May 9, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Everybody, we are going to do something a little different. Obviously this city, this state went through a horrible shock last night and I want to speak to that up front, and, if you have questions, I want to take them upfront and then we will go into the press conference that we planned to have about the fight against crime in this city. But what we saw yesterday evening was absolutely disgusting. The Attorney General of our state, accused of doing things that no one should ever do, let alone someone involved in law enforcement. And I think like so many people in this city, first hearing there was an article and then, finally, when I finally was able to break from my schedule and read the article, I was horrified – page after page about worse and worse and worse, and it was horrifying, and it was disgusting, and it was unacceptable in every way.
And the only thing that bore any truth from the Attorney General was the statement that he had made in the past about this being a moment of reckoning in our country. That’s still true, it’s a moment of reckoning and now the reckoning has come to him. No one can do this to another human being, you can’t abuse people, you can’t harass them, you can’t use your power against them, you can’t threaten them, you just can’t do that. No one can do that. And people sworn to uphold the law especially are held to the highest standard.
So it was just as disturbing as it could possible could be. And thank God he resigned quickly and didn’t put this state through a nightmare. But the most important thing here is brave women came forward and told the truth and their stories were honestly so troubling because they felt threatened, they felt that they would be made vulnerable by telling the truth instead of feeling that they knew that they would be supported. And this is something that this moment of reckoning has to lead us all to – an atmosphere in which anyone by the way women who are so often the targets of this harassment and abuse, but sometimes it’s men as well, that whoever the victim is, that they can come forward and know they will be believed and supported.
And I want to say to anyone who was victimized by the Attorney General and has not yet come forward, please do come forward to the NYPD and rest assured you will be believed and the information will be important to protecting others and will be important because it is part of breaking this chain where people feel that they can’t speak up. We have to, this moment in history that once and for all affirm the notion that anyone who has been victimized can speak up, should speak up, will be supported and believed when they speak up.
So that’s what I just wanted to say to reflect on what was one of the most painful and unusual few hours I think any of us have ever experienced in public life in this city and state. With that I want to just welcome your questions on this and then we will go back to the press conference as planned. Yes, Erin.
Question: [Inaudible] very quickly last night but is there any reason Governor Cuomo and some other folks were calling on him to resign that you didn’t say anything before you know, he actually resigned or until now. Is there any reason you didn’t request he resignation?
Mayor: I wanted to read the article and by the time I got through doing other things and got to reading it and I was horrified by it, and literally very soon thereafter he had resigned. I also was wanted to try and say something bigger about what was happening here and this was obviously the setting to do it. But it happened very, very quickly obviously. Marcia.
Question: I wonder Mr. Mayor is we will be [inaudible] the Police Commissioner –
Mayor: Say again?
Question: I wonder if you will be asking the Police Commissioner if you have the Sex Crimes Unit interview these women and contemplate charges to be brought?
Mayor: I want to just state the obvious and pass to the Commissioner – this should now be handled like every other allegation, we want a full investigation, we want everyone who knows anything about it to come forward to the police but take it from there.
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Yes, I read the article last night as soon as it was posted. These are very serious allegations. Dermot Shea, the new Chief of Detectives had a discussion with Cy Vance this morning. We are going to get our investigative game plan going forward and make sure we contact the people identified in the article and make sure there is a full investigation into these, as I said very serious allegations.
Commissioner O’Neill: Sure.
Question: Governor Cuomo raised some questions today about whether Cy Vance was the right place for this investigation to be because at the time of the Attorney General was investigating Cy Vance’s handling of the Harvey Weinstein case. Are you both comfortable with the fact that the investigation being handled by the Manhattan District Attorney?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, at this time we are. We are comfortable working with Cy’s office to investigate these allegations. Yes?
Question: Commissioner had you received any complaints from any of these women [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: No one has filed any complaint reports yet.
Mayor: Okay, Gloria?
Question: Mr. Mayor, same question, following up on what Marcia asked. I just wondered if you believe it is appropriate for Cy Vance to be leading the investigation considering the Attorney General has asked to – was investigating him over the Weinstein allegations. So can you just speak to that obvious conflict there and if you think he should be in charge pf that?
Mayor: Not being a lawyer, I do not have a specific sense of the legal issues involved and whether that would be a concern. I will follow the lead of the Commissioner on this. Most important thing is that there is a fast and thorough investigation. Yes.
Question: You mentioned wanting an environment where women feel safe to come forward with these allegations. I’m just wondering in that context, do you also not see a value in someone such as yourself speaking out perhaps a little bit more quickly about the event once you were aware of it.
Mayor: I needed to read the article and that was the right thing to do and again by the time I did, it was essentially the time when he resigned. Yes?
