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Lhota Slammed For ‘Offensive’ Comment Labeling Port Authority Police ‘Mall Cops’

PBA Chief: Lhota Can Apologize To Widows Of Officers Killed On 9/11
New York City Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota (file /credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

New York City Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota (file /credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Republican New York City mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota has apologized for calling the Port Authority Police “nothing more than mall cops” at a mayoral candidates forum.

But that apology is not accepted by members of the PAPD.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, when a mayoral candidate prefaces a comment with “I know I’m going to get in trouble for this,” he’s usually right.

“If he ever was to get close to being mayor, I’d be out campaigning door to door against that,” Port Authority PBA head Paul Nunziato told Silverman. “It’s totally mind-boggling that he has no concept of what the Port Authority Police do.”

Nunziato said his phone has not stopped ringing since Lhota made the comments Tuesday evening. He said no one wants to hear an apology.

“I have guys hanging off the George Washington Bridge last week saving an emotionally disturbed person, they almost went over the railing with the guy. So I don’t know what kind of malls Joe hangs out in,” Nunziato told Silverman.

“My members are upset, my widows are upset. One of the officer, Will Hermano, who was trapped in the World Trade Center and we actually got him out at 2:00 in the morning is highly upset. It’s totally insulting,” Nunziato told 1010 WINS. “Joe Lhota has never walked a day in the shoes of a Port Authority Police officer. His comment is totally inappropriate and offensive.”

Lhota was answering a question about airport security when he made his controversial remark.

In a statement, Lhota, the former MTA chairman whose father was an NYPD lieutenant, admitted it was “inappropriate” and “insensitive.”

The PAPD lost 37 officers on 9/11. Lhota was the first deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani on Sept. 11.

“He can come apologize to my widows and their children, the 65 kids that lost their dads,” Nunziato said.

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