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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner O'Neill Hold Media Availability on Crime Statistics

May 2, 2019

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for being here. In a moment you’re going to hear from Mayor de Blasio then, of course, you’ll hear from our Chief of Crime Control Strategies, Lori Pollock. She’ll go over our April crime figures. And first, I’m sure everybody knows about this, all the members of the New York City Police Department are extremely saddened by yesterday’s tragic vehicle collision that took the life of Police Officer Vincent Persaud.

Vincent was married and his wife is 13 weeks pregnant. Officer Persaud was on his way to work at the 1-0-1 Precinct when it happened and I want to thank the Nassau County Police, EMS, and the other first responders who did all they could. By all accounts, 31-year-old Officer Persaud was a very good cop with nearly four years with the NYPD, native of Guyana, he was absolutely dedicated to serving the people of this great city. Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family and friends today and with Deputy Inspector Vinny Tavalaro, Officer Persaud’s commanding officer, and their distraught colleagues in the 1-0-1.

As for the hard work being done by our cops out there across the five boroughs – I continue to be pleased with the progress we’re making to improve on our already record low crimes. Chief Pollock with get into the details of that. Meanwhile we’re continuing the series of community-based meetings in our highest violent crime neighborhoods. The meetings have been extremely helpful in identifying the particular problems that are sometimes unique to specific neighborhoods. We’re devising ways that the NYPD can further reduce crime and address quality of life concerns in close partnership with everyone who lives and works in these communities. The ultimate goal, of course, is to ensure that every block in every neighborhood is as safe as our safest streets already are.

The people we serve understand that we all have a stake in our public safety and we’re evolving and making our way forward together by building trust and strengthening relationships in every corner of New York City. Mr. Mayor –

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much, Commissioner. And I want to add my voice to the Commissioner's – this is a tough day for the men and women of the NYPD having lost another comrade in a very, very tragic crash – and our city mourns today. This is a young man of real promise who devoted himself to this department and cared about this city and was just starting a family, as you heard, and that makes it all the sadder. So, for the family of Officer Vincent Persaud – just want to say we are all thinking of you, you are in our thoughts, you’re in our prayers. And to all the men and women of the 1-0-1 Precinct, we’re thinking of you as well. We know what a tough day this is for you. Our hearts are with you too.

This is a time, of course, each month we reflect on what it means in this city to have a police force that does such extraordinary work and what it means for the lives of everyday New Yorkers. And one of the things we all focus on here is seeing the human impact of this work. And every time there is one less murder, every time there is one less shooting, every time there’s one less robbery it means a family did better and someone is still with us. And we take very seriously that obligation. The NYPD, in a way I think is truly extraordinary, continues to build on a record of historic success.

April was another record breaking month and this is crucial to put in context. It’s not enough, from the point of view of this department and this Mayor – it’s not enough just to keep driving down the statistics and making the city safer. We have to do it everywhere. And the focus this year has been on using the tools of precision policing and neighborhood policing to really drill down and focus even more intensely on six precincts which the Commissioner identified in January as needing further focus because know we can do more and help people in those communities to be safer and to feel safer. And those precincts are the 2-5, the 4-0, the 4-1, the 4-2, the 7-3, and the 7-5.

So that effort continues to deepen and we’ll be reporting on it throughout the year. But the big picture for this city is positive. Chief Pollock will go into the details in a moment – but overall crime down six percent versus April last year; murders down, April to April, 34 percent. Those are very, very good indicators. And it continues to be done while deepening the relationship between police and community.

I’ve talked before about the fact that the NYPD is doing things in such an intelligent fashion. I’ve talked to people around the country about this – you know the fact that there was 150,000 fewer arrests in 2018 than in 2013 and crime continues to go down steadily is miraculous, and that’s part of what makes this department so special and you can see it in the deepening bond between the police and our communities.

So, I want to thank the Commissioner, thank his team, for another strong month. And just a few words in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, over to you, Chief Pollock –

Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock, NYPD: Good afternoon. Total index crime for the month of April is down six percent. We are at an all-time April low and for the first time in any April, we recorded fewer than 7,000 index crimes and the decreases are reflected in all seven major crimes.

We have a record low number of murders this April with 17 versus 26 – a reduction of 34 percent. At the end of April our year-to-date murders were up 88 versus 86.

Almost half of the 17 murders in April were shooting deaths, which brings us to shootings – which are up 13 for the month of April, 62 versus what was a record low of 49, and up 22 for the year, an increase of 11 percent.

The shootings during April are spread out across the city, and Queens North experienced the largest increase of seven versus zero with gangs, drugs, and one robbery as the motives.

Housing shooting incidents are up in April 15 versus eight. Those incidents are also spread out amongst housing in the five boroughs. And gang violence is a factor in our shootings – over 50 percent, or 32, of our shootings are gang related.

The crime of rape is down 16 percent for the month, 141 versus 168 – a reduction of 27. As you see in your crime brief, the biggest reduction is in same-year reporting and out-of-year reporting is almost even. Domestic rape is the category that has remained even with last year. Domestic rapes account for almost 45 percent of our month-to-date and year-to-date reports.

The April robbery number fell below 900 for the first time in CompStat history. The April burglary number fell below 800 for the first time in CompStat history – falling lower than the previous record low in 2017 of 921 burglaries.

Since the beginning of the year I have spoken about the ebb and flow of crime but during the last seven months we have seen consistent reductions in robbery, burglary, auto theft, and total index crime. We are one-third of the way through 2019 and we are seeing record lows for our year-to-date crime with reductions of over six percent which translates into over 1,900 fewer crimes so far in 2019 over 2018.

Thank you.

Commissioner O’Neill: Thanks, Lori. Any questions about the crime statistics?

Question: So, I know hate crimes are up at least 67 percent this year – do you want to talk a little bit about how you [inaudible] do you hire more Hate Crime Task Force [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: Chief Shea will speak about that, Dermot.

Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, NYPD: Good afternoon, you are correct when you’re talking about the 67 percent. What we are seeing is an increase of 60 reported hate crimes in New York City through the first four months of the year. As I’ve said before, anti-Semitic crimes make up 85 of the 148, so well over 50 percent of the overall crimes. When you drill down on the anti-Semitic hate crimes that we are seeing, approximately 80 percent of the drawing of swastikas in some way, shape or fashion throughout New York City. I just want to be very clear; we have a very robust Hate Crimes Task Force, led by Inspector Molinari, very capable hands. And there’s a zero tolerance in New York City for hate of any kind, whether anti-Semitic, anti-religion, anti-gender or any other kind. We have an increase in arrests just year of over 100 percent in hate crime arrests affected by our Hate Crimes Task Force. So I think that’s a good symbolism right there of the dedication of our hate crimes unit that works hand in hand on a daily basis with other investigative units throughout the city. We will not tolerate this in New York City.