Question: Mr. Mayor there’s been a report that Alicia Glen may want to run for Attorney General. Do you think that’s a good idea, would you support her, or do you have any –
Mayor: I think we need to – again, I have not had that conversation with her. She certainly has not indicated that to me. But we are less than 24 hours after a horrific event and I think we all, you know all of us in public life need to step back for a moment now and sort of regroup and think about what this means. It’s a horrible, painful episode, especially for the women who were victimized but for the whole state. So I’m not going to speak to successors just yet. Yes?
Question: Based on the charges, the allegations set forth in the New Yorker article which you said you read, do you think that Mr. Schneiderman should face charges?
Mayor: Based on what I’ve read? Yes.
Question: Could Mr. Schneiderman face criminal charges for that Police Commissioner?
Commissioner O’Neill: Listen we have to – these are real serious, very serious allegations and again, working in conjunction with the Manhattan DA’s office, that will be part of the investigation to see if and what charges Mr. Schneiderman—
Commissioner O’Neill: If and what charges he will face. I’m not going to speculate about charges.
Mayor: Okay, let’s do these two. Go ahead, first Bridgid
Question: There has been some concern as people have said, raised about DA Cy Vance’s office investigating it and the National Organization for Women in New York’s Sonia Ossorio has said that she thinks a special prosecutor should be assigned for this case for the investigation. Is that something that you would be open to given the conflict that exists for Vance’s office?
Mayor: Well again, I am aligning to the Commissioner’s point that right now it’s assigned to the DA’s office and that needs to proceed. And again I’m not a lawyer so I don’t have a view of the intricacies but you know I think all options should be on the table, let’s see what happens with this immediate one.
Question: Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter in the aftermath of the report to criticize Eric Schneiderman for the physical abuse allegations. What do you make of that in light of the fact that the president has been accused of such misconduct?
Mayor: I find it troubling. What I don’t understand in all of this is what happened, what came out last night again could not be more troubling and disgusting and unacceptable. But at the same time we have the President of the United States who has been accused by numerous women of harassment and abuse and there has never been an investigation, something is profoundly wrong with that. So I have not seen their tweets but more to the point, I don’t understand in this moment of reckoning how the one person who has not gone through an investigation is Donald Trump when there are numerous allegations from numerous individuals so we shall see.
Question: Can I just ask one quick last question?
Question: I mean, you’re not going to give us a name. But can you speak to just to the general process now of nominating another person. Do you think that there should be a place holder candidate?
Mayor: It’s just too soon. Again, I have not digested, you know, the next steps yet. You know, give me a few days and I’ll speak to that. Alright let’s go –
Question: You [inaudible] for a long time. Do you have any indication that anything like this was happening?
Mayor: Of course not. Okay, we’re going to go back to the matter at hand.
Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for being here, you’re going to hear from Mayor de Blasio again after I get done speaking and then for her first appearance as the new Chief of Crime Control Strategies, Lori Pollock will go over April crime figures for you and then we’ll take your questions. Dermot, I don’t think you have any specific cases you want to talk about, but I’m sure we’ll cover something in Q-and-A. First, I want to say congratulations to Lori and Dermot and to Phil Walzak our new DCPI who many of you have already met. With yesterday’s promotions and appointments I think we’re really in a good place in terms of some great minds and the right positions at the NYPD executive level. I am highly confident that as we move ahead both as an organization and as a city we’ll continue to make solid headway against the [inaudible] crime you will see, and last week we did have some pockets of violence that we saw. We saw at the 7-3 in Brownsville, we had some issues, some challenges up in the Bronx, but working with [inaudible], with the people and Dermot’s shop, Chief of Detectives we’re going to move as quickly as possible to make sure that we push down the violence in Brownsville and up in the Bronx. We also have to continue to strengthen trust and built on all those important relationships our cops are fostering the people they serve each and every day in every neighborhood in each of the five boroughs.
And from my heart I want to thank those of you who made the trip out to Orange yesterday to the Kessler Institute to witness what I consider a miraculous event, it truly was – Detective Dalsh Veve heading home from the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Last June, I think – I know Terry and everybody else from the executive staff and the Mayor was in a lot optimism about his recovery. What his family and Kessller and KCH Kings County hospital have managed to accomplish over the last 11 months is nothing short of a miracle. Dalsh has still a long way to go but there is recognition there. That’s something we did not see in the beginning. I got at thumbs up from him yesterday, he gave me a solute. He knew who I was. As you see when he was being wheeled out of the hospital by Ester his wife holding onto his three-year-old daughter. I think everybody that was there really felt that moment. I know it moved me. This is a guy that was out there doing his job, doing his best to protect the people of this city, and the people that live and work at the 6-7 and what happened to him should happen to no cop, should happen to no person. So, as we move forward I just hope that you keep track of his progress. Let people of this city know what is happening to him. That we don’t forget about him, and we won’t. I know the people sitting up here and the 54,000 people at work for the NYPD won’t forget about him. But he is a man that’s got a long road ahead of him and I wish him and his family all the best, and we’re going to do all that we can to fully support him. An amazing progress he’s made in less than a year. I also want to thank [inaudible] works at Kessler and his staff how they treated Dalsh and, quite frankly, how they treated his whole family and how they treated the men and women from the 6-7 who went there each and every day. Inspector Joe Golado was out in Jersey yesterday, I want to thank him, he is the former CO of the 6-7 and the current CO of the 6-7 Elliot Colon came out also with many people from the 6-7 Precincts. Elliot was promoted full inspector yesterday but he thought it was important enough for him to come to Orange and see Dalsh get released from the hospital. So, I know he’s going to continue get better, and I know we’re going to be thinking about him and his family.
