Top Five Threats to NYC Now that Ed Mullins Is Retired: Ranked
The city's loudest cop union president lived by the post and died by the post.
Hi all! Hope everyone had a good, FBI raid-free week. This week’s newsletter is about one guy who isn’t so lucky…
I’m talking about Ed Mullins, author of the tweet above and former president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, New York City’s third-largest police union. (For more background NYC’s cop union landscape, here’s a post focusing on the Detectives Endowment Association from back in April.) Mullins resigned from his position at the head of the org and copped an early retirement from the NYPD on Tuesday after the FBI raided both SBA headquarters and Mullins’s Long Island home. Per the New York Post, the raids were connected to “a probe into the suspected theft of union funds” and the hunt for “evidence of mail and wire fraud,” but all of that is from “law enforcement sources,” so, eh, grain of salt.
While he’s best known online for being a vitriolic critic of basically everyone in New York City politics and sneaking a QAnon mug into the background of a summer 2020 Fox News interview, Mullins was one of the most vocal, militant police union leaders in a field with a lot of strong competition. As such, I am definitely curious to see the impact his departure might have on the cop union landscape nationwide. (For what it’s worth, Mullins is probably extra cherry-on-top fucked because he’s reportedly been a total cunt to everyone who’s had to interact with him in his 18-year tenure as SBA president.)
No concrete predictions in terms of what’s going to happen or theories on why he’s being probed. I just think it’s interesting. I’m interested in it. Pending more updates about the results of the FBI investigation though (they sure took a lot of boxes out of the SBA office!), let’s just talk about the tweets.
I feel comfortable saying that Mullins is the one who tweets both from his personal account @sba_president and the official @SBANYPD account because he’s in the middle of an NYPD departmental trial for doing just that—he tweeted out Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter’s arrest record in June 2020 after she was collared at an anti-cop protest. He’s also facing separate disciplinary action for sending out hate-filled tweets about a congressman and a NYC health official—tweets that he’s literally suing the NYPD to protect, another brave warrior riding into the fray under the banner of “free speech.”
Okay, okay, we get it—disgraced cop and police union crook Ed Mullins loves to post. Who cares, right? The thing is, people like the way Mullins tweets. At the risk of being hacky, he tweets like Donald Trump, and obviously that style of communication is effective when it comes to creating and cementing media narratives.
It’s not just the shouty cadence, either. It’s the flair for escalating the petty gripe to the brink of violence, it’s taking the low road whenever possible, it’s the exuberant rejection of anything that looks like tact, decorum, or respect. If the stakes weren’t so high, it could be funny—but, at bottom, it’s the same rank copaganda, designed to stoke fear and drive its readers back into the arms of the law.
It was essential to the NYPD, and police forces around the country, that crime spiked after a national uprising against police violence. So, come 2021, crime spiked—and Twitter accounts like the SBA’s were sure to keep stats current and circulating for any reporters looking to write about a crime wave. I took a lot at the way Mullins used the SBA platform to perpetuate the narrative he and all his brothers in blue need to be true: that the police are the “good guys” and that we need them to keep us safe.
I don’t know Ed Mullins personally, but after reading his tweets, I do think he’s probably pretty stressed out right now. There are so many threat to New York City that he’ll no longer be able to defuse by posting. What threats, exactly? Based on a close reading of his posts, here are the top five calamities Mullins might be worried will overtake NYC within the month now that he’s retired—with a little timeline context, because IMO the SBA account got decidedly more deranged circa 2019.
Total tweets: 9
Tweets before 2020: 1
While guns, drugs, and violence have been frequent topics in the SBA Twittersphere, the threats to public safety that Mullins goes long on about from his duel accounts tend to be more… conceptual. Problems don’t stem from concrete harms with concrete solutions—the real problem is the devastating atmosphere cultivated by weak politicians who won’t let cops use chokeholds or open fire on unruly crowds. Before 2018, for instance, the account only mentions “violence” in the context of domestic violence, ie domestic violence awareness, rather than, say, violence towards cops.
“Lawlessness” is a good place to start, because it’s a term that’s basically meaningless—so it can and does get tweaked into a convenient synonym for “insufficient respect for cops” with a dash of “I saw a guy doing drugs in a park.”
What was even happening in February 2020 when Mullins tweeted this? I literally don’t remember. Threat level: 3/10
2. The “crime epidemic”
Total tweets: 8
Tweets before 2020: 0
I honestly think this one is so boring. I understand that the disease x crime reference is a cop classic with all the “right” racial and class implications, but isn’t the worst time to reference a ‘demic of any kind when we’re actually experiencing one? Plus, a lot of these tweets say there’s “no end in sight” to this tidal wave of malady—a claim that’s directly undercut by the fact that the SBA quietly stopped tweeted about it in April. Threat level: 2/10
Total tweets: 9
Tweets before 2020: 4
Again, “chaos” is basically a stand-in for lawlessness or the less fashionable “disorder,” which is to say it’s another dog whistle, inviting gullible press and pro-cop followers to freak out and ask for help. I don’t thiIiiIiink it has to be said, but just in case: Violence like the kind in the news story the SBA is commenting on here is extremely serious. If people are getting hurt, it’s a problem. That’s not the issue with cops like Mullins decrying “chaos.” The issue is that when cops are talking about ending chaos, they’re not talking about stopping violence; they’re talking about regaining control of their monopoly on violence.
Anyway, nobody tell Mullins how hot girls on Twitter were describing their lives in 2019. He’d hate that, because he hates stuff that’s chaotic, right? Get it? Threat level: 6/10
Total tweets: 12
Tweets before 2020: 8
Maybe this one isn’t totally fair—but given the fact that the SBA Twitter account has gotten some of the most mileage out of its blood tweets, it’s clear that the bodily fluid in all its crimson symbolism looks large in Mullins’s psyche. The best place for blood to be is in a human body, right? Think again: the best place for blood to be is in an NYPD-led blood drive (that’s 4/8 of the pre-2020 tweets), and the worst place it can be is on some limp dick politician’s hands—especially when that blood is blue. Chew on that! Threat level: 7.5/10
Total tweets: 17
Tweets before 2020: 11
At last, we come to the cop’s greatest, most timeless enemy: Anything and anyone that prevents him from doing exactly what he wants all the time—thus threatening the very fabric of society.
And in the end, if he was actually stealing union funds while alienating everyone at the city level who could have possibly been an ally, then maybe Mullins was right: Stupidity was the real threat all along. Threat level: 10/10
Questions, comments, corrections? (“You don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer” is not a correction.) Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send “business” “inquiries” to email@example.com, or DM me on Twitter.