March 8, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Alright, I want to – before we go in to the crime statistics for the month I want to talk about the weather situation as you’ve all been seeing it keeps evolving. And at this moment we are still in a lot of parts of the city experiencing just rain or you know a little bit of sleet but nothing that has fully become snow in some parts of the city at least. Every part of the city as everyone knows experiences somewhat different realities. But the storm is certainly arriving later than some of the early projections we’ve had previously. We are tracking it very closely. The National Weather Service does have a winter weather warning in effect. That will be in effect until 4:00 am today.
So, here is what we know. We expect the storm to intensify between now and the early evening. We expect more wind right now, it’s not too windy but we do expect the winds to increase gusts as high as 35 to 45 miles per hour. Now, this one is going to be different than some of the other storms we’ve seen. Again, slow developing. When it gets going, we’ll see we think typically snow in the one-inch to two-inch an hour range. One inch an hour not too bad, when you get to two inches an hour and more it’s gets to be a much greater challenge particularly for the Sanitation Department and I want to say at the outset, they do an outstanding job, they’ve really been stars in these last storms clearing the streets. But you get over two inches an hour it gets harder and harder.
For the beginning we think it will be less than that. But then there will be a point later where we could experience a very intense burst of snow. This phrase says a lot ’thunder snow,’ and that could be between two and four inches per hour. Again, we could get that, we’re not sure obviously and it could be for a limited time, it could be for somewhat longer time. We do expect the main body of the snow to taper off between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm. The citywide projection has changed several times in the last 24 hours. Right now the broad citywide projection is in the 8 inches to 12 inches range.
Again, you’ll see a lot of difference depending on the part of the city. Generally more accumulation in the northern parts of the city, less in the southern parts of the city. The highest we’ve seen any projection at this point is 16 inches. Again, I think that’s a small chance we’ll see that anywhere. But there maybe a few parts of the city where we see that.
Right now again, the places that are going see more snow are Northern Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, less snow in Staten Island, Southern Queens, and Brooklyn.
Look, everyone is monitoring and make adjustments as we go along. The snow plows are out as the Commissioner will tell you. They would love to get to work but they can’t until there is a certain amount of snow on the ground. But the salting has been happening, that will continue.
Alternate side parking is cancelled today and tomorrow.
We have Code Blue in effect. The Sanitation Department again out in full force, 2,400 workers, 693 salt spreaders, 1,600 plows waiting to go into action. In terms of focal points, we are going to make sure there is extra focus by the Sanitation Department around our schools to make sure they’re getting a lot of attention as the end of the school day comes and obviously for schools that have after school, that will continue that will continue until after school is out. NYPD will also be focusing on schools to make sure they’re getting all the support they need in terms of directing traffic around the schools.
The Rockaway Ferry line is suspended as of 12:15 pm because of wind conditions. Staten Island Ferry is on a modified schedule as well. I want to now say to people even though this has started as less of storm than what we expected. Later on it’s going to be very intense potentially, particularly around the rush hour. So I want to urge all New Yorkers use common sense. If you can leave work early, and get home earlier please do if you have that option. If you have to travel, use mass transit. If you have to be on the roads during the typical rush hours go slow, be careful, because it could be again a very intense burst of snow right around that time. I want everyone to please check on your neighbors, check on senior citizens, check on folks that have any medical conditions. Make sure they get help if they need it. And for anyone who is dealing with a heat or hot water problem please call 3-1-1. It’s very important it gets reported right away so we could something about it.
Again, reminding everyone for something like heat and hot water call 3-1-1. For a real emergency, for a life threating emergency call 9-1-1. Bottom-line don’t take this for granted, take it seriously; take precautions especially in that late afternoon early evening time. Just a few words in Spanish, and then we’ll take questions on the storm and then we’ll go back to the rest of
the press conference.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that I want to take any questions on the weather situation – way back there.
Question: Given your – given the prediction for this burst of snow later and thunder and this and that, do you still stand by your decision to keep schools open given dismal around 3:00 pm-ish?
Mayor: Yeah, we have to make these decisions in real time. We had conversations yesterday afternoon – late yesterday after the 11:00 pm update from the National Weather Service. We talked this morning around 6:00 am or 6:30 am. We kept getting, bluntly, information that didn’t give us a consistent enough – I’m not saying this against the Weather Service, they’re doing a fine job. I’m saying the information we had didn’t point to a clear and consistent reason to shut down school.
We have to remember when we shut down school we create a lot of chain reaction. And I can speak as a parent, it’s a tremendous dislocation to parents. For a lot of parents, whether they are two parents who are working or a single parent who’s working, it creates a lot of challenges if the child can’t go to school. They don’t always have a good alternative for their child.
We knew kids could get to school safely. Obviously we’ve seen, you know, the storm developing late. We knew we would have them in good shape at school. Sanitation Commissioner and I checked in about what conditions would be like at the end of school. We felt confident about safety.
After school, want to urge all parents, you know, if you have your kids in after school and if you go to pick them up, if you can get there earlier or take some extra time to get there, please do. Obviously after schools, as per usual, will have personnel that stay as long as necessary to make sure every child is picked up.
But in the scheme of things when we balanced all the factors, yes, I think we made the right decision. We’re getting new information now but that decision has to be made at latest by early morning hours to reach parents in time. Okay, other questions on the storm. Yes, Mara?
Question: Mr. Mayor, are there any NYCHA apartments that currently are out of heat or hot water?
Mayor: We’ve got four developments. I’ll give you the update. And I want to again remind all public housing residents, if you’re having any problem with heat or hot water, call the customer care center. As you know we put some additional resources into speeding up response and those are in play now.
We have four buildings right now. Bushwick I and Bushwick II. We expect both at this moment to be fixed in the course of the day. Independence in Brooklyn also expected to be fixed in the course of the day. Beach 41st Street in Queens also expected to be fixed in the course of the day.
And two of those are hot water only problems at this moment. Two of them are heat.
Mayor: I don’t have that.
Mayor: You would ask that question. Okay. Bushwick I – you’re thorough – Bushwick I, hot water is out. And – excuse me – and Beach 41st hot water is out. From what I have here, Marcia, we don’t have a heat problem in either place. Again, we expect those both fixed today.
The two with heat problems are Bushwick II and Independence, both in Brooklyn.
Question: As you mentioned, depending on where you live in the city depends on how much snow you’ll get. So southern parts will see maybe just an inch but the northern part could get that eight to ten inches. Are you sending extra crews to northern Manhattan and north Bronx because even this past snow storm, people in the north Bronx complained that they didn’t get enough service in those areas.
Mayor: Yeah, Dean, I appreciate the question because you will remember before my time there was a lot controversy on this question and I was one of the people raising a critique about it as Public Advocate that the city has to be able to move resources around as needed.
I’ve seen this in previous storms particularly – remember we had the biggest blizzard in history during our term and I thought the Commissioner and her team did a great job moving assets around as needed. So, Commissioner, what are your plans for today?
Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Department of Sanitation: So, at this time because the forecast has been shifting, we are not anticipating one inch anywhere in the city at this point. We are anticipating eight to twelve citywide. So we have not at this point moved equipment but that will be dependent on whether or not the forecast changes again or whether or not we are seeing more significant issues in any part of the city and then we will adjust.
Question: [Inaudible] becomes 24 hours later and they’re still stuck or there’s ice or problems in their [inaudible] –
Commissioner Garcia: So, if there’s ever any problem you can call 3-1-1. We will not take complaints until we finish plowing and salting. But you should not – it will not be 24 hours –
Mayor: Right, I want to –
Commissioner Garcia: We do not anticipate that it will be 24 hours for us to complete this job but you should also definitely track what we are doing on PlowNYC. We will be clearing that map before the snow starts so that there isn’t any sense that you got salted earlier today and we didn’t come back.
We’re going to restart the clock once we really get to some plow-able depths.
Mayor: Let me add to this – the important thing here is to look at the timelines in previous situations. So, the worst storm ever was 27, 28 – what was it? Inches? Do you remember?
