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Blasio tells

De Blasio tells staffers more cops will be disciplined over handling of protests – POLITICO

Chirlane McCray and Bill de Blasio | AP Photo

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks alongside his wife Chirlane McCray. | AP Photo/John Minchillo

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised his staff that more NYPD officers will be disciplined over violent clashes with protesters throughout last week.

In seeking to quell an uprising among city employees, some of whom are planning to rally against de Blasio on Monday morning, the mayor explained that he thought officers’ lives were in danger during the protests, according to three people on a staff call Sunday afternoon.

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“There were even — between the time of Thursday night and Saturday night — so many instances where I had come to fundamentally believe, based on evidence, that officers’ lives were in direct danger, and officers might be killed,” de Blasio said, according to a verbatim account of two people on the call.

“God forbid we had lost one of our officers and it came damn close,” he said, referring to the stabbing of a police officer in Brooklyn last week. It was unrelated to the protests that have taken hold throughout the city in response to the police killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis last month.

He said he was also worried about protesters and tried to strike a balance between those fears, but acknowledged he did not articulate his concerns well enough to staffers, who grew furious watching him unconditionally defend the NYPD and chastise demonstrators.

“In retrospect there’s things I realize now we could’ve done better, said better, made clearer,” the mayor said.

On the call, de Blasio reiterated his concern about some protesters, who he said seized on the frenzy of the marches to loot stores that are shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also promised that more discipline for police officers would be announced in the coming days.

“It took too long, I agree. That can’t be the case in the future, but that discipline has begun and there will be much more,” he said.

So far two NYPD officers have been suspended as a result of attacks against peaceful protesters, which were often videotaped in footage that has gone viral on social media. De Blasio said multiple investigations, including one by the NYPD’s internal affairs bureau, are underway.

He also told staffers, who submitted questions that he answered on the conference call, that he did not want to institute an 8 p.m. curfew last week but did so to avoid a National Guard takeover in the city, according to two attendees.

As POLITICO reported, the New York Immigration Coalition and New York Civil Liberties Union each threatened to sue over the curfew, arguing it violated the constitutional right to assembly.

The Sunday call came as de Blasio faces the most profound crises of his administration: His handling of the coronavirus, which was beset by a near-public feud between the mayor and his health commissioner, was followed by an eruption of anger over his stance on the protests.

In addition to current and former aides, the mayor so gravely disappointed black and Latino New Yorkers who make up his base that he was roundly booed as he spoke during a memorial for Floyd in Brooklyn last week.

On the call Sunday, de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, offered staff a pep talk, telling them she is proud of them and offering a virtual hug.

“The confusion, the pain … the anger, the outrage that we’ve all experienced in some way in the past two weeks must be channeled into more action,” she said, according to an attendee.

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Blasio Shaken

Shaken de Blasio pleads for community help as Cuomo chides NYPD response to protests – POLITICO

NEW YORK — A visibly shaken Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded with community and religious leaders to help curb the destruction that has begun to spiral out of control in recent days as his longtime adversary Gov. Andrew Cuomo chastised the NYPD’s response and openly speculated about removing the mayor from office.

On the fifth night of demonstrations in New York City, images of looters and police being attacked splashed across social media into the early hours Tuesday morning, even as the city imposed its first curfew in decades and large groups of protesters peacefully demonstrated. The more chaotic elements of the evening drew recriminations hours later from the White House to Albany with President Donald Trump tweeting “CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD” and Cuomo calling for more police presence amid what he saw as a failed response.

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“I am disappointed and outraged in what happened in New York City last night,” Cuomo said during a news briefing Tuesday. “The police in New York City were not effective at doing their job last night. Period. They have to do a better job.”

Cuomo has put state police and 13,000 members of the National Guard on standby and even mused about invoking his statutory power to remove the mayor, but said the police had the capacity to handle the situation on their own.

De Blasio — at a tense news conference during which he snapped at reporters and called on local leaders to take a more active role in the protests — forcefully denounced the idea of allowing organized troops onto city streets, arguing their presence would only ratchet up tensions and heighten the chaos he is trying to tamp down.

“Someone needs a history lesson: When outside armed forces go into communities, no good comes of it,” he said.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea lit into Cuomo later in the day when asked about the governor’s comments during an interview on Fox News.

“Any comments placing the blame for where we are with this situation on the backs of the men and women of this police department that are putting their lives on the line … I think is disgraceful and he should be ashamed of himself,” Shea said. “There is politics and there is what is right. And that is a disgraceful comment.”

Shea also defended de Blasio’s handling of the situation and said more political leaders should show similar support for the NYPD.

“I can tell you definitively that he has the backs of the men and women of this police department,” Shea said. “It is an extremely difficult time. You heard him on the news and you may have heard his comments denouncing the actions of those attacking the cops. And again, what we need is probably less press conferences by many people and more support and more coming out and making difficult decisions that may not be the most popular.”

