Police officers hire plane to insult New York mayor

An airplane hired by current and former police officers to haul a banner insulting Mayor Bill de Blasio flew above New York City on Friday.

The banner, which was first spotted above the Hudson River around 9 a.m., read “De Blasio, our backs have turned to you.” The sign evoked the NYPD officers and police union leaders who turned their backs to the mayor at a hospital last week after the officers were fatally shot.

Former police officer-turned-activist John Cardillo said “hundreds” of retired and current officers paid to have the banner flown.

Sharpton, Garner family pray for officers’ families

The Rev. Al Sharpton and the mother and widow of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after what a medical examiner determined was a white officer’s chokehold, prayed for the families of the two slain officers at a Christmas dinner event.

The Garner family observed a moment of silence and prayed while serving meals and handing out toys with Sharpton at the Harlem headquarters of his National Action Network.

WABC-TV said widow Esaw Garner told the crowd she shares in the families’ suffering and would be more than happy to meet them.

Authorities say Brinsley had referenced Garner’s death on Instagram before shooting the officers.

In a holiday statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mentioned the slain officers and urged people to “offer support to their families any way we can.”

Thousands expected at rally to support police

A Cleveland-area police dispatcher who organized a rally scheduled for Saturday in support of officers and invited 500 friends to it says thousands of people plan to attend.

Mary Jo Graves decided last Sunday to organize the Sea of Blue Support rally on Cleveland’s Public Square by creating a page on Facebook and inviting her friends. She said Thursday that more than 54,000 invites have been sent across the social media website and 4,000 people have indicated they plan to be there.

“I was hoping to get 100 people to stand with me at Public Square in support of officers, and it kind of blew up,” said Graves, who spent nearly 14 years as a Cleveland police dispatcher and the last six in suburban Brooklyn.

– From news service reports