Commissioner O’Neill: Thanks, Dermot. Yep.

Question: Can you talk a little bit about the people who are committing these hate crimes? Specifically the anti-Semitic ones I guess, because that’s the largest number of them. Are they – do they tend to be recidivists? Do they tend to be people who have committed one crime?

Chief Shea: That’s a very good question. We see a little of everything, but I have said at prior press conferences and this holds true today, we certainly have seen a number of patterns. We’ll have – I’ve spoken before about an individual on the Upper West Side. That one individual has been responsible over a period of years literally of causing much damage drawing swastikas, whether its spray painting, etching, stickers, and things of that nature. So, in trying to pinpoint who we’re arresting we do see a [inaudible] of different ethnicities, different ages, etcetera, but that’s not to say that we don’t have patterns, because we do have still a number of instances where one individual can be responsible for a multitude, a pattern if you will. And that’s just not unique to anti-Semitism. We saw that earlier this year in anti-white hate crimes, where one individual in a course of a day I believe did 10 separate incidents.

Question: Sorry, just to clarify. Is that the – are most people that have committed hate crimes, committing more than one hate crime, [inaudible] found of the people that you’re arresting? Or does it really – does it truly vary that you can’t kind of put a general [inaudible]?

Chief Shea: It’s, it’s – there’s a lot of factors there. And I wouldn’t want to be painted into, and give you bad information. It’s a combination of what they’re doing and what we’re able to prove at the same time. So I would say though anecdotally we can certainly get back to you with some data if we can that when you analyze and I can put you in touch with Inspector Molinari. When you analyze what we see, and the arrests that we make on hate crimes I wouldn’t say that the vast, vast majority have been arrested for more than one, and that’s quite probably a good thing, because we have enhanced penalties for hate crimes and we would expect to see that somebody when the arrest is made and the case goes to court that they get a stiff sentence. So that’s some good news.

Commissioner O’Neill: Juliette?

Question: Yes, your rape numbers had been up and up and up over a period of I think over a year and now they’re down. What has caused that downturn or the difference?

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, Lori will talk about that, Lori?

Chief Pollock: Yeah, I don’t think we can draw any conclusions right now. This is the second month where the numbers are down. We continue our outreach; we continue to investigate every crime very thoroughly. We still want the reports, we want people to continue coming forward, and we’re just not going to draw any conclusions right now.

Question: Do you think anything has to do with the fact that you just reconfigured your Special Victims Unit or the [inaudible] different person at the top?

Chief Pollock: I think, I really do think it’s too soon to tell.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.

Question: Back on the hate crimes, do you draw a correlation – you said that 80 percent of the incidents have been particularly in anti-Semitism have been graffiti, swastikas of that nature. Do you find any linkage between that kind of activity and the violence that we’ve seen in California, Pittsburgh and elsewhere at how troubling is the spike given that reality?

Chief Shea: That’s a difficult conclusion to make. I mean certainly when you look at some crimes, we’ve said this before about sex crimes, things in the media, things in the public eye, how it influenced crime and crime reporting. It certainly a possibility in some respect but trying to definitively nail down causation I think would be a little premature.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.

Question: Commissioner, yesterday there was a, there were a number of hate crimes in the last couple of days but yesterday specifically there was one in Crown Heights where somebody spit at somebody who was Jewish and accused him of being a member of a cult and it was a pretty ugly crime. I am wondering if you’re investigating it, can I have [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: Dermot, do you have that one?

Chief Shea: Sure, I do, I’ll speak to two actually, Marcia. Two that chose the collaboration that we have – at least one of the two, and I believe both when not initially reported directly to the police. They were reported to the Anti-Defamation League, and due to the collaboration that we have with many partners across the city, they were funneled to Inspector Molinari and his team. In the one in Brooklyn, both of these incidents have been initially triaged if you will by the Hate Crimes Task Force and they’re under review. I will say that in both of these incidents, the 19th Precinct and the one I believe in the 7-1 you had incidents that occurred on the street where individuals came in contact with each and got into some sort of a dispute before any mention of hate or any type of further activity was involved and then subsequent to a dispute specifically in the Brooklyn case. Then there was comments made anti-Semitic in nature. We have a report on it and its currently being reviewed by the Hate Crimes Task Force.

Question: If I could just ask the Commissioner, and the Mayor your thoughts about why there has been this increase not only in New York City, but really a lot of other places in an –

Mayor: I think it’s really clear, Marcia. The forces of white supremacy have been unleashed and as you know those are profoundly anti-Semitic forces. I think what’s happening here in this country is that a lot of folks used to be told it was unacceptable to be anti-Semitic, it was unacceptable to be racist, and now they’re getting more permission. And what I am seeing around the country really worries me that these nativist forces who don’t like a whole lot of people who make up America today, including the Jewish people, are coming out of the woodwork and we’ve got to fight them back. We’ve got to make very clear it’s unacceptable in our society, and the best way we do that here is by finding the perpetrators and prosecuting them and insuring that they feel the consequences of their acts.

Question: So do you have a message to New Yorkers about [inaudible]?

Mayor: New Yorkers can really help by reporting any act of hatred, whether it’s anti-Semitic or any other kind, because we have to show there will be consequences. And the NYPD is doing an amazing job and when you look at how many people they’ve caught, and how many have been prosecuted, it’s very, very clear that if you commit a hate crime, the overwhelming likelihood is we’re going to find you and you’re going to pay the price. But, there are some people that are committing crimes that we don’t even hear about. We can’t let that happen, that just let the cancer grow. So my message to all New Yorkers is we will protect you, we’re going to not ever take a hate crime lightly, but we need the help of the people identifying any time when someone does one of these hate-crimes.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, just to build up on that a little bit, just – and the message from the NYPD is that there is zero tolerance for any hate crime, it doesn’t matter what the group is. And that’s why we’re so fortunate to have Inspector Mark Molinari in charge of our Hate Crimes Unit. This is something that they do every day, and if they do see a link with any sort of groups, that information goes immediately over to our intelligence bureau and its fully investigated.

Mayor: Yep.

