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Don't Count on Bill

July 24, 2017

If there is a lesson Police Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill should have learned in his 10 months in office, it is that he can‘t count on Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialYes, de Blasio has come a long way since his disastrous first year in office that culminated in the assassinations of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn, followed by officers turning their backs on the mayor at their funerals. And yes, the mayor has provided funds to add nearly 1,300 officers to the NYPD and promised to equip police vehicles with bullet-proof glass — which could have prevented the assassination of Bronx Officer Miosotis Familia, who was sitting in her RV-like command post when she was fatally shot through a window earlier this month.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittBut key incidents in the past 10 months reveal that the mayor doesn’t always have O’Neill’s back.

Incident No. 1 occurred just a month after O’Neill was sworn in. After the fatal police shooting of Deborah Danner, an emotionally disturbed black woman in the Bronx, and before the department’s investigation was completed, O’Neill issued a plaintive cry: “We failed. … We were called to that apartment to help someone [and] we ended up killing her.”

What O’Neill didn’t count on was that a few hours later the mayor would ramp up his words to make a political statement, exacerbating anti-police sentiment and jeopardizing O’Neill’s relations with the rank-and-file.

“It’s quite clear that our officers are supposed to use deadly force only when faced with a dire situation and it is very hard for any of us to see that that standard was met here,” said the mayor, shortly after O’Neill spoke. “The Commissioner made this very clear earlier this morning. … Deborah Danner should be alive now. Period.”

Incident No. 2 involved the Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar López Rivera, whose FALN group was responsible for 146 bombings between 1974 and 1983 across the country. Among other casualties, the bombings cost a rookie NYPD cop his eye, killed four civilians at Fraunces Tavern and caused lifelong injuries to three cops at Police Plaza on New Year’s Eve, 1982.

López Rivera was a trainer in bombings and sabotage, setting up a series of safe houses and bomb factories across the country. After President Barack Obama commuted his 55-year sentence earlier this year, the mayor tweeted: “Thank you, POTUS for freeing Oscar López Rivera. Congratulations for all who fought for this day.”

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialNext came the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, whose organizers — including de Blasio senior aide Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, who is the parade’s chairwoman — decided to honor López Rivera. The mayor supported the idea. Only after politicians across the state, as well as O’Neill, bailed out of the parade, did the mayor change his stance. He insisted he had privately urged parade organizers to rescind the honor. 

Incident No. 3 came earlier this month after Familia’s assassination. While O'Neill, cops, and ordinary citizens held a vigil outside the 46th Precinct where Familia served, the Mayor winged off to the G-20 Summit to pursue his progressive agenda in Hamburg, Germany. He hadn't been invited to the summit. Rather, he went to give a speech to protestors.

His message to New York: the Hamburg protesters came first; O’Neill, the NYPD and the rest of us, second.

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