Commissioner Garcia: Oh, no, it was like 28.9 –
Mayor: 28.9 –
Commissioner Garcia: I would have to [inaudible] –
Mayor: So what we’re hearing here typically around the city eight to twelve inches, nothing to scoff at but this Commissioner had to deal with a 29-inch snow storm – the worst blizzard in New York City history. And the turnaround on that was unbelievable, how fast they were managing it especially on the main roads to get them open.
And that was before she had the new equipment for the smaller streets which she has an ample amount of now. She has more personnel. I think Commissioner Garcia and her team are doing extraordinary things. So if this remains true and mother nature can throw a curveball either way but if you’re talking eight to twelve inches in most parts of the city with this kind of personnel already out salting and moving and they have the whole overnight, they’re going to do a great job.
I don’t think you’re going to find many places that are snowed-in in the morning but we’ll be vigilant. Again, one thing people can do and I know if you already went to work and you brought your car, you may not have a lot of choices. If you do have a choice, get home early because the best thing we can do for our friends at the Sanitation Department is stay off the road if at all possible.
Other questions on the weather before we move on? Let’s see if there’s any other questions. Going once, going – yep?
Question: Mayor, I know you mentioned putting some extra resources for NYCHA and I saw yesterday that they were deploying a situation room. Can you give us just a sense of what the city has done to beef up its response to potential boiler and hot water outages?
Mayor: Yeah, the broad stroke is it’s more of a war-room approach and obviously having additional resources both in terms of personnel at their disposal and equipment is going to be very, very helpful. So, I’m very heartened that we’re starting they day with only two developments having a heat problem. That’s – I’d like them to be zero but only two is a good beginning.
I also would say in the scheme of things, this temperature dynamic is better than what we’ve seen in past storms. I mean I feel for the Commissioner and her team because some of those other blizzards they were dealing with zero or subzero temperatures and very, very intense winds. This one – the winds, not too, too bad. It will get worse later on but not too, too bad.
But the temperatures right now, you know, we’re hovering between 30 and 35 degrees. That’s actually very good for what they have – for everything, for the effectiveness of the salt but also in terms of all New Yorkers and their heat situation. Thank God it’s not bitter, bitter cold out like it was a couple months back.
Question: Any sense that the tides and the winds and the arrival of the storm could [inaudible] create any coastal flooding.
Mayor: I don’t know. Joe, have you heard on –
Commissioner Joseph Esposito, Office of Emergency Management: Yeah, just the localized flooding, nothing like last week. Last week was caused by the winds, the tides, and the moon. And we don’t have that equation this time around. So, you’ll have some minor flooding in those areas that normally flood but nothing like last week.
Mayor: Okay, last call on the weather. Okay, let’s turn to Commissioner O’Neill.
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: I think we’re going to change some seats first
Mayor: Okay last call on the weather. Okay let’s turn to Commissioner O’Neill.
Commissioner O’Neill: I think we are going to change some seats first.
Mayor: Okay, thank you Commissioner, thank you Commissioner.
Commissioner O’Neill: Thanks Steve – still morning, good morning everyone. Thanks for being here. You’ll hear from Mayor de Blasio again in a couple moments and then Dermot Shea will give you the February crime figures for you. Before I continue just want to a, Donovan Richards the Chair of the Public Safety Committee in the City Council is here with us this morning so Donovan, thanks for being here. Bob Boyce has a couple of cases he wants to talk about, I think he has two.
So the clock’s kind of winding down on Bob. I know he’s got one more press conference after this crime press conference. I just want to make sure I have as many opportunities as possible to get it right. So Bob and I came out of the same academy class in January, 1983. I think he’s done sometime in April. I just want to publically acknowledge all the great work that he has done for the city over those 35 years.
Wherever I go I talk about crime fighters, premier crime fighters in the United States and Bob is certainly one of them. We are going to miss him. Bob, thank you for everything. I’ll have another opportunity to do this again in April — hopefully this sets the stage for your farewell. It’s going to be, it’s going to be strange not having you here with these press conferences. Just making a great contribution and once again the work you did, you’ve been doing as Chief of Detectives I think is unparalleled. So thanks again Bob.
Chief of Detectives, Bob Boyce: Thank you sir, thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Is that sufficient? Was that good or?
Mayor: Yes I thought that was excellent.
If you are scoring at home.
Commissioner O’Neill: Just to get back to be serious just for a while here. This morning the NYPD is also thinking about the brave members of the police department in Clinton, Missouri. It’s a town of a little more than 9,000 residents and I think they have about 21 police officers.
Last night one of those police officers was shot and killed after responding to a 9-1-1 call with a woman screaming in the background. The man inside the home killed the 30-year-old officer and also shot and injured two of his fellow officers. And last August, just seven months ago, another Clinton police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop.
I’m sure that those brave officers just like every member of the NYPD we’ve lost over the years believed in the possibility of making this a safer world, believing in being something larger than themselves. Cops are just regular people who know that everything our government stands for starts with public safety. That’s why violence against the police and what represent is a dishonor to civilized society.
In fact about 2 o’clock this morning when much of the rest of New York City was sleeping, one of our uniformed Transit Bureau police officers was attacked inside the Columbus Circle subway station in Manhattan by a man who hopped a turnstile. Before he was handcuffed, the 35-year-old man was able to land a couple of blows to the officer’s face and also bit him on the thigh.
Our officer will be okay but it speaks to a larger issue, who knows what this guy’s motivation was but without a doubt, he saw us as the bad guys. Here we are in 2018 and as I said last July at the funeral of murdered Detective Miosotis Familia– there is unquestionably a creeping apathy among the public about the work and role of its dedicated police officers. I think of it this way and I’ve said this before, you don’t really notice the lights are on until they go out. If we do wrong we are vilified and if we do right, sometimes we are vilified also.
And I get it, when cops show up it’s not always good news – we write tickets, we make arrests, we have to notify people that their loved ones have been killed but there is little attention paid to the positive changes in policing in general. And in this police department in particular, no matter how effective they may be. Listen to these crime numbers today, think about how many lives have been saved already this year. About how many families have been kept intact over the last two years, five years, 20 years – police officers in New York City and across this country do fantastic things every single day for millions and millions of people.
When a whole group of people is demonized whether that group is defined by race, religion, or by occupation you get acts of hate committed, often against the very people who step forward and made a promise to protect the public. I’m not looking for sympathy, just understanding and the full and willful engagement of the public we serve. The civility of our society balances on a knife’s edge. And the 36,000 uniformed members of the NYPD are just regular people who made a selfless decision to help maintain that balance. And again as I did last July, I’m asking the public to make a commitment to support its police and to work with us. Commit to watching the backs to those you call when you are scared, those you call when you are in trouble. We know you need us and we certainly need you.
We won’t turn away from criticism. I never will. I’ve been a cop for 36 years and one of seven kids. I live on it, I thrive on it. Because we know that comes hand and hand with making the safest big city in America even safer. But we want all our neighborhoods to be safer places for our children, for our elderly, and for ourselves. Because no one knows what’s going on in a street or a block better than those who live and work there every day. Public safety is a shared responsibility, you must participate. That’s how our neighborhoods will keep just getting better. That’s how we are going to keep driving crime down and disorder. That’s how we are going to find our way forward together. That’s what New York policing is all about. Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: Very well said Commissioner and thank you very much. And I just want to offer my condolences as well to the people of Missouri and to the family of the officer lost. And I want to amplify something very important, the Commissioner said about all New Yorkers having the backs of our police officers. I think that is one of the most fundamental realities of neighborhood policing. It creates a real two way street and a very virtuous circle that our community residents know the police are there for them and our officers know the community is there for them as well. And that’s something we really need to keep building. That’s why neighborhood policing is working. We are going to be talking about what happened in the month of February, 2018 and I’m very, very proud to report that all the good people around me and all the men and women of the NYPD have once again achieved something great.
But the fact is that neighborhood policing is changing the dynamics and the environment and causing more and more understanding of that common humanity. When someone puts on that uniform to protect us, they are a human being who made a very brave choice. And I think more and more the residents of our communities, of all communities are seeing that. So this my hope for the future of this city that we are one of the places that helps to light that beacon of mutual understanding and cooperation between police and community and I certainly think we are off to a strong start.
I want to thank the Commissioner. I want to thank First Deputy Commissioner Tucker and Chief Monahan, the whole leadership team for all they do. I want to thank Chair Donovan Richards for being here. Thank you for your crucial partnership.