Question: Continuing on the hate crimes. Is there one part of the city where it’s concentrated or is it spread throughout?

Chief Shea: We certainly see a number of incidents in Brooklyn. But there is no part of the city that I would say that we haven’t see in some shape hate crimes reported. It tends to be spread out, but if there was a concentration I would pinpoint it would be Brooklyn.

Commissioner O’Neill: Tony.

Question: Follow up on the [inaudible]. Are you noticing any different pattern in the prior year of rapes that are coming into drive the numbers of [inaudible] staying the same in terms of [inaudible] count?

Chief Pollock: The – out of [inaudible] reporting this year – this month is even, so we’re not noticing any pattern right now.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.

Question: [Inaudible] Special Victims Division, what – given all the changes talked about and [inaudible] for a couple months as changes were made, what’s the turnover rate when it comes to cases being investigated and closed, and [inaudible] prior to these changes?

Chief Shea: Is that the turnover rate you’re mentioning regarding Special Victims cases?

Question: [Inaudible] I mean how long it takes for a case to be solved.

Chief Shea: There really is no solid answer and I think that’s by design. We’ve worked very closely with many, many different advocate groups to hear their voice, to hear the voices of the victims of sexual assaults more clearer than ever before, and one of the resounding lessons that we have learned over the years is to move at the pace of the victim and to allow the victim the freedom, to give them that opportunity to step into an investigation and to step out of it when they’re not comfortable. So to hold to a – rest assured that does not mean that our Special Victims are not full speed ahead, doing everything possible to catch perpetrators responsible for heinous acts of sexual assaults, but to put a – I think would be a bad barometer to put a timeline on that when you have cases where individuals are coming to us really routinely at this point and it’s a good thing, where they are not comfortable in going forward, and we get over and over again, and this is a good thing, and we’ve seen it recently with hate crimes as well, where individuals are coming forward to report crimes and saying I don’t want an arrest but I want to – I feel empowered, I’ve gotten the message whether it’s through friends, whether it’s through outreach, whether it’s through advocates, the mere act of coming forward and reporting it is sometimes beginning the healing the process.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Shea: I hope that answers the question.

Question: It was definitely helpful, but when it comes to, let’s say, budgeting, where you have to put a number forward and say this is how many, this is [inaudible] this number of staff working in SVD – do you have any number?

Chief Shea: We have a very adequate and robust Special Victims Division that can handle and are available to work any and all crimes that come forward, so I would have – I would say that the staffing has zero impact. We have a great leader in Chief Judy Harrison, she’s doing a phenomenal job along with the entire division and they stand ready to investigate any and all sexual assault claims that come forward.

Commissioner O’Neill: With the additional personnel we put in Special Victims the case per investigator number has gone down. Rich.

Question: So at least one civil rights organization has said that there is an increase in antisemitism associated with the measles outbreak and the locus of it. Have you seen any hate crimes that could be attributed to people who you know, I don’t know, reacting to the measles outbreak?

Commissioner O’Neill: None that have been brought to my attention. Dermott?

Chief Shea: No, no we have not.

Mayor: Yeah, and Rich I want to add. Let me speak officially, if you will, and I really want people to understand this is a coming from me, coming from the Health Commissioner. The leadership of the Jewish community in Williamsburg has been 100 percent cooperative and supportive of addressing the measles crisis. The institutions of the community have been 100 percent supportive. We have a problem with a very small number of individuals, not organizations, individuals and they are being deeply influenced, even coordinated by the national anti-vaxxer movement. So we have to be very clear about this. This is an insidious movement that has money, some celebrities as you know are involved with the anti-vaxxer movement, they have sources of money, and they saw an opportunity to expand their very negative philosophy into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and they found some individuals who were misguided and believed that they were hearing the truth. We’re countering that all the time. We’re putting out more and more videos, more and more – we’re doing a tele-town hall with doctors to answer people’s questions and give them the facts. We’re doing a lot, obviously, in Yiddish to just give people the truth to counter this horrible, dangerous, anti-vaxxer propaganda. But it’s really not about anyone’s ethnicity or religion, it’s about a small group of people who, unfortunately, have been influenced by a national movement which we should be very worried about. It’s having an impact not just in New York, in California and other places, and this anti-vaxxer movement must be confronted.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, in the back?

Question: Commissioner. With the preponderance of crimes, hate crimes, against the religious community, Jewish people, communities, individuals, and particularly the religious institutions, taking into account the growth of active shooters in many places around the country, are there any plans to train, like in public schools, religious leaders, teachers, administrators, to prepare for an active shooter situation?

Commissioner O’Neill: We do have active shooter training available through our Counter-Terrorism Division. I know Chief Waters at the pre-Passover conference he did speak to a number of people about that, so that training is available.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: We’ll have to get that to you, alright? We’ll have to get you a good number. Gloria?

Question: The Southern Poverty Law Center said they had identified a white-supremacist man that lives in Flushing, in Queens. They IDed him, and I just was wondering if the Department is aware and if there’s anything you can do as far as monitoring that person?

Commissioner O’Neill: Chief Galati will speak about that, Tom?

Chief of Intelligence Thomas Galati, NYPD: I’ll have to take the information from you. I am aware of somebody that we became aware of that was out in Flushing and it was based on a license plate that was given to us. I’m not sure if that’s the case you’re referring to, but in the Intelligence Bureau – what’s that?

Question: Jordan is the last name.

Chief Galati: I would have to get back to you on that, but we do have active investigations where we are looking at people inside New York City.

Commissioner O’Neill: Any other crime stats questions? Going once? Alright, off-topic.

Question: I had one more on hate crimes. Chief Shea, I was just wondering if you could just give us a straight breakdown of the numbers, how many you’ve seen year-to-date compared to last year, and how many arrests you’ve made compared to last year?

Chief Shea: I’m being told it’s in the press release already, so for brevity we’ll refer to that.

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay. Off-topic police questions.

Question: This is a police question.

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay.

Question: Mayor, there was an incident on an MTA bus where a driver was accused of yelling “measles” at a passenger. Did you ever get an update on what happened with that or [inaudible]?

Mayor: No, I mean, that’s – if that suggested bias on the part of that driver who’s a public employee that’s not acceptable, but I don’t know the details of that case.

Question: Commissioner, you tweeted about the actions of the retired ESU detective in North Carolina disarming the gunman in that incident. Can you talk about that, your familiarity with his actions and your pride in his training here [inaudible]?