So I am going to turn it over to the Mayor now. Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: Thank you very much, Commissioner. And look I want to just echo part of what the Commissioner said – Detective Dalsh Veve extraordinary human being. This recovery is almost unbelievable. I visited with him and his wife in the rehabilitation facility several months ago and you know there was hope, but the notion that this soon he would be able to solute the police commissioner, know everyone, and talk is just absolutely outstanding. It is so encouraging such, ad good man, such an distinguished officer to see him coming back, and his wife Ester deserves a lot of credit in this, because she has been absolutely persistent and focused and supporting every piece of the recovery. But also she has been the voice of hope. I think a lot of, a lot of us felt sometimes a little sad when we were around him, and she was always the positive persons saying no he is going to pull through, he is going to pull through, and she was right. So tremendous credit to her and so good to see him going home and just a powerful, beautiful New York story his life – you know childhood immigrants who did so much to help this city and now this city owes him a great debt of gratitude and we need to stay by his side. I also want to echo what the Commissioner said about the important promotions and changes in the leadership that have occurred, it’s a fantastic team. I want to commend all of the leadership at the NYPD here, but a special congratulations to Dermot Shea as our new Chief of Detectives. A special congratulations to Lori Pollock who our new Chief of Crime Control Strategies and I had the great opportunity to spend some time to talk to Lori about the role and I am so impressed by the way she thinks and what she’s done in her 31 years on the force and her commitment to this police force, to this city. So, a great step to have her in this role, and Phil Walzak he’s a pretty good guy too. So congratulations to him as the new DCPI. I also want to thank our partner in this work, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Donovan Richards. Thank you for being here today and thank you for all the work we’re doing together.
So, the NYPD continues to innovate, continues to work even harder to drive down crime and month after month we’ve seen an extraordinary progress. This April just passed was the safest April we’ve ever had. I was to say it again, this April just passed was safest April we’ve have ever had. And we know not every month is going to be perfect, and we know we’ve had tough few days now at the beginning of May but the sustained progress is outstanding and it speaks volumes. So for the month of April, April 18’ versus April 17’ overall index crime down almost four percent for the third straight month we saw a decrease in shootings and that’s down almost 28 percent April 18’ versus April 17’. And you know, we had a record year last year we’re still ahead of pace this year compared to last year. Again, at the end of April, year to date overall again overall index crime down almost four percent, murders down over nine percent, shootings down almost 11 percent. So you know we keep saying that we can go farther and we keep proving it’s possible. I want to give all my thanks to the men and women of the NYPD. 2017 was the safest year on record since Harry Truman was president. We want to see what history we can set in 2018 and keep going farther to keep the people of this city safe. And I also want to say I understand this work is always tough for our officers but I really believe more and more they have allies and friends at a every community and neighborhood policing is helping everyone to support each other, and I think this is kind of something that is going to grow and grow over the coming years – just a few words in Spanish.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that I want to turn to our new Chief of Crime Control Strategies again, with warm congratulations to Lori Pollock.
Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock, NYPD: Thank you Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon. As I get the baton passed to me from Chief Shea, I’d like to say overall index crime in April is down 3.8 percent. That is a decrease of 285 crimes. April does set another record month for this Department.
This April 7,199 index crimes breaks last year’s record low for April of 7,484. Our murder we saw a slight uptick, 22 versus 21 in April. Shooting incidents down an incredible 49 from 68 last year in April, to give some perspective, 49 shootings are half the shootings we had in April 2012 only six years ago when there were 98 shootings.
Rape is up 44.5 percent. Robbery, another great month for the first time ever we were below the 1,000 mark for robbery this April, with 900 compared to 1,050 last year. Felony assaults are flat, 1,556 versus 1,556. Burglaries, down slightly, 1.8 percent, 905 versus 922. Our grand larcenies are also down, 6.4 percent, 3,241 versus 3,462. We see a slight uptick in our auto thefts, they are up 49, 13.8 percent, and our arrests continue decrease but our index crime arrests are up for April 2 percent, so, thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, any questions? We could take some questions about the Crime Report first? Ashley?