I want to also begin the cavalcade of accolades for Bob Boyce. This man is a human computer. I don’t know how he does what he does. I watch him get up there every time with these extraordinary facts, the absolute command of a wealth of information. And I have to imagine a lot of New Yorkers respond as I do and it makes them feel a lot of confidence when they hear that command of the facts and that incredible devotion to getting to the truth and finding the perpetrators in each and every case. And Bob, your batting average has been pretty amazing.
Chief Boyce: Thank you sir.
Mayor: So this guy has done a lot for the City of New York and he’s going to be sorely missed and you’ve set the bar very, very high. So don’t blush because we will be doing this a lot in the next weeks.
I just want to say quickly, I’ve said that we are living in a very special moment. When you are in the middle of a special moment sometimes it is hard to see it. But I think we can all agree that what happened in 2017 was unprecedented and the numbers – under 300 murders, under 800 shootings just changed everything – safest year in modern history of this city.
I have used different comparisons to get the point across but here’s a new one today and as baseball season is almost upon us I’m going to speak about a New York City team that I feel very good about. And you’ll appreciate it because if you look back in history to the last time the city was this safe and the last time we had this few homicides rookie center fielder Willie Mays was patrolling the field at the Polo Grounds for the New York Giants to put into prospective again how much the NYPD has achieved and how historic this achievement is.
So in February of 2018 the NYPD working with community partners added to this record of achievement. Now let me compare February this year to February last year – again last year the record setting year but the NYPD is proving that they can go farther.
So total crime down 1.6 percent, shootings down 7.5 percent, again this is a February to February comparison – murders down 41 percent, this February compared to last February. Remarkable numbers.
When Chief Monahan made the point the day he was formally promoted and he said we are inventing a new type of policing I think that is really important to recognize this working because a whole host of elements have been brought together and they are having an impact that we have never seen before. And I always talk about the force projection that is created when you get hundreds of thousands of people who previously didn’t necessarily feel the right connection to NYPD now are feeling that better connection to be on the side of our officers and help them in their work, it makes a huge, huge difference.
So, the other thing I want to emphasize before we hear the details – you know we talked a lot about the reduction in stop and frisk and the same time reduction in crime, I think we need to talk more about the fact that the reduction in crime has been accompanied by a reduction in arrests. I’ve said to you 100,000 fewer – that’s the year 2017, 100,000 fewer arrests than in the year 2013 with much better results. Well that goes on now, the month of February 2018 – 6.2 percent fewer arrests than February a year ago and crime keeps going down. So something is being proven here. And it’s saving lives, it is keeping people safe, it’s keeping officers safe at the same time. A few words in Spanish.
[The Mayor speaks in Spanish]
Chief of Crime Control Strategies, Dermot Shea: Thank you Mr. Mayor, good afternoon everyone. So I will run through some of the numbers and as the commissioner and Mayor said, you see the evolution policing in New York City here, as the numbers, the crime numbers continue to go down and we continue to refine how we police this city.
For the month of February, murders recorded in New York City was 14 down from 22. That’s a 36 percent reduction. Rape, and there are some statistics that are going in the opposite direction, and rape is one of them. Rape, we recorded 122 rapes vs. 88 for the prior February, that’s 39 percent increase.
If you’ve been coming to these press conferences, this is a story that has unfortunately has been told several months in a row. That’s the sixth straight month, beginning in September, we had increase of less than ten rapes. Once we hit October, we’re seeing sizable increases. When you look at the rapes year to date in New York City, 38 percent are recorded as domestic rapes. Acquaintance rapes are 56 percent. And then the remaining are stranger rapes.
Robberies, 5.6 percent reduction in the month of February, 930 vs. 985. Felonious assaults were down nearly two percent, 1,342 vs. 1,367. Burglaries were down over seven percent, 833 vs. 899. Grand larceny is the second category were we saw an increase, although much smaller than rapes. We had a two percent increase in the grand larcenies for the month of February, we are down for the year to date.
A couple categories that we have not spoken about before, certainly at these press conferences with grand larcenies, things like shoplifting, breaking into vehicles, and reproduced checks, three categories that were really driving the increase in that one month. Shoplifting, 24 percent increase, and that’s grand larceny shoplifting, and we’re seeing an increase in misdemeanor shoplifting as well.
What’s in common in these three things? We’re seeing gangs move into those three categories and it’s not something that ordinarily you were attribute to gangs, but we are seeing in addition to people sometimes breaking into cars to feed a drug habit, we’re seeing people break – going around the City, and outside the City, and going to stores in organized theft rings. So reproduced checks, cars, and the shoplifting, three things that we’re going to continue to work on.
Stolen vehicles down 12 percent in February, that number is just falling off the cliff as we move on, 348 vs. 397. The total index crime as the Mayor said for the month February is down nearly two percent, 1.6 percent, that was as I look across and I see Ed Delatorre in transit, transit crime doing well, down, Jimmy Secreto over there, housing crime down as well, so a lot of positives.
Shooting incidents for the month of February, 37 recorded, that’s down from 40 last February, 7.5 percent reduction. So where are we, two months, as we’re coming out of winter? Down overall crime New York City, 4.5 percent, we’re down two shooting incidents as of February 28th, a reduction of 22 percent. That’s a typo. That’s not right as I look at my numbers. I wish it was 22 percent, but we have a goal to reach, it’s a reduction of two, and it’s 96 vs. 98. And we’re down 12 homicides through the first two months of the year, reduction 34 vs. 46, and that’s a 26 percent reduction.
As we’ve said before, and the Mayor alluded to it, it’s not in vacuum, these crime statistics, we’re at a now 25 year low in arrests. We are down over 4,000 arrests just this year, we’re down 7.6 percent, as of today, in arrests. Nearly eight percent in arrests this year, and that’s coming under 300,000 last year which was a staggering number.
When you look at certain types of arrests, and the one that we first and foremost mention is the gun arrests that are coming in. We’re basically flatten gun arrests this year. But I can tell you firsthand the Commissioner mentioned an arrest where an officer was injured to start the meeting, numerous arrests everyday being affected by the men and women of the New York City Police Departments, both in uniform and the Detective Bureau, taking guns of the street, and it continues to be priority as we sharpen the focus, keep pushing where appropriate arrests down, and continue to drive down crime.
Commissioner O’Neill: Bob, you got couple cases you want talk about?
Chief Boyce: We do, good afternoon everybody, I’m here to identify two persons wanted for crimes in New York City, we’re seeking the public’s help in locating them. First one is a homicide in the 4-9 Precinct, can you put up his picture Brian? This person Paul Corporan, a.k.a. Paul Santana, at the night of February 15th at about 2 o’clock – I’m sorry, about 10 o’clock at night, he stabbed to death Moises Palacios at 2300 Bronx Park East, this was a dispute over a work related problem the two had. We’re seeking him now, he has no prior arrests, that’s why you have that picture there, we’re looking for him, we’ve been looking for several weeks now. So he stabbed someone to death in the Bronx, anybody with any information please call the tips number.
We also have – the next one please? This individual, I think we put this out yesterday, he punched someone rather brutally – punched someone I should say – on the number 1 Train, and we put this out to the media. Crime Stoppers again, we got a tip on, we’re able to identify Jose [inaudible], a.k.a. Golden Boy, he’s a 24-year-old male, he lives in Queens, New York, he has 15 prior arrests, we’re looking to arrest him for that crime for punching that person. Apparently unprovoked, perhaps a stare or something like that, we won’t know until we arrest him. The victim of this cannot tell us exactly what he did wrong, he said all of the sudden I was attacked. So we’re looking for this man – he has - bad guy - he is indicted for a gun case in Brooklyn, so we’re seeking him now. Anybody has any information, if you see him, please call 9-1-1, if you know where he is, please call the tips number. Thanks so much.
Commissioner O’Neill: Is that it Bob? Okay, questions about crime? Tony?