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, he’s a retired a number of years – trained by ESU that I think – who are the best trained cops in the United States. He went down there and responded to the scene and because of the brave actions taken by the one student that was unfortunately killed, he had the opportunity to restrain the gunman and place him under arrest, so. You know, just – once they leave the NYPD it’s still with them, really proud of him, that he was able to do that and stop the shooter from injuring and possibly killing even more people. Graham?

Question: Commissioner, why was there a 2015 crash involving a car that the Mayor was in according to the State DMV [inaudible] Inspector Redmond ordering his detectives to – basically to cover-up the crash and to not say anything about it—

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, I’m sorry, obviously I disagree with your characterization of that but Tom Galati will talk about the incident itself. Tom?

Chief Galati: So, this is a minor accident that happens back in 2015. It was investigated the day of the accident. The accident report was filed in the 2-5 Precinct. The officer that was driving that day was found at fault so it’s far from a cover-up.

Question: Messages indicate that Redmond directed his detectives to take a series of steps to cover-up the fact that the accident took place.

Chief Galati: I have not seen those text messages, I’d have to take a look at those text messages myself, but I am telling you that it was completely investigated that day, and a report was filed.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yup.

Question: Commissioner, do you have response to the recommendations of a staff report from the Charter Revision Commission? They talked about like giving subpoena power to the [inaudible] have to do with the CCRB. Giving individual officers subpoena power, requiring you to file a public deviation memo if you deviate from recommendations—

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, there’s a number of proposed revisions to the City Charter, and we’re in the process of working those through. I don’t want to comment about any of them individually right now. Yes?

Question: The CCRB trial for Officer Daniel Pantaleo is coming up soon and this week he – his attorney asked for the NYPD to prosecute the case, not the CCRB to prosecute the trial, trying to dismiss it on a technicality? I’m just wondering if you have an opinion about that?

Commissioner O’Neill: Well, we are – as of now the trial is set for the 13th. The CCRB is going to be prosecuting that case and it’s going to be a fair process.

Question: And he also, today, just asked for I think a vacation day during the trial period? I’m just wondering if you have any opinion about what this says about the respect for the CCRB trial? This is the public and—

Commissioner O’Neill: I haven’t heard about any requests for any time off during the trial but we look forward to the upcoming trial and I know CCRB, with the full and willing help of the NYPD, is prepared for this.

Question: Do you think that the other officers who were involved in the death of Eric Garner should face disciplinary charges and will they?

Commissioner O’Neill: Right now it’s – the upcoming trial involves Officer Pantaleo only. Yup?

Question: And if the judge who’s overseeing the trial rules against Pantaleo, would you or the Mayor be willing to fire him?

Commissioner O’Neill: I’m not going to speculate. Tony?

Question: Follow up on two reports that have been in the wind for a while. One involves the much-vaunted sentiment meter. Is there going to be a point in time when you’re going to be able to release information about what the sentiment meter has given us or determined about the public’s perception or reactions to officers [inaudible] who are lying fallow—

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, it’s been – we’ve been talking about this for a couple of years now. And this, I mean this is very interesting technology and I’m looking forward to it. It’s still in beta form – we are working with the vendor. It gives an indication of trust and safety down to the sector level where we’re looking for some way to operationalize that during CompStat and we haven’t had, we don’t have that finalized yet, and once we do that, then we’ll incorporate – we look forward to incorporating those numbers into our CompStat system.

Question: Follow-up is on the Rand study that’s being done on neighborhood policing, is that on target? I think you’ve said that we might see something—

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah by the end of June.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, yes it is. And we look forward to that.

Question: [Inaudible] sentiment meter?

Commissioner O’Neill: Sentiment. We need to think of a better name, sentiment.

[Laughter]

Question: What is that? Does it measure –

Commissioner O’Neill: It’s how people – it’s measuring the trust that people have in the NYPD and how safe they feel in their neighborhoods.

Question: [Inaudible] as a whole, as a –

Commissioner O’Neill: It comes – there’s thousands of apps that they – the research tool – the survey will come up on your phone. It comes up with first a question about New York City, then it’ll ask you five more questions or so and some additional questions about how you feel about the NYPD and how you feel – how safe do you feel in your neighborhood, and it’s down to the sector level. It’s consistent with neighborhood policing.

Question: Is it gathering that information now?

Commissioner O’Neill: Yes we are. Again, this has been a process that has been going on for a while. I know I’m meeting with the vendor over the next or so, so hopefully we’ll be able to operationalize that pretty soon. How’s that for a specific answer? Yes?

Question: Commissioner, last week there were some photos circulated of you not having bike on your bell –

Mayor: Bell on his bike.

Question: Oh, sorry –

Mayor: I think a bike on the bell would be awkward.

Commissioner O’Neill: It’s a really big bell.

Mayor: It’s a really big bell.

Question: This came after police confiscated some people’s bikes for not having bells.

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay.

[Laughter]

Question: Did you stop – tell your officers to stop taking them or would you –

Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, so there’s a backstory here and we do not give out a lot of summonses for no bells on bikes, I got that right. This was a group that they meet periodically, and there’s videos out there – you’ve got to take a look at what these bike groups do. They ride in group, en-masse, wrong way, up major avenues, they play chicken with buses and trucks, and this was a tool that the officers from Manhattan South used to prevent this behavior from happening that day. I will be happy to report to New York City that I do have a bell on my bike now.

Question: Follow-up?

Commissioner O’Neill: Sure.

Question: Is surveilling people’s social media for a non-violent open container warrant something that the NYPD typically does, and show up with fifty officers to arrest that person?

Commissioner O’Neill: I don’t know the case that you’re talking about.

Question: [Inaudible] police showed up to that event, that’s what they told the media, that—

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, did they explain to you what that group does every time they go out? Did they give you that part of the equation? Okay maybe you should go back and ask them about their behavior. Hold on, John?

Question: Commissioner, over the weekend on Saturday, they found a body in a park in the 68th Precinct and I think [inaudible].

Commissioner O’Neill: [Inaudible].

Chief Shea: Yeah so this – on the Brooklyn side, in the 68th Precinct as you said in a wooded area that is fenced in, which is probably significant in this case, workers doing routine maintenance came across what appeared to be and confirmed was human remains. Initial autopsy was conducted. The remains were in an advanced state, I’ll call it decomposition so at this point in time it will require further testing to even determine at this point what the sex was. It remains an open investigation, there’s no determination yet as to cause of death or whether criminality was involved in this incident. There was a – the follow-up question is going to be, so I’ll answer it before it comes, there was a what I will refer to as a space blanket – commonly, if you see people finish a marathon and they throw that wrapper around themselves to keep heat in, that was found in close proximity to the remains. It’s – you can speculate, I will not speculate, as to whether it was somebody sleeping there to keep warm or not, but that’s the facts that we have now. Again, more testing will be required to determine cause of death, and at this point in time, whether it was criminal in nature or not remains open.

