The family of a Barnard college student killed in a Manhattan park blasted a police union chief on Monday, saying he tried to blame the 18-year-old victim for her own death.
Tess Majors was fatally stabbed in Morningside Park, a short distance from Barnard College, Wednesday evening. Police have not released information as to what prompted the deadly attack. But Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, told a local radio show on Sunday that it was his understanding that "she was in the park to buy marijuana."
He then criticized the city's lax enforcement of marijuana restrictions.
"We don't enforce marijuana laws anymore," he said. "We're basically hands-off in enforcing marijuana."
Majors' family, however, criticized Mullins for what they said was "irresponsible public speculation."
"The remarks by Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins we find deeply inappropriate, as they intentionally or unintentionally direct blame onto Tess, a young woman, for her own murder," the family said in a statement. "We would ask Mr. Mullins not to engage in such irresponsible public speculation, just as the NYPD asked our family not to comment as it conducts the investigation."
In the radio interview, Mullins also said Majors was killed by a 13-year-old, but police have not specifically said what role the minor played in the killing. Two other teenagers are being sought by police, who believe they were involved in the attack, NBC News reported.
In a court hearing, police said Majors struggled with multiple attackers. A detective also testified that one of the attackers then pulled a knife and stabbed the college student several times before the group fled, the New York Times reported.
Detective Vincent Signoretti testified that the 13-year-old in custody told authorities he and two others were in the park looking to rob someone when they spotted Majors.
The teenager, who was not named, said he saw his friends grab Majors, put her in a chokehold, and empty her pockets before the stabbing.
Shortly after Majors' family released a statement, Mullins said his comments "were never directed at the victim, but rather [Mayor Bill] de Blasio," the Daily News reported.
After the radio interview, de Blasio criticized the union president's comments as "heartless."
"We don't shame victims in this city," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the union has referred to the deadly park stabbing in criticism aimed at de Blasio, whom they have accused of having weakened the NYPD.
In their statement, Majors' family said the priority should be finding out what happened to the young student, as well as those responsible for the crime.
"Our family is interested in knowing what exactly happened to Tess and who committed her murder," the family said. "We believe, for the immediate safety of the community and the surrounding schools, that should be everyone's top priority."