Question: For Chief Boyce – sorry for Chief Shae rather, you mentioned – you talked about the rape figures of the increase you’re seeing from year to year, month to month I suppose, if you’re given anymore thought as to whether – this is a two part question – anymore thought to whether the increase we’re seeing and the complaints that are coming to your attention been sparked by the very popular thing in the press about Harvey Weinstein and all those other related cases? Also, in terms of the investigation of the rapes that [inaudible] are seeing, what proportion are coming in as unfounded?
Chief Shae: I’ll start with the first part, so, six months in a row now, I believe that’s beginning in September, and again September was near even, but it was up, and any increase is not good. Once we hit October, and that seems coincide with the increased media attention for a variety of issues, with movements that are going, that would lend itself to me, I’ve said before, I think it makes sense that the increase has at least partly to do to that. I think that when we speak to advocates, and I think we have as recently as this week, some that’s viewed as a good thing, the fact people are coming forward now, getting their voice, making the reports.
I’m of the opinion that these incidents were happening before, it’s just not reported, very difficult to quantify that. But that is my belief. So when you look at the increase, it’s that last quarter, just before the last quarter last year, and it’s not – it’s not a insignificant increase. Double digit increase is essentially month over month, which brings us to where we are now. When you look at the numbers, I can go on and on with the statistics, I mean when you look at the month of February alone, I think it was 33 percent that were occurring outside of this year. That’s way off the charts what we normally see.
I usually quote the number about 20 percent of the rapes occur outside of the current year. Last year it was about 17, 18 percent, a little low, but that number moves. When we see a month with 33 percent of the rapes, and within that, we’re getting a double digit number that are being reported over five years old. So everything seems to point towards more people coming forward, and until I have anything to hold onto disputing that, that seems to be what’s occurring to me.
Second part of the question, when you refer to the “unfounded” rapes, I don’t have numbers in front of me, but it is a small – it is a small percentage of the overall rapes, and once we have an unfounded rape, then it will come off- it will come off the books. So any numbers I’m quoting you today would not be in that category.
Commissioner O’Neill: Tom?
Question: In regards to transit crimes, particularly public lewdness cases, either you or maybe Chief Delatorre can comment, we’re seeing an increase in those cases from year to year and we’re just wondering what – how that is qualified, and also if recidivists are a part of that situation?
Chief Shea: So when you look at 2017, and I’ll go more recent 2018 for the first two months of this year, I said transit crime is down this year. And some good news on the sex-crime related, although we have much more work to do in terms of the transit, when you look at the transit misdemeanor sex crimes, they are actually down this year. When you mention public lewdness as one of those crimes in transit that is down for the first two months of this year, but let me be very clear down is not good when you still have x number. There is still much work to be done, and what we continue to see in transit in particular recidivism definitely plagues the transit system.
And there’s some work underway – Eddie Delatorre, the detectives assigned to the transit squad identifying recidivists and what can be done to keep predatory individuals that continue to come on – whether it’s pickpockets, whether in this case it’s transit sex crimes, or whether it’s somebody cutting pockets of sleeping passengers – those three individual unique crimes to the transit system really plague the riders of the transit system, and we’re going to continue to look to see any and all methods that we can explore to keep the riders safe. But when you talk about transit crime in particular you’re stilling talking about millions of riders with a very small amount of crime occurring on any individual day.
Question: Are arrests up this year and how –
Chief Shea: That we’ll have to get back to you. I don’t have that in front of me right now.
Commissioner O’Neill: Gloria?
Question: I have a question about the – following up on those City Council hearings last month about marijuana arrests. We looked at some of the data to follow up on what you had said that because – the reason there are more arrests in communities of color is because that’s where the complaints are coming from. But the data we looked at did not bear that out. For example, we looked at East Harlem last year – there were 304 complaints to 3-1-1 and only 683 arrests. In the Upper East Side there were 123 complaints but only 63 arrests. So I just wanted to get your response to that and see if there’s any other information the department is looking or will be providing on this?
Chief Shea: So the first part, what I said at the city council was that when you look at the marijuana arrests that are effected in New York City, and let me just – a little history here to have the full scope – 2011 we peaked with the number of marijuana arrests that the New York City Police Department effected, over 51,000 in 2011. In 2013, that number dropped to 29,000, and I’m rounding. In 2017, it was under 18,000.
When you look at those three times periods from 2011 to 2017 we’ve dropped 65 percent for a variety of reasons. When you look just the last four years from 2013 to 2017, it’s a 35 percent reduction. So we are already as we do it in any other crime occurring in New York City we evaluate what is occurring, how it affects the public, how it affects our resources at the time, of course that can’t be ignored, and how it fits into the overall crime picture of New York City. So we have already significantly adapted our response.
Now to the follow up on that at the City Council hearing. I talked about the top 15, and this is what was missing in some of the articles that were published - the top 15 precincts when you look at precincts where these arrests are effected, and then you overlay that with the top 15 commands for complaints – and here’s the piece that was missing – it matched up or with significant spikes in complaints.
You mentioned East Harlem, 2-5 Precinct I’ll mention, and there is always some outliers. When you look at the 2-5 Precinct and you look at 9-1-1 calls in 2013 – 302, I think that was in the article – and you look four years ahead to 2017, it’s now at 402, an increase of 33 percent, significant increase. When you look at the 2-5 that does not fall into the top 15 commands for calls, but it is a significant increase in calls nonetheless that we will and continue to address.
I am very comfortable with our enforcement actions to date, and that’s not to say it is not constantly something that’s under review. And like other crimes and other resources that we expend, we are always looking to get smarter, more efficient, and fairer quite frankly.
But the calls cannot be ignored at the same time, so when you look at 3-1-1 – and I went over this, it is not a simple task to pull out some of the statistics – when you look at 3-1-1 and 9-1-1 calls regarding marijuana or weed or any of the other variety of ways that those calls come over, there is no getting around the fact that we are seeing an increase, and we have an increase in both 3-1-1 and 9-1-1 calls, that coincides with an increase – a decrease – in the arrest enforcement. And how we balance that is the key.
So I’m looking at Rodney Harrison on the patrol side with neighborhood policing. I think we are doing a very good job of balancing our enforcement efforts and managing the overall crime picture of New York City. But we also have to be responsive to people who are calling. I can tell you that since that City Council hearing I have received personal e-mails from people in parts of the city saying ‘thank you for what you said.’ So that’s another side that’s not often heard.
Just this week we had five people arrested with guns at the same time marijuana came into play, so all of this is something that we look at. We are never done. We are not done pushing crime down. We are not done evaluating our enforcement efforts. But right now I’ll say that I am – you know, I am comfortable in the statements of that day, and in terms of some of the published reports were missing the spike piece. Our arrests line up with where the complaints are coming in or conditions that are being reported to us that need to be addressed.
Mayor: So Gloria, I just wanted to jump in. You’re certainly going to – I mean I think it’s important to look precinct by precinct – you’ll certainly see some variations. Some where the level of arrests is very consistent with the number of calls, some where there is variation, and you’ll see that change over time, too.
But I want to get to what I think are the core issues here – first, equity. Unquestionably, anyone who says we want to make sure that the arrests are handled the same in communities of all different backgrounds, they’re absolutely right. That is the vision of this department and this administration, and we’re going to keep driving that vision.
But the big picture also is the reduction of arrests. This whole discussion, very fair discussion has to be looked at – in my view – against the backdrop where arrest levels overall are steadily declining, and as Dermot said arrest levels for marijuana possession are down substantially in the last four years. Look at the average per year in the Giuliani administration, in the Bloomberg administration – clearly this is a sustained trend where we have brought those numbers down a lot compared to the previous 20 years, and we’ll keep doing that.
So I think what’s happening now is very much moving in the right direction. I also want to remind you that the complaints are one of the ways that the activity is generated, but with neighborhood policing – to pick up on Dermot’s point – if people are telling their neighborhood policing officer about something they’d like followed up on. Not calling 3-1-1, but actually going directly to the officer they have a personal relationship with, that’s a different way of getting that information and acting on it. And I think that’s happening more and more, I think that’s very healthy.
Question: Follow up – there’s a – Congressman Crowley sponsoring a bill called the, it’s called the Federal Marijuana Act, and it would legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge federal convictions for marijuana use or possession. I ‘m wondering if you would be in support of something like that or if you just comment on the Congressman’s sponsoring of this bill.