The mayor has shifted his tone multiple times since the start of the protests, which have been accompanied by violence from the NYPD, attacks on officers and increasingly destructive break-ins on Sunday and Monday night along commercial strips. The mayor at first defended the police department and then chastised officers for an excess of force. He originally said the violence stemmed from “out of town” agitators, then conceded there were homegrown “anarchists” at work. He then on Tuesday blamed gangs and “career criminals” for exploiting protests that have flooded streets and parks in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

On Tuesday, de Blasio seemed desperate for community leaders to take control of protests and channel more peaceful forces while exiling anyone looking to incite violence.

“Members of the clergy, come out now. I’m calling you out. Civic leaders, block associations, come out now and stand up for peace, stand up for anyone who would do looting, stand up against anyone who would attack a police officer,” he said.

It was unclear whether the administration had laid any of the groundwork to coordinate gatherings before de Blasio’s plea. The mayor’s office has a community affairs unit dedicated to forging and maintaining relationships with residents and organizations across the five boroughs.

Gwen Carr, whose son Eric Garner was killed in a chokehold at the hands of a police officer in 2014, demanded Tuesday that protesters remain peaceful and chided those seeking to exploit the situation.

“This is our movie, and we’re not going to be an extra in our movie,” she said during a press conference. “I am mad and angry about what happened to George Floyd, I am not mad about the protests. I am mad about the looters.”

De Blasio also slammed news outlets and politicians for focusing on looting over peaceful protesters who advocated against destruction. He snapped at the suggestion that police were looking the other way as looters targeted the Macy’s flagship store in Midtown, as well as other commercial strips. He said the NYPD is fully capable of preventing the break-ins and thefts that swept through the city and that a curfew beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday will be extended through Sunday, the day before the city is set to begin the first phase of reopening.

“There is no such thing as being able to loot with impunity. I am so sick of these efforts to mischaracterize reality,” he told one reporter who asked about images of cops standing by while looters ransacked businesses. “I’ll go right back at you and everyone else who wants to mischaracterize reality.”

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, de Blasio encouraged protesters to stay home, assured them that their message had been heard and said that reforms are already in motion. The police department would be hastening the disciplinary process and shifting it to identify officers who should not be in a particular location or on the force altogether, though the mayor did not go into detail about what exactly those changes would entail.

When asked about reforms being weighed by the city council to curb police aggression, specifically making it illegal for cops to use the deadly chokehold that killed Garner in 2014, de Blaiso said that he would work with lawmakers and would support legislation as long as it provided officers the ability to use the maneuver in life-threatening situations. The Council is planning to bring the measure, which would also ban other types of neck restraints, for a vote later this month, and earlier in the day Council Speaker Corey Johnson said that he had secured enough votes to override a veto — something the mayor threatened the last time the notion was proposed six years ago.

Cuomo said the mayor seemed out of touch with the gravity of the crisis.

“I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem,” the governor said. “I believe he underestimates the duration of the problem and I don’t think they used enough police to address the situation.”

But to deploy additional troops, Cuomo said he’d have to dramatically reduce the power of the mayor’s office.

“Technically the governor could remove a mayor — you’d have to file charges,” Cuomo said, but added he’s not ready to take that step. “I believe in the inherent capacity of the NYPD if managed and if deployed. That’s what I think hasn’t worked. … That has to be fixed and that has to be fixed today.”

Republican Rep. Pete King chastised Cuomo in defense of the city’s response.

“Time for @NYGovCuomo to realize the NYPD is doing its job. Governor is failing in his,” King said in a tweet. “NYPD is on battlefield risking their lives to protect us. Cuomo sits back in sheltered world second guessing NYPD heroes. Shameful!”

Caitlin Oprysko contributed to this report.

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Blasio mayor

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio stands by daughter after protest arrest, disputes media reports – Fox News

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted Monday that his 25-year-old daughter was “peacefully protesting” and “not doing anything that would provoke a negative response” when she was arrested late Saturday night during demonstrations against the death of George Floyd.

Chiara de Blasio was taken into custody in Manhattan after allegedly blocking traffic and then refusing to move, law enforcement sources told the New York Post.

NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER ON NIGHT OF VIOLENT RIOTS, LOOTING: ‘IT TURNED DARK AND IT TURNED UGLY’ 

Yet De Blasio said when he and his wife Chirlane asked their daughter to explain the situation, she shared a different story.

“She was very clear that she believed she was following the instructions of police officers and doing what they were asking,” de Blasio told reporters.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his daughter Chiara in 2src15. (Reuters)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his daughter Chiara in 2015. (Reuters)

“Absolutely she was abundantly clear — she was peacefully protesting, not doing anything that would provoke a negative response,” he added.

New York City was hit hard by looters Sunday night who targeted high-end retail stores and left a trail of destruction in their wake.

De Blasio said he wasn’t aware of his daughter’s arrest until a member of the media sent an inquiry to his office seeking his comment.

“It’s a reality that every parent faces — that you never know when your kids become adults, how they are going to go about their lives,” he said. “Sometimes you get surprises.”

LUXURY STORES LOOTED IN NEW YORK CITY PROTESTS 

The mayor said Chiara had participated in a peaceful protest a few nights before her arrest.

