bare knuckle and very personal 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 sore in the ass.”
Using the union’s Twitter account, Mullins de Blasio’s daughter was ripped off as a “riot anarchist” after she was arrested last year for participating in a protest against police violence following the murder of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis – the police. He also called the former New York health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, a “bitch” with “blood on her hands” after she allegedly quarreled with NYPD leadership over mask distribution early in the pandemic.
“Ed Mullins is essentially Donald Trump in New York City politics,” the U.S. rep. Ritchie Torres, DN.Y., who was born and raised in the Bronx borough, to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes the same day Mullins resigned.
Mullins had called Torres a “first-class whore” in a since-deleted tweet last year after the legislature called for an investigation into an alleged slowdown in police work.
Torres, who is gay, condemned Mullin’s tweet as homophobic.
“He has a long-standing pattern of embracing conspiracy theories, dealing with racism and sexism and homophobia,” Torres said of Mullins. “He has done it with impunity.”
In a subsequent statement, Torres’ spokesman Raymond Rodriguez said Mullins “has a long history of bigotry that permeated the entire union he led.”
“For the most part, the law enforcement unions are against any kind of oversight or responsible action. That’s the way they work. ”
But Stephen Nasta, a retired NYPD inspector who now lectures at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and has met Mullins several times, said the former union chief is no bigot. He recalled how Mullins made a point of reaching out to black ministers as part of a fight against crime.
“I do not buy that he is not for minorities,” Nasta said. “He’s there to help crime victims, no matter what color they are.”
Former NYPD commissioner James O’Neill called Mullins a “keyboard gangster” after the union chief ripped him off in 2018 for not cracking down on people who had drowned police officers with water and tweeted “O’KNEEL must go!”
The SBA chief also said then-department head Terence Monahan should “consider another profession.”
When he was not in a hurry on the Internet, Mullins used his frequent appearances on conservative news outlets like Fox News and Newsmax to attack city leaders.
During a July 2020 interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, a mug with the image of QAnon, the Trump-backed group that has spread dozens of false conspiracies, including some that have resulted in violence, could be seen in the background.
Mullins was also a frequent guest on right-wing radio, and in 2019 he disrupted the family of Tessa Majors, a Barnard College student who was killed, by suggesting — without evidence — that she was in Morningside Park to buy marijuana when she was killed.
Investigators later determined that the Majors had been shot dead during an attempted robbery. Mullins later apologized, insisting that his comments “were taken out of context.”
Mullins withdrew from the union a few hours after the FBI on Tuesday attacked the SBA headquarters in lower Manhattan and his home in Port Washington, Long Island, as part of the federal corruption investigation. He did not respond to NBC News’ e-mail seeking comments about the development or his leadership of the fifth largest police association in the country.
“Ed will not make any statements,” SBA attorney Andrew Quinn said in an email.
The SBA’s bylaws require Mullins to continue working as a police sergeant, and he was paid $ 133,195 by the city last year, even though his full-time job ran the SBA, paying him an extra salary. The union paid Mullins $ 88,757 in 2019, according to the SBA’s latest paperwork, which listed him as a trustee.
He has been subjected to modified service and stripped of his mark and his gun while the FBI and the public corruption unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 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 the union under his leadership successfully negotiated contracts with the city that resulted in 40 percent wage increases.
He is also in the middle of a disciplinary proceeding in the NYPD for violating the department’s guidelines by tweeting Chiara de Blasio’s mugshot and personal details after she was arrested 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 biography.
He was elected chairman of the SBA in 2002. And along with Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch, whose organization represents about 24,000 of the NYPD’s 36,000 officers, became the public faces of police opposition to reform of the department at City Hall.
They were also outspoken supporters of Trump, with both unions supporting him in the 2020 presidential election.
Mullins stated “a reactionary position” on social media, said Wilbur Chapman, who was the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for education when he retired in 2011.
“There’s a lot of tribalism going on in society right now, and the police department reflects society,” he said. “When I came up, there was not the same political activism that you see now in the police. People had their political opinions, but they kept them to themselves. ”
Chapman said Mullins first landed on his radar when he noticed that the SBA’s first vice president was attending promotion ceremonies instead of him.
It is customary for police union leaders to attend such ceremonies, Chapman said, but from 2007 to 2011, Mullins was often unable “because of his disagreements with then-Police Commissioner (Ray) Kelly.”
“He was conspicuously lacking,” Chapman said.