Mayor: I’m going to start for all of us and say I haven’t seen that bill, and so I don’t want to comment on any bill I haven’t seen. I think the world of Joe Crowley, I think he’s a great leader, but I have not seen the bill.
Commissioner O’Neill: Any more crime related questions? Tina?
Question: What do the investigators think caused the crash in Park Slope? [Inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, so there’s no more questions related to the February crime stats? Alright, Tina – Tom Chan?
NYPD Chief of Transportation, Thomas Chan: March the 5th, approximately 1240 hours in the afternoon, in the confines of the 78th Precinct we had a vehicle that was stopped at a red light, a red signal light, going westbound on Ninth Street at the intersection of the Fifth Avenue. Apparently the motor vehicle operator suffered a medical episode. Vehicle number one then proceeded through the intersection, through the red signal, and subsequently struck several pedestrians crossing at that particular intersection on Ninth Street, continued westbound on Ninth Street for approximately over 300-something feet, crossing over into the eastbound lane of travel, striking parked vehicles at that location. The pedestrians certainly were removed to the hospital, and two of them were pronounced dead the scene. The other two resulted in non-life threatening injuries.
And first and foremost I’d like to say that we want to extend our condolences to the Blumenstein and also the Lew family. Any life lost in a traffic fatality is bad, but our children are our most valuable treasures in our lives, and to lose these two children I think that all New Yorkers feel for these particular families. At this particular time, we’ve worked very closely with the Brooklyn DA’s office. They were on the scene working.
Question: [Inaudible] review the medical records. Has anything come out that would indicate that a doctor or any other medical professional had told her she should not be driving or cannot drive?
Chief Chan: That’s too early, and, again, we ascertained the warrants just the other day, so we’re in the process of getting these particular medical records.
Question: [Inaudible] that you’re aware of?
Chief Chan: I’m not going to comment on the very specifics on her medical condition.
Commissioner O’Neill: John?
Question: Chief, as far as her former driving record, I know she’s been cited for red light cameras and speed cameras, but did she have any contact with police officers in live - issue tickets while she was driving?
Chief Chan: We have – as indicated, there are four instances where she received – on the vehicle itself, received red light summonses – three in Brooklyn and one in Queens. There are also four summonses that were issued for speeding in a school zone. That was in Staten Island – one; Queens – one; and Brooklyn – two. But again, through those programs in terms of issuing summonses, the summonses are going to go to the specific owner of the vehicle and not necessarily the operator of the vehicle.
Question: Any tickets issued by police contact? She doesn’t have any tickets issued by the P-D itself?
Chief Chan: There were some parking summonses that were issued to the vehicle itself, but we do not have any independent summonses.
Question: Chief, you said at the beginning, I think, of that brief, that an apparent medical – she had an apparent medical – what’s the evidence of that? That she had an apparent medical episode.
Chief Chan: We have independent witnesses, and, also, currently, the individual has been admitted to the hospital. She’s currently in the hospital and it was a result of some type of medical condition, which we’re in the process of verifying from her medical records.
Question: And she’s been speaking? She’s spoken to NYPD representatives –
Chief Chan: She has spoken to some of our investigators on the scene and also at the hospital.
Question: Mayor, on the topic of police discipline and transparency, I know you’ve said in the past that the City won’t be able to divulge any more information about the subjects until 50a is changed in Albany. I guess, I want to make sure that you still feel that way. And also, I wanted to ask, you know, we’re well into the legislative session, the negotiations over the budget, which often include large issues like this, are underway. What have you done to lobby for the change in 50a you say you want in Albany?
Mayor: My team and I have raised it repeatedly in Albany, including at my budget testimony, and in private conversations with a number of legislators, a number of leaders in Albany. You know, we’ve been talking about this now intensely, publicly for the last year or more. There’s no one in Albany that doesn’t know this issue is on the front burner, and if they pretend they’ve not heard about it, they’re not telling you the truth.
It’s time to decide. And let’s face it, there’s been a power dynamic in Albany where this disclosure has not been politically acceptable and it’s often been Democrats and Republicans both because of where their political support comes from. So, I think we need to get real about this. This disclosure is something that the public is demanding, and they have a right to. In the meantime, within the law – we’ll disclose anything appropriate within the law.
Question: Can you give me a sense of – I mean, you’ve publicly supported this, Governor Cuomo has said that he supports releasing these records. Is the holdup in the legislature? And do you see any chance of it getting through this year? Are you trying to work around some of those political realities?
Mayor: We’re always trying, and I’d like to believe that justice will be served. This should be a non-partisan issue. This should be an issue that doesn’t matter what part of the state you come from. When you hear people like Jimmy O’Neill, and Bill Bratton before him, saying they want this, I don’t know what else there is to ask. These are the greatest police leaders in America, what else do you need to know?
So, if it is political, we’ll still fight for the change, and I would hope a lot of folks who care deeply about police community relations would speak up in these next weeks leading up to the budget, and then all through the rest of the legislative session into June.
I mean, if you’re out there, if you’re an activist, if you’re a community resident, if you’re an editorial board and you care about this issue, you better speak up because otherwise some people in Albany would love to look the other way. So, we’re going to fight for it this year, and if we don’t succeed I suspect there are going to be some real changes in Albany after this election and there may be another opportunity after that.
Commissioner O’Neill: Just want to jump in for a second – and I’ve gone on record saying that I’m definitely in favor of changes to 50a, and it’s important. Any time I speak about crime in this city, I speak about neighborhood policing, I speak about trust, and I think this is an issue of trust. People have to – our disciplinary system has to become more transparent. Obviously, not totally transparent, there are some safety issues here – you know, police officers home addresses and contact information – that has to be, obviously, not released. But, you know, this – 50a is causing problems for the NYPD. It’s not helping us move forward in certain areas.
There’s many things we do well in the NYPD – we fight crime well, neighborhood policing is going well. Letting people know about our internal disciplinary process, that’s not something we do very well at all. You know, if you read the newspaper, or if you watched TV, you would think that police officers – NYPD officers – there’s no discipline. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Since 2014, there have been 362 officers that have either been terminated or left with disciplinary proceedings pending. You know, 199 of them were forced out or terminated, and 163 resigned with discipline pending.
So, discipline could be anything from a verbal reprimand from the sergeant, to a supervisor complaint report, a command discipline, it could be charges and specs, it could be charges and specs plus dismissal probation. In some instances, unfortunately, it’s dismissal from the department.
A lot of time and effort is put into training our police officers, and some people – and there’s 36,000 cops, and we recruit from the human race, some of those 36,000 do not deserve to wear a shield – the NYPD shield and the uniform. And we do our best to make sure that they are terminated from the Police Department so we can move forward and continuing to keep this great city safe.
Question: Following up on that, obviously, there was a report this week about officers between 2011 and 2015 who possibly committed offenses or crimes – that they should have been fired, but they were just on probation. Your reaction to that? When they list the officers that sexually assaulted people, or touched people, sold drugs –
Commissioner O’Neill: Dean, I saw the article, and, as I said in my opening statement, you know, we are open to criticism. That is part of who we are. I have no issue with that. But I think the full story needs to be told. I mean, each and every one of those cases is fully investigated. A punishment is doled out. It’s not just dismissal probation. If you’re in dismissal probation, that’s part and parcel of another punishment that’s usually 30, 60, 90 days. And transfer that 30, 60, 90 days to a dollar amount. You’re talking $15,000, $30,000, $60,000.
So, this is – dismissal probation is part of the process. If we see in a police officer that there’s the opportunity to get them back on the right track – understand that dismissal probation – if you’re on dismissal probation, now, you can be fired without process. And we have terminated 16 police officers since ’14 that have been on dismissal probation. Another eight have been vested out, forced out.
So, this is something that we take extremely seriously. Disciplining NYPD officers, is part of my responsibilities, and it’s certainly – we do it effectively and we need to be more transparent about it. I couldn’t agree with you more.
Mayor: One point on this – Dean, give me the dates on that recent information that came out, please.
