NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Commissioner Dermot Shea had harsh words Thursday, charging the city is going overboard in restricting what police can and cannot do to keep the city safe.
He says it’s like officers are being handcuffed.
It was a telling moment — not a single member of the NYPD was by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s side when he signed six bills to reform how the city’s cops can police the city.
Instead, Shea blasted the new laws that were sparked by anti-police brutality protests.
“I think that we have gone too far. I think we’ve crossed the tipping point on many levels in terms of taking tools away from the police,” Shea said.
Shea was clearly referring to the new law banning chokeholds, which in addition to outlawing chokeholds prevents cops from sitting, standing or kneeling on a suspect’s back or stomach, the diaphragm.
While the top cop admitted that some reforms are necessary, he said the demands of anti-cop protesters are hurting the very people they’re trying to help.
“You can’t have a 1% driving agendas that has a negative impact on the 99%, particularly on people of color in inner cities, and that’s what’s happening right now,” Shea said.
The commissioner’s tough talk is raising questions about his relationship with his boss, Mayor de Blasio.
A spokesman for the mayor told CBS2 the two are close, but the mayor was uncharacteristically terse when he was asked if he still had confidence in Shea and when was the last time the two met face-to-face.
“Yes. Tuesday,” de Blasio said.
Meanwhile, Chief of Department Terence Monahan told CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer he’s been told that provisions of the chokehold bill may be unconstitutional.
“I’ve spoken to all the District Attorneys in the counties. They all don’t think they would be, ever be able to prosecute based on that last portion, on the diaphragm,” he said.
WEB EXTRA: Extended Interview With NYPD Chief Terence Monahan —
The chief of department also said he doesn’t want his cops to worry about that law when they’re making arrests.
“Legally, it’s not enforceable. My message to my cops is you go out there and you do what you do every single day. You make arrests, don’t let this weigh on your mind as you’re doing your job. If you know what you’re doing right, you’ll be fine,” Monahan said.
The brouhaha is coming as gun violence and gun crimes continue to mount amid calls for the NYPD to reinstate the anti-crime units.
The mayor has said he’s working with the NYPD on a new strategy to get the guns off the streets. Who knows, with all the gun crimes going on, he might even do it tomorrow.