Question: Chief Pollack, could you go over the rape numbers you mentioned [inaudible] could you tell us the numbers and what they mean?
Chief Pollock: They were actually up 44.5 percent, 172 versus 119, so that would be 53 reports for the month of April.
Questions: Are those new assaults? Are they past assaults? What are [inaudible]?
Chief Pollock: I can get you that afterwards and break it all down for you.
Mayor: You’re supposed to call on someone.
Commissioner O’Neill: What?
Mayor: Call on people.
Commissioner O’Neill: Oh, I’m sorry, I was writing notes, any other questions about crime? In the back.
Question: Commissioner there was a report in the papers that subway robberies are up 17 percent?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, most of that increase was in the beginning of the year, but Chief Delatorre will speak about the increase in robberies year to date in the subway system. Ed?
Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre, NYPD: Yeah, so that’s accurate. The robberies were up for the year to date. What happened is was early in the year, the months of January, February, and March, we had increases in robbery, and they were basically in Manhattan. Since then we moved some resources around and for the month of April we actually only had five robberies in Manhattan and if you go back for the last four weeks, you’ll see that we’ve had only one a week. So Manhattan is now trending down significantly, and that’s where we had our spike earlier in the year.
Question: Chief Delatorre, when you talk about robberies, what are we talking about? Are we still talking about people sleeping and there cell phones or people running up on them and taking their money and belongings?
Chief Delatorre: No, we’re talking about – well sometimes people sleeping and waking up – but when we talk about robberies, we’re talking about the use of force. So in some cases it could start out as a sleeping passenger but there’s always got to be a force element for it to be a robbery.
Question: [Inaudible] catching those people who are responsible for victimizing others [inaudible] –
Chief Delatorre: Yeah we’ve done a pretty good job – actually we caught out of 159 robberies that we’ve had in the system year to date, we have 123 arrests. So if from case to case throughout, we have more than half the robberies committed. So some of those are multiple perpetrators, but we’re more than half the robberies committed in the system, we do have arrest. Sometimes they’re live arrests, we have plain clothes officers deployed throughout the system, and sometimes it’s the Transit Robbery Squad that does the follow-up. We’re getting great cooperation from the public snapping those pictures of people in the subway when they do commit the robberies and the grand larcenies and the sex crimes, and that’s also helping us an awful lot.
Commissioner O’Neill: Hey, Dean I’m just – hold on Rocco, just one second – Dean, so that’s – just keep in mind it’s an eight percent reduction in overall crime in the subway system, so that’s 71 crimes. That’s a significant decrease. If there is a robbery on the transit system either patrol, as Ed was talking about, maybe someone in plain clothes will make an arrest on the spot and if not we have a Transit Robbery Squad in each every borough in New York City to make sure those crimes are fully investigated and those perpetrators are brought to justice. Rocco?
Question: Chief, any of those robberies part of a patterns or are they individual robberies by and large?
Chief Delatorre: They’re individual robberies by in large. We had some patterns earlier in the year but those patterns were not just transit patterns. We had robberies where we’d catch somebody and he was part of a pattern, say topside up in the street as well.
Question: Commissioner, pulling it together, what do you think is the most important factor in these statistics and the direction we’re heading?
Commissioner O’Neill: I think the most important factor is working with all 8.5 million New Yorkers quite frankly. I think neighborhood policing is paying off for us, it’s paying off in crime reduction, and it’s paying off in building trust and as long as we continue to build that trust, people will come forward to report crimes and people will also come forward to help us solve crimes. Dermot’s people, and the Detective Bureau, the Precinct Detective Squads to people assigned to narco, gang, vice, all the federal task forces that we have, we concentrate on that very small amount of people in New York City that are involved in violence and crime. That’s been the strategy for four years now and we continue to see a downward trend. But again, last week in Brownsville and a neighborhood up in the 48, up in the Bronx, and out in the Far Rockaway, we did an increase in shootings and we have to be mindful of that each and every day.
Question: So speaking of shared responsibility you talk about all the time, there’s been a couple stories written about Duane Reades and [inaudible] larcenies, specifically Upper West Side, taking place in Duane Reades. I went and talked to that precinct captain and he’s hoping that company, Walgreens, invests in some more security outside saying, you know, look we need help. Do you feel like Walgreens is kind of holding up there end of the bargain when it comes to –
Commissioner O’Neill: I – unless Terri you want to talk about this – I haven’t had any direct discussions with Walgreens but if that’s something we need to talk about, I’ll definitely –
Chief of Department Terence Monahan, NYPD: It’s mostly with the Duane Reades, they’ve been hitting with some organized crews that have been going up to Duane Reades. So up in the 2-0 and the Lower West Side there, I know we’ve had a lot of issues. We have constant discussions with them on how they can prevent these larcenies from happening and it’s something we’re going to continue. They work with us and they’ve made some improvements and we’re always looking to make better improvements.