Question: It says 2011 to 2015 that the organization was able to get records –
Mayor: Okay. I haven’t seen it, but let me speak to the obvious. So, 2011, 2012, 2013 – the organization was under different management. First, when Bill Bratton came in, and then when Jimmy O’Neill took over, I think you need to judge by their leadership, which has been resolute and fair throughout. And I’ve been in the discussions where I’ve heard each of them speak about the decisions they made and why they made them. I think they call them as they see them. I can’t speak to what happened before us. But I think it’s quite clear they take discipline very, very seriously.
Question: Commissioner, just to follow up on that, after reading that Buzzfeed report, and knowing what you do in the department, you feel like no changes need to be made? Your current practices remove the officers that deserve to be removed from the force, and there’s nothing from that report that said to you we might need to do anything different?
Commissioner O’Neill: When I read the report, it said to me – make sure – and I do, I’m involved in all of these disciplinary cases and I know how important it is to make sure that we look at each and every one of them and make sure that whatever punishment is given, it’s fair and it’s consistent with what we’ve done in the past. So, there’s always something to learn.
Question: Chief Boyce, about three weeks ago there was a homicide in Queens – a young man who’s – had video of him walking with two other people, coming in and out of the frame. There was some talk about MS-13 involvement in that.
Chief Boyce: Yeah, you’re talking about the homicide of Oscar Hernandez. It happened in 1-0-7 Precinct. So, there were four people in the car with him. Three are in custody now. We’re looking for one more person.
So, we’re working to get a conspiracy case. It appears to be gang-related at this point, and we’ll go forward with that case. So, three are in custody on other issues. There was a homicide upstate – that one person is arrested for CPW outside of New York City. And also, some people – two people in Jersey were arrested.
So, we’re putting that case together as we speak right now. But what needs to get out is – out of the four persons we want to talk to in that car, three are in custody now. We’re looking for one more person. So, I’m not at liberty right now to say who they are. But that case is moving very quickly towards fruition. We’re going to make those arrests very soon.
Question: Just wanted to get the Mayor to clarify what you said where you’d like to talk about changes to the law regarding the Brooklyn crash. Is that to prevent people like this from getting behind the wheel? Or to ensure that there’s punishment after the fact?
Mayor: Yoav, all of the above. Again, I’m going to come back next week with some very specific ideas, but I see a bunch of problems here. So first of all, if, God forbid, you have some kind of impairment, you shouldn’t be driving. So, where’s the actual penalty? Where’s the actual consequence if you go ahead and drive anyway? I’m not trying to be negative to someone who has something beyond their control, but maybe you shouldn’t be driving a vehicle if you have that situation. Or, at least, there has to be a clear standard of what you have to do to report it and what action needs to be taken once you report it, and if you don’t report what happens to you. I don’t think that’s the case right now.
I think a second question is – if we’re getting all of this information off the speed cameras, what can we do with it? Granted, as the Commissioner explained to me yesterday, you know, getting a car on a speed camera is not proof positive of who’s driving the car. But, if you get a car, and this is what my constituents in Park Slope were saying – they were outraged, and I agree with them. If you’ve got a car with this many speeding tickets, this many times going through a stop sign, and we have that information, we need to be empowered to follow up on that.
Now, right now, to the best of my understanding, and, again, I am not a lawyer, but I don’t think the Commissioner and the men and women of the NYPD are given the right to follow up on that under the law. I think we need to give them that power.
And clearly the consequences for motorists who kill people – that’s an area where there’s been a lot of concern. The families who have lost loved ones have really been fighting for tougher consequences – I agree with them. People who get behind the wheel of a car need to understand they have a weapon in their hands. Whether they mean it to be a weapon or not, it can turn into a weapon, and they have to take that responsibility very, very seriously. And there’s too many people who don’t.
So, one of the ways we educate people in our society is to show them very, very serious consequences. For years and years, you know, drivers would kill another human being and it would be treated like – these things happen, no big deal. That’s disgusting to me.
So, one of the ideas behind Vision Zero was to create an atmosphere of consequence – whether it’s a speeding ticket, or a failure to yield ticket, or whether it’s a speed camera going off. But I think we have to teach people that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. And if you might not be able to drive a car and you might kill another human being by accident, don’t get behind the wheel to begin with.
Question: Commissioner how many placards have been seized since the Mayor announced his crackdown of parking? And how many officers have been disciplined? I’m not asking about tickets, but internally in the Department?
Commissioner O’Neill: Tom, would you have that info? If not, we’re going to have to get back to you.
Chief Chan: I don’t have it at hand right now.
Commissioner O’Neill: We’ll get back to you. Yes sir?
Question: Thank you Commissioner. [Inaudible] Mr. Mayor you mentioned that since this current administration has [inaudible] process has been better and we asked the Department repeatedly for data to help us [inaudible] tell that story. Do you think that at a minimum the Department should releases some sort of anatomized data [inaudible]
Mayor: Within the law, yeah. But again, we have a law that we don’t agree with. I want to be really blunt about this. We, the City of New York – I, as Mayor; Jimmy O’Neill as Police Commissioner – we do not agree with our current state law. We believe we should be allowed more transparency. We believe the people would like that transparency. Within the law, we should provide the composite information that we can provide.
Mayor: I’ve said that about a thousand times. I think it should be – let’s let – the current law doesn’t work. So, again, I’m not a lawyer, so let me be careful about it. I don’t know every element of 50a, and there may be valid pieces. When we’ve talked about it, we’re talking about the fact that it does not allow the NYPD to released disciplinary action information – again, with the Commissioner’s very important point – with confidentiality considerations like detailed information about officers expunged.
But the fact that we cannot report to the people on the disciplinary action taken in the case of an individual officer, even though they’re seeing all the facts of the case on television, or in their newspapers, or online all day long – that’s untenable. So, I’m not a lawyer, I can’t speak to you about every article and every paragraph in 50a, but we want to the right to make disclosure. Period.
Question: Mr. Commissioner, anything to add to that?
Commissioner O’Neill: No, just either change whatever helps us become more transparent. But I do have to say again that we have to make sure that we maintain – there are some serious safety concerns also.
Question: So is your position that releasing that anatomized data will violate 50a?
Chief Boyce: We’re working on that right now. We don’t have a final decision on that.
Question: Commissioner, your mobile response teams of officers and [inaudible] currently approach [inaudible] people that are mentally ill in pre-crisis. They don’t respond directly to 9-1-1 calls. I’m wondering if you’d like to see them actually respond to –
Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, I’d definitely like to build up that capacity and to see them put into the queue, but we’d have to make sure that obviously we get the people from the Department of Mental Health and also make sure we have the right people within the department to do that too. So I’d like to see that in the queue and at some point have them responding to jobs but right now we don’t have that capacity. We’re looking to build on that capacity.
Question: And for Chief Boyce, Harvey Weinstein was mentioned earlier. I know in December you said that you had two detectives on the west coast looking in to that. What’s the status of that investigation?
Chief Boyce: We are still accumulating evidence. It’s going very, very well. We have a lot of information. We have people who were getting ready to go to a grand jury. I would ask you to talk to Cy Vance about that – DA Vance. It’s his case right now. We’ve accumulated quite a bit of evidence and I would ask you to ask him about his scheduled – where it goes forward.
Question: Any update on the, I guess alleged, robbery of a gas station this week where an off-duty officer shot and killed one person?
Commissioner O’Neill: Ben I don’t know if this is a force investigation. [Inaudible] update? Rodney?
Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison: Yes. Good afternoon. So, on March 5th around 10:30 pm at the corner of Remsen Avenue and Avenue D two individuals went inside the establishment – two perpetrators, both armed with firearms. While one individual went inside the attendant’s booth the other one stood outside. Ironically enough occupied by an off-duty member of the service. So while the individuals egress from the location the officer exited his vehicle, identified himself as a police officer. As the individuals turned he struck one of the individuals in the torso. The other individual fled – I want to say eastbound on Avenue D and we’re continuing the investigation at this time.
Question: Was he stuck in the front or the back?
Chief Harrison: The investigation is still pending regarding where he was stuck ma’am.
Question: I just had a quick question following up about the crash – the Brooklyn crash. The – is this a State thing that you’re going to have to be imposing in addition to all the other – in addition to your Albany agenda? And what you said about police officers not being able to go and enforce or talk to a person who has that amount of violations, what is about the law that’s keeping them right now from doing that?
