NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was organized civil disobedience.
Protesters made a scene inside the City Council chamber on Thursday, voicing their displeasure with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton’s request for money to hire more officers.
On the very day that the Bratton finally admitted he needs more cops, a small group of dissidents hid themselves around the chamber to systematically interrupt him and shout him down, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
It started small, with one woman screaming “It’s a lie!” in the direction of Commissioner Bratton as he started testifying about the NYPD budget.
Then about half a dozen individual protesters stood up, one at a time, to attack the NYPD’s so-called “broken window” policy of arresting people for low-level crimes.
The chamber’s sergeant at arms was ordered to remove an unruly individual.
And then there was pandemonium, protesters chanting “No new cops! No new cops! No new cops!”
Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Vanessa Gibson first ordered the protestors evicted. Then, talking over screaming dissidents, she gave up and threw everyone out.
“All members of the public please exit this chamber,” Gibson said. “We’re going to have order in this chamber.”
Gibson apologized to the commissioner, but he was unperturbed.
“As Jimmy Durante used to say ‘everybody wants to get into the act.’ Okay, if I may continue,” Bratton said.
Ironically, given what the protesters had to say, the commissioner said he had finally concluded after a year-long study that the NYPD does need more cops. At 34,000, it’s down 6,000 from his pre-911 high.
“The Department will be seeking additional officers,” Bratton said.
It was a 180 for Bratton, who last year said he didn’t need more manpower when the Council wanted to add 1,000 new officers, Kramer reported.
The commissioner was non-committal about just how many he needs, but one thing he wants is 350 more officers to fight ISIS and other terror groups.
“This is intended to address the changing face of terrorism that changed dramatically in 2014. When I appeared before you last year, the threat was primarily from al Qaeda,” Bratton said. “Certainly the ISIS threat has morphed significantly over the last year.”
The multi-million dollar question is whether Mayor Bill de Blasio will put more cops in the budget and if so, how many?
A spokesman for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told Kramer she will work to find money for the extra manpower.