Question: Just to clarify, I said that Walgreens owns the Duane Reades.
Chief Monahan: Does it? Okay. I said Duane Reades stores, I really only know is crime reports.
Question: Are there are any particular subway lines or subway stations that are hard hit for robberies?
Chief Delatorre: Not currently, no.
Commissioner O’Neill: Tony?
Question: Commissioner, since you brought up Neighborhood Policing, I periodically ask this, there’s an internal survey that you’ve been working on, that’s been going on for sometime, are you any closer to getting it done? And is there any problem getting it out or are you not getting the results that you expected?
Commissioner O’Neill: No, I don’t know – what- the results that we expected are the results that we’d get. I’m not expecting any – I would hope that there is an increase in morale and increase in trust and we were briefed on the initial results that – of the internal survey, and in most areas it’s positive and at some point in the near future we’d be able to share with you but right now it was an executive level briefing. So it was good to see the results, we had an overwhelming response to the survey, the statistical difference was plus or minus, actually 0.46 percent, so the amount of people that responded to this survey was in it of itself a positive thing, a positive message to the Police Department. That’s how much the men and women care about what they do. So at some point in the near future we will be able to share with you, not just yet though Tony. David?
Question: Just to follow up, is there a new surveying that’s going to go on? Or what’s going to happen between the release of whatever you data you have now and what the public sees?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, this is something that we’re not sure if it’s going to be quarterly or every six months, or every year, just to take the temperature of internally how the Department is doing their roles and responsibilities and the changes that we asked them undertake over the last three years. So this isn’t going to just be one snapshot, this is something we have to do over time to make sure we continue to move in the right direction.
Commissioner O’Neill: The results of the survey, where we are. I don’t know what specific questions, hopefully most of them, if not all of them because we are a transparent police department, but at this point we were just briefed on this recently over the last two weeks. Rocco?
Question: The Chief back in February when DA Vance announced his new policy towards prosecuting – or not prosecuting – most fare evasion cases, you raised some concerns about two arrests that had taken place some days earlier, both of them involving people that your office obviously, you saw as public safety threats. That dialogue between your office and the DA’s office about who falls under that category, and who should and should not prosecuted, where is that at this point?
Commissioner O’Neill: It’s still a work in progress, we’re getting closer. As you did – in your newspaper pointed out- there is a reduction in fare evasion arrests year to date and there was also increase in robberies in the beginning of the year. Is there a direct correlation? We can’t say that just yet but our definition of a public safety threat and Cy Vance’s definition still differs but we’re working to make sure we close that gap, but keep the people that ride that subway safe each and every day, and I think it’s – what’s the number per day, index crimes per day?
Chief Delatorre: We average about between six and seven crimes a day with a ridership of roughly six million a day, sometimes it exceeds six million, so we’re talking about one crime per million people per day. And if you’re looking at robberies by the way, we had one robbery per day in the month of April, for the whole system.
Question: [Inaudible] fair aversion and summons, how would you explain that? Chief Delatorre has described a change in tactics where police were being posted further away from turnstiles, that might be –
Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, about half of – and Eddie you can go into this to a little bit more detail, about half the crime is taking place on the trains and half the crime is taken place on the subway stations, the mezzanines, the platforms so we have to make sure that we are constantly looking at deployment. We did move more people to train patrol we have night time train patrol now too. SO that moves some of the people away from the turnstile area too so Ed, I don’t know if you want to add anything to that.
Chief Delatorre: Yes, that nighttime train parole goes to address the sleeping passenger issue. We were seeing a lot of sleeping passenger grand larcenies, so we’ve deployed a large number of officers on the midnights to go throughout the entire city to stay on the same line, going through the different boroughs and through the different transit districts. And those officers obviously are there to be there until about 6 am and wake up any of those sleeping passengers and let them know that they are at risk if they fall asleep.
Unknown: Let’s do two or three more please.
Commissioner O’Neill: Marcia.
Question: I wonder if Chief Shea could tell us what role these detectives are playing in the Schneiderman investigation.
Chief Shea: Which investigation?
Question: The Schneiderman investigation.
Chief Shea: Yes, so I learned of it yesterday, almost immediately I was in communication – that’s the first I had heard of it – almost immediately was in contact with the Manhattan DA’s office. I did speak to Cy Vance myself this morning. Both the Manhattan DA’s office and the NYPD had not received to this point any complaints from any of the individuals mentioned in the report but as everyone has made perfectly clear it’s obviously a troubling report. We will be reaching out in conjunction with the Manhattan DA’s office to the potential victims mentioned in that report and the investigation will go forward from there.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, so crime questions still?