Question: To follow up on that case, does the heat from the space blanket affect the composition –

Chief Shea: That’s a great question that I will not get into the specifics but this will all be examined by the pathologist going forward.

Commissioner O’Neill: Gloria?

Question: Commissioner there are – can you give us an update on that fatal stabbing in the 7-0 with the arrest of the mother and her son. Do you have a motive on that – in that case yet?

Chief Shea: We do not have a definitive motive as of yet as we sit here today. It remains very active, the investigation, terrible incident from this week where we have essentially two 17-year-olds, primarily involved in this – what turns out to be a stabbing homicide. The individual was stabbed in the armpit area and ultimately succumbed to his wounds, 17-year-old victim, 17-year-old arrested perpetrator. As you said also arrested was the mother of the stabber. Portions of this event were caught on video, portions were not, but it is our belief that the mother took essentially the murder weapon and kept that from the police in an attempt hide the murder weapon.

The motive, you’d have to go back before you look at that, and we are looking at what incident kicked off before the initial stabbing that took place in the street. We believe that there may have been some other individuals at that location possibly involved in a disturbance or a fight, but that remains the open part and hopefully that will shed light as we move forward. This is still fairly fresh in terms of what the entire incident - we are very concerned anytime we have an incident like this because then the potential for retaliation in other parts of the city.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yep?

Question: [Inaudible] another question for the Commissioner, there was a Legal Aid report that came out today that found that NYPD officers who work the most overtime are also sued for misconduct at higher rates than their peers –

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, our Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, Ernie Hart, will give you an answer on that.

Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters Ernest Hart, NYPD: A part of that story is that the number of lawsuits against police officers since Fiscal Year 2014 is down and the NYPD looks at that. We look at the lawsuits. We have very robust, civil monitoring programs – civil lawsuit monitoring program, so we look at those very closely. The comparison to Legal Aid stats is a little bit incorrect because it doesn’t – we don’t necessarily know what that captures so I don’t think that I can comment really on that comparison because I don’t think the comparison is valid.

Question: The correlation?

Deputy Commissioner Hart: The correlation between the litigation and what Legal Aid said, yes?

Question: Why don’t you think it’s valid?

Deputy Commissioner Hart: Because it is comparing apples to oranges. It’s not necessarily comparing the same way that – it’s not compared in a proper way.

Question: They’re just comparing federal court records to pay roll records –

Deputy Commissioner Hart: Yes and – but we don’t know what that’s based on. In terms of – well, listen – in terms of whether or not the complaint was dismissed, determined by the judge, by a jury, whatever. There’s a lot of factors that aren’t included.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, in the back row?

Question: So Commissioner, are you aware of former Detective Michael Moy’s placed a complaint against the NYPD against –

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, yeah –

Question: So what’s the response?

Commissioner O’Neill: Okay I take those allegations very seriously and there’s no tolerance for that kind of behavior. There is an investigation undergoing by the Detective Bureau Investigations Unit. I know that it is pending litigation also.

Question: This is a follow on the Legal Aid Society’s report and there were officers sued. Some of those officers have quite a few adverse credibility rulings, are those also tracked by the department? Are those looked at in terms of who part of your team has adverse credibility rulings, [inaudible] lawsuits against them, how does that work in the rails matrix?

Deputy Commissioner Hart: Every – every lawsuit is looked at. Every –

Question: [Inaudible].

Deputy Commissioner Hart: Honestly I don’t know, but I would suspect that –

First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, NYPD: Yeah we do track those through rails and we do take a look at that as well. So we look at every aspect of the officer’s conduct and we follow up as appropriate in every one of those instances.

Commissioner O’Neill: Hey, thanks Ben. Yep, Gram?

Question: Commissioner, a couple of stories in the last week about fraternization of [inaudible] -

Commissioner O’Neil: Commissioner Tucker is in charge of training, he’ll speak about that. Ben?

First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: So what was the question again on the fraternization, this the most recent case?

Question: Yeah –

First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: I’m not going to say much about except that I’ll say firstly that fraternization between any Police Academy staff and our recruits is strictly prohibited. So that’s should be clear. And as a result, given these allegations, we – the department, and in particular the Investigations Unit at the Academy – will follow up and make their recommendations for whatever discipline they think is appropriate.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yep?

Question: There are reports that the police department plans on slashing overtime in the coming [inaudible] will that be updated [inaudible] at all?

Commissioner O’Neill: This is what we do. We have to manage overtime and this is part of our overtime management program to make sure that money goes to where we need to fight crime and we have, in the coming weeks we’ll – I’m sure we’ll have press conference about the upcoming plans for summer including All Out, so. In the back?

Question: Will be able to get a breakdown by borough of the crime statistics that you discussed earlier?

Commissioner O’Neill: The overall crime stats?

Question: By borough.

Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, you can probably do that online but we’ll make sure we get it to you, okay? Thank you everybody.

Mayor: Okay, everyone turnover and then we’ll go to off-topic for me.

[…]

Mayor: Hey, private interview, time to end – we have to do this for everyone. Oh, I got to put my mic on. Okay.

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: Yeah, yes I can I’m interested in the needs of the whole group, Gloria. Andrew?

Question: Mayor, today Michael Bennet announced that he is running for president. Depending on how you count, there’s 21, Bullock is expected to get in next week, that could 22. If you run that might be 23 –

Mayor: Your math skills are outstanding.

Question: [Inaudible] that the DNC has capped the number of participants in a debate at 20, which means if even if you do run, you might not make it into the debate. How important would that be for you to participate in the debate in the primary?

Mayor: Well that’s the kind of question I would respond to if and when I’m a candidate. It’s – the debate is one of many, many factors in the campaign obviously. But I’m going to make my decision in the month of May, and as soon we have something to tell you, we’ll tell you.

Question: The month of May, so if you’re saying, May 31st, if we don’t know by May 31st you’re out?

Mayor: I think it’s simpler. I’m going to make my decision in the month of May and then I’m going to tell you my decision.

Question: In the month of May?