Mayor: So, on the first part is it a state law, to the best of my knowledge so far everything we’d have to do is via state law. But we’ll look at that. As I’ll turn to the Commissioner I’m simply saying to the best of my understanding even when we have that kind of evidence of a pattern there’s not the kind of charge available to act on that evidence.
Commissioner O’Neill: Again, I’d ask Larry Byrne if he could enter this. This is – I think it’s going to be something we’re going to have to do through the State. Maybe a notification process if anyone has multiple camera summonses.
Mayor: Yes, I’m going to editorialize and say thank you for a thoughtful point that amongst interesting penalties is if someone repeatedly goes through stop signs and repeatedly speeds and is caught with evidence repeatedly doing it, the seizure of the car could be an appropriate penalty. So I’m a non-lawyer, but I want to be provocative on purpose. We’ve got to get serious about this stuff.
Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Lawrence Byrne: So as the Commissioner and the Mayor said when we intercept speeding or running red lights with camera it generally gives us the plate number but rarely gives us information to identify the driver of the vehicle. So we summons the owner of the vehicle.
As the Mayor said, with a particular pattern and prerequisites if the vehicle is a repeat, in effect recidivist violator either speeding in a school zone, running run lights, forfeiture of the vehicle is one penalty that could be incorporated into state law. Generally most of the traffic offenses involving vehicles are state law offenses. It’s not something the NYPD can change on its own, and I’m not even sure that it’s something the City Council could do. It needs to be addressed with the state legislature in Albany. But we’re going to look at different proposals that can put more teeth in that element of it.
Question: Does that mean that you can’t even as a police officer or detective go to that person’s house and say hey you’ve run 100 red lights and we have it on camera, we want to see what’s going on here.
Deputy Commissioner Byrne: You can investigate and ask questions all the time, it’s a rare instance where someone is going to say yes I was driving the car those four times when I speeded through the school zone if I don’t know that you were the one driving the car. There’s nothing that prevents us from trying to investigate, we just can’t take action without evidence that you were the person behind the wheel of the car the four times we got you speeding in the school zone.
Commissioner O’Neill: In the back row. Rich?
Question: Just one more. So Chief Chan said, I think, that some of the officers on scene talked to the individual who was behind the wheel and I wonder whether by observation they thought that there was any impairment there. I understand they’re doing bloods tests and all that sort of thing, but by observation did they sense that there was any impairment?
Chief Chan: Again it’s a matter that’s under investigation. And our police officers are not doctors and things of that nature, but we have some witnesses who were at the location who spotted the driver. And again, this is – until we confirm this with medical records there was an investigator that indicated that the individual might have been foaming at the mouth. But again, we are not doctors. We’re not going to make determinations. But there were observations by our officers. So, again we will bring that information to the DA and let them make that determination.
Mayor: Crime last call.
Question: Commissioner, since the TLC driver committed suicide outside the City Hall gate last month for about the last month there have been an additional four NYPD officers stationed there on each side of the gate. My understanding is typically when you change security after events it’s generally not for such a long period of time. So I’m just wondering kind of what the thinking is there? What the motivation for the extra security is?
Commissioner O’Neill: So this is a determination that is made by the intelligence bureau in conjunction with counterterrorism bureau, so I’m not going to speak exactly why we have additional officers there. That’s a determination that was made.
Question: Where there any specific threats made by – regarding City Hall?
Commissioner O’Neill: I’m not going to talk – I’m not going to comment on that. Colleen?
Question: This isn’t necessarily crime but its law enforcement so the –
Mayor: That qualifies.
Question: [inaudible] sue California over the sanctuary city laws. And I just wondered, some of the laws are similar City laws, I’m wondering if you are anticipating any kind of similar legal action? If you’re concerned how [inaudible]
Mayor: We are resolute. You know I reminded you guys that a week or two after the election of 2016 I sat in Trump Tower with President Trump and then Senator Sessions and I described how our law worked, how we had 170 major crimes, serious and violent crimes, where we cooperated with ICE and we did not cooperate otherwise. And I explained that this was based on the interests of public safety in New York City.
And I said to them, if you don’t want to talk to a democratic elected official about it go talk to Commissioner O’Neill, go talk to his predecessor Commissioner Bratton, they’ll explain to you why this has been part of keeping the people of New York City safe. That we’ve had this open door relationship between our police and our communities including all of our immigrant communities, including half a million people who are undocumented in this town.
We stand by that. And we believe everything we have done conforms with the Constitution. So, if they’re suing the State of California I believe the Justice Department will lose. I have a lot of respect for what they’re doing in California. And if they come our way, I believe they’ll lose as well.
Okay last call on police related.
Question: [Inaudible] news conferences for Steve Davis?
Commissioner O’Neill: It depends what happens in March
This I think is your last crime press briefing, right? And that’s not a smile on his face. Thank you for laughing Colleen.
Unknown: We’ll miss you.
Mayor: That was sweet. Steve – that’s the nicest thing he’s ever said about you.
Mayor: Beautifully done, beautifully done.
Diplomatic at all times. Okay other topics, yes David?
Question: So Cynthia Nixon has been a big supporter of yours, held fundraisers at both in your first go around and then the reelection –
Mayor: A lot of people leaving, let’s just give them a second. I’m sorry. You’ll get –
Question: We’re excited about this question.
Mayor: You’ll get first – I’m happy for you. Get Monahan out of here.
Question: Okay so Cynthia Nixon has been a major supporter of yours, a loyal supporter of yours for a long time. Her partner workers in City Hall for you –
Mayor: She works in the Department of Education.
Question: Well she works in City government –
Question: – so she’s often seen at City Hall. She –
Mayor: Many people are often seen at City Hall. Continue.
Question: This is true. The Governor suggested earlier today that you may have had some role in encouraging her to run. Did you or any of your staff have any conversations with either Cynthia Nixon or the consultants that are working with her about her running for governor?
Mayor: Let me be really clear about this. I have a long, wonderful relationship with Cynthia Nixon. I have tremendous respect for her. I got to know her as an education activist. She’s been one of the strongest voices in the state standing up for the rights of children all over the city, all over the state because she’s advocated for the campaign for fiscal equity which we’re still waiting – we’re still waiting for justice in the campaign for fiscal equity case and that’s over a decade ago it was decided by the highest court in New York State.
So that’s how I got to know her. I’ve gotten to know her better over the years. She’s extraordinary, and obviously in her career she’s achieved great things as well. She’s a strong, independent woman who makes her own decisions. So, this is something you’ll have to ask her what her choice is. Whatever she does it’s her own choice. It’s as simple as that. And I haven’t spoken to her in a while. I’m not going to go into any private conversations with a friend obviously. But, whatever she does she’s going to be a politically active person and she always has been.
Question: So that’s not a no.
Mayor: Again, I’m not going to talk about private conversations with a friend.
Question: Do you think that the Russians had any involvement?
Mayor: I think it’s very important you call Vladimir Putin directly to ask him.
Question: [Inaudible] ever endorse her candidacy?
Mayor: I’ve said to you guys before, I’m not going to get into the 2018 state elections just now. At some point I’ll speak to them. But I’m not going to talk to them now.
Question: It seems like you spoke to them very briefly at least with Nomiki Konst who spoke to you recently. Do you think the Governor should face some kind of primary challenge?
Mayor: Look, I think something’s happening all over the country that we should pay attention to. Democrats are rising up and progressives are rising up and they want change. This is a national phenomenon. The erstwhile New York Times newspaper front page above the fold upper right hand corner earlier in the week talked about challenges that are happening to incumbent Democrats all over the country because the progressives in the party are ascendant. And want to see a Democratic Party that is true to its original values. So, I’m just not surprised by it.
Question: Do you see Governor Cuomo as a progressive?
Mayor: Look, I obviously have real political differences with the Governor. And I’m very uncomfortable with how he’s handled the Republican State Senate and the IDC, for example, and I’ve made that clear before. I just think in the end there’s a reckoning occurring all over this nation in our party. It’s time for Democrats to be Democrats.
I remember what Howard Dean said a long time ago in 2004, it was one of the best lines I’ve heard in a long time. He said I’m from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Well so am I, and I want to see real Democrats.
Question: Is Governor Cuomo a real Democrat?
