In this file photo from May 31, 2017, Sgt. Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, center, speaks to media outside the Bronx County Courthouse. AP Photo / Frank Franklin II, File
Federal agents raided the offices of the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the Long Island home of its bombastic leader on Tuesday, who clashed with city officials over his inflammatory tweets and harsh tactics.
FBI spokesman Martin Feely said the officers were “carrying out law enforcement action as part of an ongoing investigation.”
In addition to the union headquarters in Manhattan, agents also raided the home of union president Ed Mullins in Port Washington, Long Island, Feely said.
Messages requesting comment have been left for Mullins and the union.
Mullins, who is also a police sergeant, is in the midst of departmental disciplinary proceedings for tweeting NYPD documents last year regarding the arrest of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter during protests against George’s murder Floyd by Minneapolis Police.
Mullins’ trial began last month but has been postponed indefinitely after one of his lawyers suffered a medical emergency.
Mullins’ attorney denies violating departmental guidelines, arguing that documents containing Chiara de Blasio’s personal identifying information, such as her date of birth and address, had previously been posted online.
Mullins is also suing the department, claiming they were trying to muzzle him by grilling him and recommending disciplinary action for his online missives.
Asked about the raid on Tuesday, the mayor of Blasio told reporters he did not have enough information to comment.
“I think he’s been a divisive voice,” de Blasio said of Mullins. “But it doesn’t make me feel anything in this situation because I don’t know what’s going on. All I hear is an FBI raid. I don’t know the details, I don’t know who it is for. I really want to hear the details before I comment further.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association represents approximately 13,000 active and retired New York police sergeants, a rank higher than police officer and detective, but lower than captain and lieutenant.
Under Mullins’ nearly two decades of leadership, the union fought for better wages – with contracts resulting in 40% wage increases – and took a leading position in the anti-reform movement.
Besides Mullins’ periodic appearances on cable networks like Fox News and Newsmax – including one in which he was pictured in front of a QAnon mug – the union’s most powerful megaphone is perhaps its 45,000-follower Twitter account, which Mullins manages itself, often to fire effect.
In 2018, amid a series of incidents in which police officers were sprayed with water, Mullins suggested it was time for then-commissioner James O’Neill and department head Terence Monahan to “consider another profession” and tweeted that “O’KNEEL has to go!”
O’Neill countered that Mullins was “a bit of a keyboard gangster” who rarely showed up for department duties.
Last year Mullins came under fire for tweets calling the city’s former health commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot “b——” and US Rep. Ritchie Torres “fucking first class.”
Mullins was upset at reports that Barbot had refused to give face masks to police at the start of the pandemic and angry at Torres’ calls for an investigation into a possible slowdown in police work in September 2020.
Torres, who is gay, denounced Mullins’ tweet as homophobic.
On Tuesday, Torres referred to this tweet when reacting to the news of the raid, writing: from the FBI.
In 2019, it wasn’t the tweets that got Mullins in trouble, but rather the comments he made in a radio interview suggesting that Tessa Majors, a student killed at Barnard College, had gone to the park where she had been killed to buy marijuana. Police then arrested three teenagers, claiming she was stabbed in an attempted robbery.
Majors ‘family called Mullins’ remarks on the radio show “deeply inappropriate” blaming the victim and urged him “not to engage in such irresponsible public speculation.”