Question: Do the victims need to file a report or press charges in order to continue to go forward with the criminal case?
Chief Shea: We would need a victim to go forward and make a report but obviously it is incumbent on us – learning the potential for that, reading that article, we will take for the forward step of reaching out to them and then we will go from there.
Question: Has the statute of limitations lapsed as far you know or it is still within –
Chief Shea: I don’t want to comment of anything, what I know is probably what you know and what I read is not always accurate so we will conduct investigation, we will interview them personally, we tend to get more information when we do it face to face like that and then we will go from there.
Commissioner O’Neill: Tony.
Question: For Chief Pollock, the uptick you say in homicides, does that track or closely track to the violence trends you saw an uptick in like Williamsburg and other places? Was there any cluster to the increase?
Chief Pollock: Well the Bronx had seen an increase. That was where the increase was concentrated.
Commissioner O’Neill: John.
Question: I just wanted to ask you about a homicide in the 70 Precinct, You have someone in custody –
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright so we are moving on from crime stats? Okay, yes Sir.
Question: Relatedly to Chief Pollack on homicides, homicides are up but shooting incidents are up but shooting incidents were down. If it’s not shooting incidents, gun violence driving homicides are you seeing any other particular cause in murder cases?
Chief Pollock: Gang violence, gang activity is the driver right now, that’s what we are seeing.
Question: [Inaudible] Bronx in particular?
Chief Pollack: Well Bronx had seen an increase for the month of April.
Commissioner O’Neill: Hey Lori, do you have a breakdown of homicide by what weapon? Was it a stabbing, was it a shooting, I think that’s what you were driving at here?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, okay. And if you don’t we can get that to you –
Chief Pollock: It was more shooting violence as opposed to stabbing in the month of April. But I will give you the exact numbers at the end.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright moving on, more police related topics.
Question: [Inaudible] the spike in [inaudible] easily finds that this increase in hate crime. Is it a [inaudible?]
Commissioner O’Neill: Dermot do have the current hate crime numbers? We are actually down for the year, hate crime numbers.
Chief Shea: Yes, I can give you the specifics at the end – significant drop off, the majority of our hate crime statistics generally come from anti-Semitic, and that’s the case again this year. But really across the board we are seeing significant drops this year and that’s a good thing. But still too many quite frankly of all types, but the good news is in 2018 we are trending down in hate crimes in New York City.
Question: This is for the 70 – you have someone in custody for homicide?
Chief Shea: Yes, so about 6 pm yesterday, we were called to the basement of 155 Stratford Avenue in the 70 Precinct where we encountered a male, white, 66, that ultimately passed away from numerous stab wounds. Still early in sorting out the details of this case but we do in fact have a person in custody and we are trying to at this point to determine what the motive was of this incident. It appears at this time that there was in some a known to relationship between these individuals in the past.
Question: How did they know each other?
Chief Shea: Preliminary at this point but there are reports that the deceased was a professor and the individual in custody may have been a former student. But again that’s preliminary and it’s subject to change.
Question: Can you speak to last night’s incident where a civilian was attacked allegedly by Cardi B’s body guards?
Chief Shea: Yes, so we do have a report of an assault in the 19th Precinct – occurred about 2:15 in the morning. What we have is a video that was made aware to us of an individual that I have seen myself, essentially it shows an individual having a loud, boisterous, alcoholic conversation with a the entourage of allegedly Cardi B. At some point three individuals run over and physically assault this individual. Difficult to ascertain on the video, but what you see is essentially somebody punch, the individual goes down, and then there is a flurry of either additional punches or a kick to that individual. So, 19th Precinct Detective Squad currently has that case and that’s where we are at right now.
Question: Are you reaching out to her entourage?
Chief Shea: We will be interviewing all parties as well as witnesses involved in the incident.
Question: In the video do you see Cardi B? Can you see her in this video?
Chief Shea: I did not.
Question: If the entourage has fled the city or has flown to wherever they may be today, how do you proceed to continue to investigate that?
Chief Shea: I think it’s been proven over time, we have a very long reach and a very long memory so I have the utmost confidence that if there was in fact a crime committed, which apparently there was, we will bring whoever is responsible to justice. And if I could I’ll point out a case just hours ago, a perfect case to highlight that. Very good news for the residence of Queens where just hours ago in Columbia, South Carolina we apprehended and are in the process of bringing back the individual that was involved in that horrific assault in the 107 Precinct last week. So I’ve the utmost confidence in my detectives, as well as in our partners and a special thanks to the Marshalls’ for our help in that case.
Question: [Inaudible] Kew Gardens [inaudible]
Chief Shea: Correct.
Commissioner O’Neill: Rocco.