“And when I found out she had been arrested, I finally reached her with Chirlane and I asked her recount the whole story and look – I love my daughter deeply, I honor her. She is such a good human being. She only wants to do good in the world,” he continued. “She wants to see a better and more peaceful world. She believes a lot of change is needed. I’m proud of her that she cares so much and that she was willing to go out there and do something about it.”

However, a law enforcement source that spoke to the New York Post described the scene where Ciara was arrested as being a “real hotspot” where police cars were getting burned and “people were throwing and yelling, fighting with cops.”

“There were thousands of people in that area at that time,” the source added, describing how officers declared the scene an unlawful assembly.

RIOTING, LOOTING LINKED TO GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS LEAVES TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION ACROSS AMERICAN CITIES 

People grab items inside a pharmacy that had its windows broken in New York City early Monday. (AP)

People grab items inside a pharmacy that had its windows broken in New York City early Monday. (AP)

Upon arrest, Chiara listed her address as being the mayor’s mansion – but did not tell police that she was de Blasio’s daughter, the sources added.

She was given a desk appearance ticket – and the arrest happened an hour before her father told demonstrators during a late-night press conference to “go home,” the New York Post reports.

The NYPD Sergeant’s Benevolent Association union, which has been a longtime critic of de Blasio, tweeted out Chiara’s arrest report. The tweet reportedly contained her personal information, but Twitter ended up taking it down for violating its terms of service.

“How can the NYPD protect the city of NY from rioting anarchist when the Mayors object throwing daughter is one of them,” the now-deleted tweet read. “Now we know why he is forbidding Mounted units to be mobilized and keeping the NYPD from doing their jobs.”

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De Blasio ripped the tweet Monday as being “unconscionable.”

“Police unions could be part of the change and the improvement in this city and this country,” he said. “They really should re-evaluate what they are doing at this moment in history.”

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Blasio mayor

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defends police after video shows NYPD SUV driving into protesters – NBC News

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the New York City Police Department after a pair of the force’s SUVs drove into a crowd during Saturday’s protest against George Floyd’s death.

De Blasio reacted after videos were posted to social media, which showed protestors moving a yellow barrier in front a police vehicle in Brooklyn. Protestors threw traffic cones and other items at the SUV as a second vehicle arrived and slowly drove through the crowd forming around it.

The first vehicle then drove into the barricade at a higher speed, sending people sprawling. Multiple city officials told NBC News there were no injuries as a result of the incident.

In a news conference late Saturday, de Blasio called the video “upsetting,” but said protestors were wrong to surround the SUVs.

“It is inappropriate for protestors to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers,” he said. “That’s wrong on its face and that hasn’t happened in the history of protests in this city.”

He added that it was “clear that a different element has come into play here who are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles.”

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While he wished the officers had not driven into the crowd, de Blasio said he “understood they didn’t start the situation,” which he said was “started by a group of protesters converging on a police vehicle.”

However, on Sunday morning, de Blasio had clarified his comments about the video, saying he didn’t like what he saw “one bit.”

“I did not want to ever see something like that I don’t want to ever see it again,” de Blasio said during a Sunday press conference. “And clearly, we need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done and why it was done and what could be done differently.”

The mayor said an independent review into the video would be led by Corporation Counsel James Johnson and NYC Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett and their findings would be concluded in June.

De Blasio, a Democrat, has had a troubled relationship with the NYPD, particularly rank-and-file officers. In February, police leaders and unions lashed out at the mayor after a gunman attempted to assassinate one office and injured another.

Edward D. Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, tweeted in February that members of the NYPD were “declaring war” on him.

Last August, the union declared it had “no confidence” in de Blasio, after it claimed that he had “unlawfully interfered” in the firing of Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who was seen on video using a chokehold during Eric Garner’s deadly arrest five years ago.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused de Blasio of “making excuses” for the NYPD.

“As mayor, this police department is under your leadership,” the Democrat congresswoman tweeted early Sunday. “This moment demands leadership and accountability from each of us. Defending and making excuses for NYPD running SUVs into crowds was wrong.”

@NYCMayor your comments tonight were unacceptable.

As mayor, this police department is under your leadership.

This moment demands leadership & accountability from each of us. Defending and making excuses for NYPD running SUVs into crowds was wrong.

Make it right. De-escalate.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 31, 2020

The force posted a clip from de Blasio’s news conference of him defending the videos, on its NYPD News Twitter feed.

A senior police official told NBC News that the NYPD had seen the video and been told by “multiple law enforcement officials” that @the vehicle was hit with rocks, bottles, and someone through a lit trash bag on top of the SUV.”

They added that the officers “decided to push the barrier into the crowd instead of confronting the protestors outside the car.”

Officers were concerned they would run over someone if they backed up, they said.

Henry Austin

Henry Austin is a London-based editor and reporter for NBC News Digital.

Image: Suzanne CiechalskiSuzanne Ciechalski

Suzanne Ciechalski is a New York-based reporter for NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team specializing in verification and social discovery. 

Tom Winter

Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

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Blasio faces

De Blasio faces backlach over message to Jewish community – Fox News

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is receiving backlash for his response to a large Jewish Orthodox funeral in Brooklyn; reaction and analysis on ‘Outnumbered.’

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