Mayor: In the month of May. I thought this was a really – wait a minute – I thought this was a really good easy sentence, I’m going to make my decision in the month – I feel like I’m back on the Sesame Street set – I’m going to make my decision in the month of May and I’m going to tell you my decision.

Question: Next May or this –

[Laughter]

Question: So Mr. Mayor, on the issue of meeting with lobbyists. Given that 46 of your top aides and officials regularly meet with commercial and in-house lobbyists, does it really matter that you’re reducing your own interactions with them?

Mayor: Well in my case it – reducing is not the word – I made a decision several years ago to no longer meet with third party lobbyists and the other day I said on the radio, and I should have said it more precisely but my meaning was exactly correct, third party lobbyists are the lobbyists that work for a variety of interests who are hired by different interests to go and represent them. When people talk about lobbyists, that’s what they mean. There’s another group which is sort of as people have interpreted the law, you have for example union presidents, labor union presidents, who also decide because of the law they assume they should register as lobbyists to represent their own workers, their own union, they don’t represent anybody else.

So I still meet with labor union presidents, we put it out there, but that to me is not the point that has raised so much public concern. It is the other type of lobbyist. In that instance, third party lobbyists, I have not met with a third party lobbyist, registered with the City of New York, about their city clients in years, period. On the question of the other members of the administration, look there is so much business that we have to do every day in New York City. There is so many issues that have to be addressed, by City Hall, by our agencies, and a lot of the folks who have perfectly legitimate issues they want to bring before the government choose to hire representatives to be a part of that process. We respect that, we work with them, and unlike – I think hardly any other government in America – we disclose which lobbyist met with which officials and we do that on an ongoing basis. And I think that’s a good practice, and I think it’s a practice that other places should take on as well.

Question: Just to follow up on that, you met with several Amazon executives last fall at Gracie Mansion and one of them was a lobbyist who works in-house for Amazon, I don’t really –

Mayor: Again, an in-house – I think it’s a huge distinction. Someone who works for a single entity and comes to a meeting just like everyone else who is there from that entity and happens to feel they need to apply under the lobbying law is totally different than the kind of lobbyist that are talked about in the regular public discourse. It just is. What we talk about normally are the folks who represent a variety of interest, there is a regular accounting of all those folks, it’s just a different thing. So I’ve set my standard and we disclose.

Question: [Inaudible].

Mayor: I believe it’s a real different thing according to reality, but what I indicate on our website, is anybody who is a city registered lobbyist who I meet with and we put out – even it is for example a labor leader – I’ll put it out there, but I’m very comfortable saying that is not what I’m talking about and I think the vast majority of people are talking about when they are concerned about the history of lobbying. Anyone else, back there?

Question: Mr. Mayor, on the issue of Eric Garner’s death, I’m wondering if you have made any attempts to reach out to the Department of Justice about the status of their investigation?

Mayor: Repeatedly.

Question: Repeatedly. And is there a status update?

Mayor: There is never a status update. I’ve never seen anything like this in my whole life. And this happened over two administrations and I’m absolutely flabbergasted. I don’t understand how so much time could pass, just make a decision up or down. There’s nothing. There’s no indication of a decision or whether there ever will be a decision and it makes no sense to me. Please?

Question: Mr. Mayor, we spoke to some folks in Iowa who are conducting polls where you seem to be the main subject of the poll, are you paying for polling in Iowa?

Mayor: My PAC is polling, yes.

Question: And are you going to tell us what that cost or –

Mayor: We have to file disclosure for the PAC on a regular basis and they’ll be certainly indicated in there. When I know – whenever the normal disclosure is it will be indicated.

Question: So is that polling part of what you are taking into account to make your decision –

Mayor: Yes.

Question: Some of the questions that the pollster asked was about general – you’re general message, whether or not people know who you are, what they associate when they think of the New York City Mayor, are you taking all of that into account –

Mayor: I want to look at, you know, a lot of information. The ultimate decision as I’ve said is a personal one and a family one but of course it makes sense to look at other information.

Question: Do you know how long the polling will go on for or -

Mayor: I’m not going to get into details of it, but if the final product in terms of how much it costs and all will certainly be disclosed.

Question: Mr. Mayor, just to follow up on that. I thought where you were at was just –

Mayor: Wait, he’s going to say, what month are you going to make your decision in though?

Question: You had left us with the impression that it was really just a personal decision but when you said –

Mayor: It’s a personal decision always in the end. I mean the number one concern is – it’s a family decision, it has a huge impact on the family, and as you know, I’ve always been deeply connected to my family, including in public life. But it’s natural to take into account other factors. Other questions, yes?

Question: So is it really about running for president or is it about raising a national profile and perhaps looking at a Democratic administration and a position in there?

Mayor: I have never run for anything without intending to win. And you can look at my track record. I was an underdog in everything I’ve ever been near. I’m not saying that with any hubris, Juliet, I think this is extraordinarily rich field and complex dynamic, ever changing. I think we can all agree on that. If you don’t like the way the field looks on Monday, wait a day or two and it will change. Just the composition and the polling numbers just changes all the time, it’s extraordinarily dynamic. But anytime I get into a race I get in it to win. Yes?

Question: Mr. Mayor, you mentioned [inaudible] vaccination [inaudible]. Is the City doing anything to investigate or identify who these anti-vaxxers are, and are they breaking the law in any way?

Mayor: I – that’s a great question and that will certainly inspire me to go back with the Health Department and Law Department and ask if there is any indication of violation of the law and the information being distributed. To date, what I have understood is its very inaccurate information that’s really causing a lot of problems. But again this is not new, this is not just Williamsburg, this is happening all over the country. So I have not heard of something that might reach the standard of being illegal but I think we should look to see if there is any potential illegality because it is really destructive. I mean it’s causing innocent people to think they shouldn’t vaccinate their children and that’s dangerous for their children and everybody else’s.

Question: Mr. Mayor, many people feel that our country is going in the wrong direction under the current leadership in Washington. What would you do if you did run and were successful in being elected as President to change that direction that you’ve opposed yourself?

Mayor: Look, I would say again, I’m not going to get into detailed questions about a presidential race unless and until I am a candidate. I think the country needs to change and change quickly. The things we worked on just recently, the global warming crisis, the fact that New York City is now taking the most aggressive action in the country to address it, particularly with the new buildings mandate law. The fact that we have rampant income inequality and it’s growing in this country, and I think it’s going to endanger our social fabric. Here in this city, we’ve done really forceful things to try and stop that growth of inequality and actually give people opportunity. Those are going to be really, really important issues, but, whatever role I play, I’m going to be sounding the alarm on these issues and talking about ways we can address it, and showing that New York City is actually doing something about it. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, another flyer popped up in the locker room in the Park Slope Y –

Mayor: Wow, you guys are obsessed –

Question: I know.