Question: Chief could you elaborate on that and just to clarify on Schneiderman – I know you said the four women who were in the article have not previously come forward but have any other women come forward since the publication of the article?
Chief Shea: Not as of yet, no. Rocco.
Question: And on the 107, could you?
Chief Shea: The 107, just earlier this morning in a motel in Columbia, South Carolina we apprehended without incident the individual that we were looking for the 107th case. He’s being brought back as we speak on a probation violation. And that will continue as we go forward.
Commissioner O’Neill: Ashley.
Question: Chief, in the 70, back to the 70 homicide, can you tell us more about what he did before he went into the home and if, it assumes that he broke in or if was let in by the professor?
Chief Shea: I don’t want to get too much into the details of the case and there are a number of details. What I will say at this point in time is that it appears or we are at least getting reports that, I’m confident in saying there was some sort of knowledge between the parties in that house and this individual. The exact nature of what he was doing, I’ll stay away from at this point in time.
Question: There’s a report that he stalked the professor’s daughter right before entering the home.
Chief Shea: Yes, I’m not going to comment on that.
Question: I would like to go back subway enforcement briefly if Chief Delatorre still here. So there’s a law suit that’s currently before the public division that’s challenging the transit recidivism policy as unconstitutional. There’s a brief by [inaudible] community advocacy groups, Community Service Society, Legal Aide. Their argument is the policy, because it relays on past arrests that may have been dismissed or otherwise exposed of it violates these state’s sealing law and also there is an argument there that it exacerbates kind of racial disparities in policing that already exist. I wonder if one of you all could just confirm me the transit recidivist criteria again and also just kind of respond to this brief?
Chief Delatorre: I didn’t hear the last part of your question – you want to know what the transit recidivist criteria are?
Question: Yes that’s one part.
Chief Delatorre: So, there are a couple different ways you can become a transit recidivist. The first three times you jump the turnstile, you don’t get a criminal summons or an arrest unless you have an open warrant, you get a civil tab summons. There is not record of that, there is not finger print, you pay your civil fine and that’s the end of it. The fourth time you jump the turnstile, that’s when you’d get arrested for the State misdemeanor crime of theft of services. If you’ve committed a felony in the last year in the transit system, not a felony up top, but in the transit system you can be a transit recidivist. Obviously if we stop you for jumping the turnstile and you have an open warrant, we’re going to satisfy that warrant and you’ll also need to have identification to get both the tab summons and the criminal summons. With respect to the appeal, we’re confident that the appellate court is going to rule in our favor, we’re not going to comment further on pending litigation.
Commissioner O’Neill: Any other police related questions?
Mayor: Okay, other questions, yes?
Question: [Inaudible] I wanted to see how you feel about the plan to have those four supervised injections [inaudible].
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, the overdose prevention centers. So this is a subject that we had to take our time and make sure that we thought this out. You know, it couldn’t be just a quick reaction. We actually sent people to Toronto, we sent people to Vancouver. Listen we had in 2016, we had 1,400 people die of overdose, that’s in New York. Most of those were opioid related. In 2017, that number is predicted – that we don’t have final numbers yet for ‘17 – but that’s probably going to go up by five percent.
There is many ways the NYPD is involved in reducing opioid overdoses, and I think with the overdose prevention centers, we had to keep – quite frankly – we had to keep an open mind and it’s important that we do. We do a lot now, but I think we need to do more, we need to do as much as possible, because if that’s your brother, your sister, your son or daughter, I’m not sure if you want them overdosing at home, or overdosing in an ally way, there’s got to be – we got to think outside the box here.
There is a lot of issues that got along with this. There were crime issues that we saw up in Canada, there is quality of life issues, but rest assured if these centers, and when they open up, and the Mayor and I have had long discussions about this, there will be an NYPD presence, and the issues that we saw in other places, specifically up in Toronto and Vancouver, it won’t be replicated in New York City.
But it is important that we keep an open mind and try to reduce this number. Listen, 1,400 that’s – we had 290 homicides in 2017, that’s five times – I think, and probably more – I think it’s six times the murder rate in New York City. We had 225 traffic deaths, again five or six times the vehicle deaths in New York City. So, I know it’s tough for some people to think that way. I’m a law and order person, I’ve been a cop for 35 and a half years, but we have to do more here and I think this is a positive way to do that and if we can save a few lives moving forward, I think it’s worth going through with this pilot project.
Question: Do you want to say anything about what you saw in Toronto and Vancouver that –
Commissioner O’Neill: It wasn’t – it wasn’t, and Jack Donahue, I think he’s here – they weren’t multi-use buildings and the proposed sites in New York are multi-use buildings. We did see quality of life issues. We did see drug dealing. It wasn’t a 24/7 operation, so at one point we actually saw someone shooting up in the doorway of the center so this is a – it was good for us to see that to make sure that it doesn’t happen here, if and when these overdose prevention centers open up. Yes, sir?
