NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After weeks of being caught in the crosshairs of surging gun violence, protests and new laws to rein in the NYPD, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea offered a stinging rebuke Monday to city leaders who, he says, have no idea what it takes to keep the city safe.
His blue blood boiled over, CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer reported.
“I don’t know that there’s ever been a period exactly like this, where so many systems of government are literally cowards and won’t stand up for what’s right. They’re failing at every possible measure to be leaders,” Shea said. “How dare they. How dare they.”
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It was unclear whether the “cowards” Shea was referring to were members of the City Council, who passed tough anti-cop legislation including a controversial chokehold ban, or his boss Mayor Bill de Blasio, who signed the bills into law with much fanfare. But what was clear was the top cop’s total disdain for the steps taken.
“People that don’t have a clue about how to keep New Yorkers safe suddenly think they know about policing,” Shea said. “They don’t have a goddamn clue what they’re talking about.”
The police commissioner’s remarks came at a meeting with his top commanders.
“They have screwed this city up so much in a short period of time. It’s going to take us time to get our arms around it,” Shea said.
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Mayor de Blasio was clearly not happy.
“That language wasn’t constructive. I don’t think it’s helpful,” de Blasio said. “I’ve understood it was important for him to express some of those concerns, but now it’s time to move forward.”
The new chokehold bill is one of the things the police commissioner is upset about. In addition to barring chokeholds, it prevents cops from sitting, kneeling or standing on a suspect’s back or stomach — the diaphragm.
The bill was introduced by Queens Councilman Rory Lancman, who was front and center at last week’s bill signing.
“I have never seen in my life a police commissioner, or any head of a government agency, be so disrespectful to the rule of law, to democratic elected officials who make those laws, but in particular to their boss, his boss, the mayor,” Lancman said.
And even though he’s upset, the police commissioner said he intends to stay in the job.
“You’re stuck with me for a while,” he said.
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One person who does know a thing or two about policing is Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain who spent two decades on the force.
“I believe that there are some officers, not all, but there are some officers who have made the determination out of their anger over City Council action or legislative action or even some of the protests that they’re not going to carry out their professional responsibilities and that’s not acceptable,” Adams said.
Last week, the NYPD reported shootings were up 220% city-wide compared to the same week last year, with 854 shooting victims so far this year compared to 481 victims by this time last year.
Despite the rise in crime, NYPD numbers show arrests for the past four weeks were down nearly 36% compared to the same period last year. Adams has now sent a letter to Commissioner Shea requesting an analysis of 911 response times to determine if an unofficial slowdown is taking place.
“With the law in place, officers can still do their job and protect themselves, and protect the public at the same time,” Adams said.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman asked the NYPD about concerns of a slowdown. A police spokesman referred her to remarks by the commissioner Monday, in which he said he does not think a slowdown is happening, adding cops are still rushing towards danger making gun arrests, but not in as large of numbers.