NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The office of Mayor Bill de Blasio says an alleged “homeless sweep” before his weekend subway ride is totally false, despite an email that appears to call for one.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, Mayor de Blasio’s weekend ride on the F Train was a big media event. Reporters crammed onto a train at Fourth Avenue in Park Slope and rode to Jay Street-MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn.
But it appeared that the stage was set before anyone showed up. The New York Post claims the preparations included clearing out any homeless people.
The Post released an email that it claims is from a transit employee, and that it claims proves the NYPD swept away the homeless as part of housekeeping before de Blasio’s big subway matinee.
Part of the email reads: “Before the mayor arrives at the 4th Avenue station, the officers are to sweep the station for homeless persons as well as the Jay Street station. There will be press at the 4th Avenue station.”
The mayor rode the rails Sunday in what many said seemed to be more of a photo-op than a true examination of the subway’s issues.
When pressed about the issue of having homeless people removed from the stations on social media, de Blasio press secretary Eric Phillips claimed there was “zero evidence. Evidence of the opposite, in fact.”
Mayor de Blasio also scoffed at the claim during his weekly appearance on NY1.
“I have no idea if that report is true. The outlet that ran it often is not factually based,” de Blasio said. “But I’ll tell you one thing – the vast majority of the time I go into the subway, it’s very spontaneous. We don’t know until the last moment what’s going on with the schedule.”
The Post pointed out that the timestamp on the internal order was 10:53 p.m. Saturday.
Phillips fired back after the memo was published.
On Monday, the NYPD told CBS2 that there was no directive from City Hall, and that an NYPD sergeant sent out the memo independently from City Hall as part of security protocol. The NYPD said it found one homeless woman in the subway station, but she was not removed.