Mayor: Again I’ve just made a statement about what I view, what I believe.
Question: You were quite close with Jeff Klein for a while and I’m wondering what kind of changed?
Mayor: I wouldn’t say quite close. I would say that we did some good work together. And – look I wish he would have never left the Democratic Party. He’s a very talented guy and I think if he had stayed in the party and stayed in the party’s conference he would have continued to advance. I’ve said that to him many a time. And I’ve also said the IDC should come home right now. The fact is, in 2014 when I worked for Pre-K for all of the kids in New York City, I thought he was helpful, but it’s just beyond the pale that the IDC has not come back. They could be here at any moment, and the only reason they’re not is some kind of self-interest which makes no sense. You’re either a Democrat or you’re not. Yes?
Question: So the Working Families Party has endorsed some [inaudible].
Mayor: I’ll certainly consider that. The decisions about the 2014 State Elections are upcoming, again I’ll speak to them when I’m ready, but I’m very uncomfortable with what the IDC is doing and, you know, I’ve been saying now for weeks, and I think a lot of Democrats are feeling the exact same thing. You’re either with us or against us. If you’re IDC member, you are part of the Republican majority of Donald Trump’s Republican Party, period. If you want to cleanse that situation, get home right now. Otherwise, you will suffer the consequences. It’s as simple as that.
Question: I have a follow up question.
Question: Did you help the Governor get the Working Families Party to endorse him?
Mayor: That is a true statement.
Question: Do you see yourself doing that again [inaudible]?
Mayor: You are a creative thinker.
Question: Mayor, the Governor’s Council funds where David sent a letter to the City Council late last month suggesting some strategies for what they think would be the best way to solve some of New York City’s problems in the upcoming State budget, among them is a suggestion that the City should ask for legislative approval for Design Build for specific projects, rather than a broader authority or a bunch of projects at once, and they said the Governor’s Office would support Design Build for Rikers Island, for NYCHA, and for the BQE? What do you think of that approach?
Mayor: I think Design Build, which the State grants itself to save the taxpayers ultimately billions of dollars and a lot of time on major construction projects, I don’t understand why on Earth the State Government would not want the biggest City in the country to have that too. We are 43 percent of the State’s population. Why on Earth wouldn’t they want New York City to also save a lot of money and have these projects go a lot quicker? So of course it should be across the board.
If you said to me, there is some specific projects they would approve right away, would I take that? Yeah, I’ll take anything I can get but it just doesn’t make sense that it wouldn’t be broad approval. Anyone else who hasn’t gone yet? Yoav and then Marcia?
Question: I just wanted to clarify what your wife’s role is as far as it comes to Thrive New York City?
Question: Is that one more of kind of advocacy or does she set policy? Does she have any say in how the money for that is being allocated?
Mayor: I think it’s abundantly clear, we’ve spoken to it many times, she is leading the effort, and again I’m more than confused and more than surprised that this newfound interest on something that we’ve been talking about now for about four years right out in the open, but it suddenly it’s a meme.
You’ll have an opportunity to ask her yourself, she was sitting there the day anyone could have asked anything, you’ll have an opportunity to ask her yourself, but I’ll speak to only this extent to say, from day one, we said she was leading this effort. She convened the meetings. She worked with all the different commissioners to design the model, to determine what the budget will be, and to oversee the implementation, and then to spread the model so that it would work at the grassroots, which is things like the weekends of faith, which have been very successful, getting clergy of all backgrounds to buy into this and be a part of it. She’s been a part of every step along the way in great detail and she’s leading the effort. Yeah?
Question: Just a follow up –
Mayor: Sorry, Marcia first.
Question: Mayor, there has been talk Chirlane running for office, she in fact in a Cosmopolitan interview said she would consider it. I wonder what offices you’d think like to see her run for if she would be good at it?
Mayor: Again, I believe that it is not the place of a spouse to speak to their spouse’s choices. She will decide what she’s going to do. And she said that was one of many things that she might do, but she didn’t define it, because I don’t think she has made any decisions to say the least, but you’d have to ask her.
Question: [Inaudible] also would you like to see her run for elected office?
Mayor: I think she is extraordinarily talented, I think she could do a lot of good in the world whatever she does, but again, it’s not my place. I think a lot of men should know what their place is and what their place isn’t. It’s not place to speak for her, she will speak for herself.
Question: Is she legally allowed to draw salary from the City -
Mayor: No. This has been established many times over. Ask the people who wrote the laws, I don’t understand it either, she works full time. It makes no sense to me, but that’s the reality.
Question: [Inaudible] change in the charter?
Mayor: That’s a great question, I don’t the origins. Obviously the parallel was Bloomberg with his sister and I think his daughter, both, I don’t understand it because if someone is working fulltime and there is a professional with a lot of background and applying themselves, I don’t understand why they can’t get paid, but she can’t get paid. So she’s doing it volunteer but she is doing it 110 percent.
Mayor: Again, ask the people who wrote the law.
Question: I guess I wanted to challenge the premise of your statement –
Question: That we can ask your wife questions because when she appears with you, I guess she is sometimes available for questions, but when she is appears on her own, as far as I know, I don’t believe she ever pulled out questions.
Mayor: Sure she’s taken questions many times, don’t – respectfully my friend, check your facts before you issue your statement. She’s held a number of press conferences on a number topics where people could have asked her anything they wanted, but a lot of times those have been attended even though they were open to all. She sat with me on recent announcements where you could have asked anything you wanted. Medina didn’t you do an in depth interview with her a few weeks ago, someone wants to do an in depth interview, talk to her team.
It’s just – it’s very, very clear, and by the way I was at the Thrive press conference when we announced, you know, the big strands of Thrive, you could have asked anything you wanted about it, so she’s leading one of the most important initiatives in this administration, which is working and having a big impact, also being copied around the country which is fantastic because it’s part of how we changed the whole national dynamic on mental health and ultimately get better legislation in Washington. She’s doing great work with the Mayor’s Fund, she’s doing great work on domestic violence, combatting domestic violence, supporting LGBT youth, there is many, many things she is doing, and you’ll certainly have, as you always have had, ample opportunity to ask her but I’m not going to speak for her.
I’ll take these last two and I’m out.
Question: [Inaudible] I know that you don’t seem to feel Governor Cuomo is a real Democrat, would you like to see a primary challenge – but not only primary challenge, but a third party challenge like the Working Families Party or another challenge –
Mayor: I’m a Democrat, I want to see the Democratic Party to stay true to its roots. I’m not speculating, that’s what I feel.
Question: I just want go back to Vladimir Putin –
Mayor: Yes, do you have a relationship with him? Can you reach him? Because someone has got to ask him directly.
Question: Quite close. It was the Governor who suggested it was either him or you that put Cynthia Nixon in the mix, so I just wanted to get a more direct answer to that suggestion and I have another tiny follow up.
Mayor: Do I understand. Do I know anything about Vladimir Putin? No.
Question: Do you want to respond to the Governor’s –
Mayor: I said very clearly that anyone who thinks that – let me say it this way. Cynthia Nixon makes up her own mind, she is a very accomplished person, she has very strong views, you want to know what Cynthia Nixon is doing, ask her. On your second question?
Question: Do you – would you want to Chirlane to be able get a salary from the City?
Mayor: Look I think if someone is working fulltime in a world where you have two income families now as the norm, you know, two people who have been doing this work for a long time, I find it strange that she is not allowed any compensation. And let’s face it, this often affects women, in many, many cases, it is a man who holds public office, and a woman who is his spouse, who has a lot of professional background in the position to contribute, this is true all over the country, state level, city level, and if they are told they can’t get any compensation, it’s basically encouraging them to not play that public role and to not be involved on the big issues.
If she hadn’t done Thrive, it would never would have happened, there is no two ways about it. If she had not been the leader of the Thrive initiative, it wouldn’t have happened and , you know, there are days when close to a thousand people call 8-8-8 NYC-WELL and get help. That would not have happened had she not stepped up, but she did it for free and she had no choice. So you know, I respect and understand why the law is in place, I think it’s a fair point. There’s good historical reasons for the law, but it has an unintended consequence and it particularly hits women unfairly in my view. Thanks, everyone.