(CNS News) -- During a press conference under the RFK Bridge in New York City on Tuesday, dozens of police union chiefs spoke out against the press and lawmakers for "vilifying" them. Mike O'Meara, president of the N.Y. State Police Benevolent Association, said that "everybody's trying to shame us" and added, "stop treating us like animals and thugs, and start treating us with some respect!"
When it was his turn to speak, O'Meara said, "Three hundred seventy-five interactions with the public every year! Three hundred seventy-five million interactions! Overwhelmingly positive responses. Overwhelmingly positive responses. But I read in the papers all week, we all read in the papers that in the black community, mothers are worried about their children getting home from school without being killed by a cop."
"What world are we living in?" he asked. "That doesn’t happen! It does not happen. I am not Derek Chauvin, they [other police officers] are not him. He killed someone. We didn't. We are restrained."
Chauvin is the Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder (2nd degree) of George Floyd on May 25.
"Everybody’s trying to shame us," said O'Meara. "The legislators. The press. Everybody’s trying to shame us into being embarrassed about our profession. Well, you know what? This [badge] isn’t stained by someone in Minneapolis. It’s still got a shine on it, and so do theirs, so do theirs."
“Stop treating us like animals and thugs, and start treating us with some respect!" he said. "That’s what we’re here today to say. We’ve been left out of the conversation. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting. It’s disgusting."
O'Meara continued, "Nobody talks about the number of police that were killed last week in America, and there were a number of them. We don’t condone Minneapolis. We roundly reject what he did as disgusting. It’s disgusting! It’s not what we do. It’s not what police officers do."
"Our legislators abandoned us," said O'Meara. "The press is vilifying us. Well, you know what guys, I’m proud to be a cop and I’m going to continue to be proud to be a cop until the day I retire. And that’s all I have to say.”
In the wake of George Floyd's death, groups such as Black Lives Matter, along with left-wing lawmakers have called for defunding and dismantling police forces.