Federal agents on Tuesday raided the offices of a New York City police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, and the Long Island home of its leader, who has clashed repeatedly with officials over incendiary tweets and hard-line tactics.
Ed Mullins is in disciplinary proceedings for tweeting NYPD paperwork pertaining to the arrest last year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, during protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Asked about the raid on Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio said he didn’t have enough information to comment.
Mullins also came under fire last year for tweets in which he called a former health commissioner, Dr Oxiris Barbot, a “bitch” and a US congressman, Ritchie Torres, a “first-class whore”.
Mullins was upset over reports Barbot refused to give face masks to police in the early days of the pandemic and angry with Torres’ calls for an investigation into an apparent police work slowdown in September last year.
Torres, who is gay, denounced Mullins’ tweet as homophobic. On Tuesday, he referenced that tweet in reacting to the news of the FBI raid, writing: “Ed Mullins, who famously called me a ‘first-class whore’ for daring to ask questions about the [Sergeants Benevolent Association], just got a first-class raid from the FBI.”
An FBI spokesperson said agents were “carrying out a law enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation” in Manhattan and Port Washington, Long Island, but did not give further details.
Messages seeking comment were left with Mullins and the union.
A department trial over the publication of NYPD paperwork in the Chiara De Blasio arrest began last month but was postponed after one of Mullins’ lawyers suffered a medical emergency. Mullins is also suing the department.
Mullins’ lawyer denies he violated department guidelines, arguing paperwork with the mayor’s daughter’s personal identifying information, such as her date of birth and address, was already posted online.
“I think he’s been a divisive voice,” Mayor de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday. “But that doesn’t cause me to feel anything in this situation because I don’t know what’s happening. All I hear is an FBI raid. I don’t know the specifics, I don’t know who it’s directed at. I want to really hear the details before I comment further.”
The Sergeants Benevolent Association represents about 13,000 active and retired New York sergeants. Under Mullins’ leadership, over nearly 20 years, the union has fought for better pay and staked a prominent position in the anti-reform movement.
Along with Mullins’ appearances on networks like Fox News and Newsmax – including one in which he was pictured in front of a QAnon mug – perhaps the union’s most powerful megaphone is its Twitter account, which Mullins runs.
In 2018, amid a rash of incidents in which officers were doused with water, Mullins suggested it was time for then-commissioner James O’Neill and chief Terence Monahan to “consider another profession” and tweeted: “O’KNEEL must go!”
O’Neill retorted that Mullins was “a bit of a keyboard gangster”.
In a radio interview in 2019, Mullins suggested that a murdered Barnard College student, Tessa Majors, went to the park where she was killed to buy marijuana. Police later arrested three teens, saying Majors was stabbed during an attempted robbery.
Majors’ family called Mullins’ remarks “deeply inappropriate”.