Mayor: Go ahead –

Question: – Suggesting that you don’t wipe down your gym equipment –

Mayor: They need to flyer me directly so I can see these flyers. They’re not doing a good job. I’ve done a lot of flyer-ing in my day – these are really incompetent flyer-ers, because I never see their stuff. You can print that. 

Question: Can you tell us whether you wipe your gym equipment?

Mayor: I have a rich history – I can’t say every single time, but I think I have a rich history of –

Unknown: That’s blasphemy. You’ve got to wipe it down. 

Mayor: I’m being truthful, but I try to be consistent. 

Yes, Marcia – on bigger issues, I’m sure. 

Question: Actually, yes. 

Mayor: Yes.

Question: Mr. Mayor, the Board of Elections only approved 38 sites for early voting, and you wanted 100 sites –

Mayor: 100 percent.

Question: So, what are you going to do to try to move them off the [inaudible] and is 38 enough to deal with –

Mayor: No. Marcia, you were with us on Monday, and you know we predicted this, unfortunately – that the Board of Elections, rather than take $75 million that we offered to them and do at least 100 sites that would really give people a chance to have early voting in their neighborhood and be able to take full advantage of it, the Board of Elections did the bare minimum under State law. Think about this – think about a borough the size of Brooklyn with fewer than 10 early voting sites. It’s preposterous, and the Board just never fails to disappoint. So, we’re going to back and remind them that we have a check for $75 million if they will just do the right thing and set up enough sites. So then, Marcia, they said, oh, we’re having trouble finding the sites. We’re not having trouble finding the sites. We’re going to put out a list of at least 100 sites that are available for all nine days, and accessible, and fit all of the standards. We’re going to produce that soon to help them do their job. Apparently now they do have a few more weeks and the deadline’s been opened up, so they can finally get it right. But it’s – this bill was passed months ago, they had all the time in the world. This is all they do all day, is run elections, and they couldn’t figure out how to do this, which is very troubling. 

Question: If I could ask a follow-up question – the other day you called the Board of Elections the Board of Excuses. 

Mayor: Yes.

Question: I know you’ve probably heard the reporting of Michael Ryan’s testimony before the City Council. I wonder if you feel that he lived up to your [inaudible]. 

Mayor: Unfortunately, he did. He had a chance to come in and say, we need to do things differently, we’re going to do them better, and he could have started by saying we’re going to have 100 or more early voting sites, and thank you for the $75 million, and could I have the $20 million the Mayor offered also to make the reforms and improve our operations and help people vote. He failed to do any of that and it’s preposterous – it’s just preposterous at this point. You know, to call it a 20th Century organization is charitable. They’re more like something from the 19th Century at this point. It’s just unbelievable.  

Gloria?

Question: Mr. Mayor, I just wanted to ask you more directly why you feel the need to poll – conduct a poll in Iowa, and what about – I mean, a lot of what your message is all about – income inequality, climate change, and everything else – are things that are already being discussed by other candidates. So, I guess I just want to get –

Mayor: I’m not sure I follow that question at all. 

Question: The question is why are you conducting a poll in Iowa?

Mayor: I just said, because I think it’s important to get an understanding of what people are thinking. It’s just another part of what understanding the dynamics. This is a pretty straightforward, normal thing to do. 

Question: For you to make your decision?

Mayor: For anyone to make a decision, but certainly for me to make a decision. 

Yes?

Question: Mr. Mayor, traffic fatalities this year are at 30 percent and cyclists, particularly, are at 10 percent, and there are some pockets in Queens that have a lot of accidents, collisions. You’re getting some pressure from the Council to build 100 miles of protected bike lanes. Is that something you can commit to? Or how else are going to –

Mayor: We have a plan out already to aggressively continue to build out bikes lanes, and it’s a very costly plan, but it’s the right thing to do. It also takes time to do these things. So, I think the plan we have now is the right plan. What we will do a lot more of is more enforcement. I mean, again, when it comes to Vision Zero, it’s five years of driving down fatalities every single year, each year better than the one before. We intend to have a sixth year. But the – that’s going to be – the big changes, of course, like the traffic designs, but it’s also going to be – we’re going to have a lot more speed cameras at schools, going forward, because we’ve got some much better legislation in Albany that we fought for, for a long time. And we’re going to have a lot more enforcement by the NYPD. So, you will see continued progress, there’s no question. 

Commissioner O’Neill: So, as of this morning we’re up seven percent, 56 versus 60, in fatalities – vehicle fatalities. So, that number has come down over the last couple of weeks. 

Mayor: Thank you.

Rich?

Question: Mr. Mayor, regarding a possible presidential run, you’ve indicated that family will have a say. Have you had any preliminary indications from the First Lady, or the children? Are they saying, woah? Are they saying, green light, whatever you want to do? 

Mayor: Rich Lamb is getting in the middle of family business. We’re – look, yeah, I’m having this very, very serious conversation. I’ve traveled to four states. We’re doing a lot of things to look at this option. Obviously, that’s been an ongoing conversation with the family. If early in the process my family had said no, I wouldn’t be doing all of those things. 

Question: So this week, Coalition for the Homeless released their State of the Homeless report – they’re very critical of you and Governor Cuomo, but particularly they [inaudible] homeless [inaudible] by 5,000, which contradicts the number that you’ve put out. They’ve called for more housing for the homeless. Where do you think the criticism – do you think the criticism is fair? And especially when so many activists and groups have urged you to commit to building more homeless housing – housing specifically for the homeless, and you haven’t. Why won’t you just build – commit to that doubling the amount?

