NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is on the defense following a call he placed to the New York Police Department to inquire about the arrest of one of his political supporters.
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported Thursday, the mayor phoned chief Kim Royster to ask about the arrest of bishop Orlando Findlayter.
Findlayter was a member of the mayor’s inaugural committee.
“All of this is case-by-case. And this is an unusual situation where a very prominent member of the clergy obviously was experiencing a pretty unusual situation. So I thought it was appropriate to make an inquiry, and I got a response. And that’s the end of the story,” de Blasio said of the situation.
Findlayter was taken to the station house for driving with a suspended license, Lamb reported.
The bishop was released from the precinct despite that he had two outstanding warrants for failing to answer to minor violations, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Police say the bishop was released personally by a deputy inspector before the mayor made his call.
De Blasio insists there was no undue influence. “The precinct commander made a decision and he made a decision based on his view of what the right thing to do is. And we respect our precinct commanders.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, however, said he felt the mayor shouldn’t have gotten involved, Brennan reported.
“The rule is, the mayor shouldn’t be involved in any way about somebody’s arrest,” Stringer said.
Political experts now say the mayor may think twice before picking up the phone.
“Will this change the way that the mayor conducts himself in that regard? Perhaps, but certainly he’s now on notice that this is the kind of scrutiny that you get when you have the top office in the city,” Baruch College professor David Birdsell said.
Mayor de Blasio said he would not rule out ever again making a phone call.
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