The Mayor’s Staff Revolts
And they booed him for good reason. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to assert that the NYPD respects all peaceful protests for George Floyd. Even today, at a press conference where reporters shared first hand accounts of police beating innocent demonstrators last night in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, the Mayor held firm. When asked why he had a different take on the events, and why he determined protesters in Mott Haven brought the police tactics down upon themselves, Mr. de Blasio explained:
I believe that *you* believe what you’re saying. I also believe that the information [NYPD] Commissioner [Dermot] Shea is putting forward is based on fact — based on both the intention of some of the people who came, and that they made their intention clear based on the weapons that were recovered.
But what about the cops who threatened bystanders shouting “All right, who wants to go to jail tonight?”
We had observers from City Hall who saw a very different reality then what you saw. We’re always watching.
Or the ones who surrounded protesters and dragged them out of their confines one after the other?
Sometimes it’s because there’s a lot more there than meets the eye and — when you’re [out] after [our 8 PM] curfew, you have a threat of violence, you have evidence of violence being intended, and people have been asked to disperse — I want to remind you that those are real conditions that have to be understood.
How about the ones who arrested a legal observer, the woman with a bright, green hat clearly marked “National Lawyers Guild”?
If you say, ‘Look, here’s something that was inappropriate’ — you or anyone else — there are very clear methodologies for any individual New Yorker to file a complaint with the Internal Affairs Bureau or the Civilian Complaint Review Board or both.
But what about members of the Mayor’s adminstration? Well, they didn’t wait for suggestions. They bought their own website and and left him a letter.
Published two days ago on lettertothemayor.nyc, the missive declared that both current and former staffers were “outraged” by the NYPD’s handling of the George Floyd protests. Moreover, due to the Mayor’s “refusal to criticize the NYPD for their brutality,” they were coming together to demand de Blasio “implement four policy reforms to live up to the progressive values he always speaks of.” Here’s their list:
(1) Reduce the NYPD operating budget by $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2021, and reallocate that money to essential social services, including housing support and rental relief, food assistance, and health care, in alignment with the demands of the NYC Budget Justice campaign.
(2) Immediately fire all NYPD officers found to have used excessive force — or to have covered their badges — at protests.
(3) Release the names and official disciplinary records of all NYPD personnel who have been accused of using excessive force, covering their badge numbers, or other misconduct.
(4) Appoint an independent commission, in the vein of the Knapp and Mollen Commissions, composed of civil rights attorneys, journalists, and activists, including abolitionist organizers, to investigate the response of the Mayor’s Office and the NYPD to the May and June 2020 protests against police violence.
Remarkably, those who signed the letter not only have ties to the Mayor’s Office, but also represent big city agencies. In addition to people from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Immigrant Affairs, and Budget, there’s those from the Department of Health, Transportation, Sanitation, Education, and NYC Economic Development Corporation. There’s even some endorsements from high-level officials — people like Sam Biederman, the Parks Department’s Assistant Commissioner for Community Outreach, and Adam Beckerman, the Department of City Planning’s Assistant Borough Commissioner for Staten Island.
When the letter first went live, it contained over 200 signatures. Today, it boasts 984. Mr. de Blasio, can you hear all those voices?
Screenshot courtesy of the New York Post. June 5, 2020.