Mayor: We’ve been over this a lot of times, I’m happy to go over it again. So, I want to just do a little background. I’ve been working on these issues since 2002 when I became Chairman of the General Welfare Committee in the City Council. I know the coalition for the homeless really, really well. I have immense respect for them. I have disagreed with them more than one time, and I disagree with them now. I’m always astounded when we have this conversation that we don’t start with the actual facts on the ground, the things that actually happened. I don’t know what’s going on here. 100,000 people in the last five years went from shelter to affordable housing – 100,000 people. Now, I get that good news is not easy to report and I actually don’t hold it against you guys, I hold it against your editors, bluntly, much more. But the fact is, 100,000 people already got affordable housing – that’s kind of newsy – that’s not theory, that’s not percentages, that’s actual human beings. So, I want to give a lot of credit to Homeless Services for the way they’ve created that, working with all of the rest of the team that works on affordable housing. That already happened and we’re going to continue to do that. But look, I care deeply about fixing the problem at the root cause. For the first time, we’re able to stop homelessness on a really big level because we’re providing lawyers – you know, real serious numbers of lawyers to stop evictions. We did things like the rent freeze for two years. I mean, these are the ways you stop homelessness to begin with, and we think it’s having a big impact. But we have more work to do, but there’s no question in my mind that the shelter population is going down because these initiatives are starting to work, and we’re going to be doing more. You know we’re going to be using eminent domain more and other tools to keep bringing that population down.

Question: Is that even true? I mean, the shelter population –

Mayor: It is true. 

Question: – has plateaued for the last two years, and that’s directly from your office. It hovers around –

Mayor: It has gone down, because we used – we very clearly used eminent domain to create a dynamic where we were able to do a transaction to take buildings that were shelter and convert them to permanent affordable housing for folks who were in shelter, and other residents of those buildings who also will benefit from affordable housing, and we’re going to be doing a lot more of that. When you do that, when you take someone who is in shelter in a temporary status and you turn it into permanent affordable housing run by a community nonprofit organization. Long-term affordable housing for folks, and affordable rent – that’s a night and day reality and you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that.

Please?

Question: [Inaudible] Albany had a letter to the Conflicts of Interest Board today asking them to disclose whether you or any of your aides violated ethics guidelines during the Campaign for One New York fundraising. Would you have an opposition to them releasing any of those –

Mayor: I’m going to say what I’ve said about these matters. We’re talking about something that happened years ago for an entity that is now defunct. It has been looked at and reviewed by multiple entities, they all passed their judgement, the case is closed, there’s nothing else to say. 

Juliet?

Question: Given your strong feelings about the anti-vaxxers, is the City considering a civil suit against them organizationally? Or is there any criminal investigation into their activities. It’s a great question – again, criminal investigation, not that I know of, but I think the experts are sitting right next to me, so let’s let them comment. 

Commissioner O’Neill: We’d have to discuss it with our Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters. 

Question: [Inaudible] at this time, a criminal investigation?

Commissioner O’Neill: No.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: But again, this – I will be straightforward – this is the first time that your colleague and you have mention legal option. It has not been the focus of our many discussions inside the administration, which have all been about addressing the immediate dynamic. I think it’s a very interesting question. If there is a legal action we can take, civil or criminal, I would take it – so, I can tell you that for sure. I don’t know if anything the anti-vaxxers have done rises to the level of illegality. I think it’s immoral, I think it’s hurting people, I think it’s putting lives in danger. I don’t know under the law if there’s some way to go at it. But if there is, you bet we will. 

Question: Just back to the question of the BOE. I think Michael Ryan and some others had suggested the City wants to exert more control over them they can do through the budget, and I’m wondering if that’s anything you’ve looked at. There was a question of voting machines, for example. You could specify you have to buy this one with the money, and then they would sort of have to do – do their work within the parameters, the budget allocation. 

Mayor: It’s a challenge. It’s a fair question, but it’s a really challenging dynamic. We’re very angry at – it’s quite clear – at the Board. And you know, there were questions about, for example, should we not provide extra money for all of these special elections, or all of the additional staffing, and it just doesn’t feel like the moral thing to say no to that. We feel between a rock and hard place because we want the elections to go on and we want them to work better, so cutting off the money to run the day-to-day is hardly a productive solution. But I thought the forceful incentive approach – here’s $20 million, or in the more recent here’s $75 million – again, where I come from that’s a lot of money and that should get everyone’s full attention. But this arcane group that, you know, does not answer to the people, they’re not accountable to the people. And that’s a huge problem, that’s why it’s a structure that just doesn’t work anymore. But I don’t know if there’s some way to use our budgetary power to specify a certain machine. I’m not sure legally, with the State jurisdiction over the Board of Elections we would be able to do that, honestly. But I hope all of those controversy will force a change, because the status quo is broken at the Board of Elections. 

Question: You said earlier this week that you didn’t really want to weigh in on what the rush was for the Department of Homeless Services to move forward with 44 Victory Boulevard on Staten Island for the homeless shelter and, you know, whether you would be willing to potentially move that plan – 200 family shelter – to Bayley Seton Hospital, the former campus, if Staten Island elected officials came to an agreement with the Salvation Army until you’ve –

Mayor: I do remember. 

Question: Have you talked to them?

Mayor: I owe you an answer and I actually had a note to myself to get the answer ready and did not do so. So, Freddi, bonus round – I’m going to get the answer today and we will come back to you before your deadline. 

Last call, going once, twice – yeah?

Question: Given that Dante is graduating this year, do you think he will campaign with you like he did in 2013? Will he grow out his fro again?

Mayor: Wow. Dante will have a separate press secretary for his hair. I’m not going to speak for him. He is right now focused on graduating and starting out his own life, and it’s premature to talk about – first of all, we have to make a decision as a family, once and for all. And, by the way, Andrea, that’s going to be in the month of May. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Yeah, Marcia, it’s May. And a very fair follow-up – May 2019, I just wanted you to know that. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Not May-ish – actual May. 

Question: What else happens in May in your life?

Mayor: My anniversary – my 25th wedding anniversary, May 14th. 25 years, married under –

Question: [Inaudible]

[Laughter]

Mayor: What a romantic thing to do. 

[Laughter]

That will be a real winner. So, I will agree that the date May 14th falls in May, that was astute. May 8th is my birthday, that’s a true statement. 

Question: Wow, May is big month for you.

Mayor: May is a big month. May 8th also does occur during the month of May, but I haven o further comment on the likelihood –

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: How old? I am, this hour, of this day, 57. I will be 57 for a few more days. I’m enjoying every moment of it. Did I answer your question?

Question: Even this moment?

Mayor: Yes, even this moment, because we’re all talking about good things that happen in May. 

Question: What are you doing with your 25th wedding anniversary? 

Mayor: This is a big discussion going on right now. 

Question: [Inaudible] is that silver?

Mayor: That is silver. 

Question: What do you do?

Mayor: You don’t necessarily do what everyone does, you do what would be nice to do as a couple. That’s what we’re going to do. 

Question: [Inaudible]

[Laughter]

Mayor: And with that – thank you, everyone. 

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