Question: [Inaudible] possibly assaulted by Cardi B’s entourage, has been accused of assaulting or going – or hounding in the least – other celebrities. Do we know if he has any kind of past criminal –
Commissioner O’Neill: I don’t know, Dermot did you get that? We’re back to Cardi B.
Chief Shea: Can you repeat the question?
Question: [Inaudible] record at all, he’s been accused of like hounding celebs in the past.
Chief Shea: Yes, I’ve heard probably the same rumors but nothing that I would feel confident saying I can substantiate at this time.
Mayor: Okay we are going to other topics, any topics now. Looking at David.
Question: So I wanted to ask you on the fair fares, if you [inaudible] a lot of questions came in for your budget director. I wanted to ask you two related questions. One, you know why are you willing to subsidize a [inaudible] ride on the ferry without a millionaires tax yet you won’t, a subsidy for a subway? Why is it okay to do something for the ferry without a millionaires tax?
Mayor: They are two totally different things. The ferry system is run by the City of New York. It would never exist if it weren’t for the City of New York and we had to create more and better mass transit options.
Everybody keep it down – that means you, Monahan.
Commissioner O’Neill: He doesn’t know how to whisper.
Mayor: I’d like that man arrested right there. So, we have to create more mass transit options. We had no allusion that the MTA would do that – something we could do, we could do quickly, we could serve a lot of people as you know the initial projected ridership has been greatly, greatly exceeded. And it’s just the beginning of something that could have a much bigger ramification for the city.
Meanwhile I think the fair fare idea is the right idea. What I have said from the beginning is because it involves the MTA we have an opportunity to address the MTA situation overall and to cover the cost of the fair fare through the millionaires tax proposal you know I made last year.
With a number of other advocates, legislators who agree with that there were some doubting Thomas about the political possibilities, I argue strenuously it was always something that was going to be very popular the Quinnipiac poll that came out last month proved that. But beyond that the situation in Albany has change radically in just the last few weeks.
So I think this is a viable option. If you put the millionaires tax up against congestion pricing or commuter tax and try to determine which one is the most viable in the new Albany I would argue it is going to be millionaires tax. That would allow us to get a long term funding stream into the MTA and cover the fair fare on an ongoing basis. And my central concern after the State just took most of half a billion dollars from the City for the MTA is I don’t want to see recurrent efforts by the State to take money out of the MTA and I don’t want to see the City obligated to additional expenses to the MTA that will add to our fiscal burden when the real answer here is to come up with a sustained funding source of the MTA. It can’t be a constant turn to the City treasury. Oh, the thing that’s been delayed years and years are going to be delayed longer and I am throwing on another billion, you hold me accountable. Well, MTA needs to be held accountable. Our board members will, other board members who are independent are doing that. And we specifically said with the subway action plan. Okay we put the money in, now prove to us it is actually being used effectively. I [inaudible] the shape of things to come a much greater level of accountability held for the MTA going forward. Yes?
Question: [Inaudible] two part question. Have you given any thought of fast tracking some of the federal funding that you [inaudible] expedite those repairs, shoreline? Some proposed they re-enter [inaudible] tomorrow to spread out or transfer [inaudible] over the island from corrections to say Parks and Recreation to sort of diversify the ability to cope with the situation. Do you have any answer to that?
Mayor: I am concerned about the situation. I want to see it addressed, I do not start with the assumption that changing agencies will lead to a faster solution. A lot of times when you change agencies it actually slows things down so my mandate to the Department of Corrections is to fix the situation and to draw an existing resources and I will certainly do everything I can to support them in that. So I’ll get more specifics for you, but we have to address it. Other questions, yes?
Question: On the topic of EPA, it’s May. The [inaudible] session ends in June. When you are going to [inaudible] what kind of lobbying [inaudible] efforts to repeal the law? And I have a second question on a specific [inaudible]?
Mayor: Sure, on 50-A – well, it began back in February with my testimony and we’ve been talking to legislative and leaders and members ever since on how to get it done. There is obviously something that has strong views on all sides, it’s not a surprise. We’re going to do a major final push here. I don’t know what to expect from this legislative session in general. Sometimes in election year there is an impulse to do a lot of things and sometimes in an election year there is an impulse to do very little in Albany. I don’t know which one we’re dealing with yet. But we are going to do a major push. I’d like to get something done this year. Again, the world changed intensely in the last few weeks. If we do not get something do not get something done this year we’re going to go back into I think a much better environment for action in less than a year from now. What is your second?
Question: Separate question. Last month in [inaudible] the city lawyers said that the city would pull the clipboard from CPI just to know for 40 years [inaudible] releasing these records in violation of the law and Commissioner Kelly said in December 2016 that that’s not case that if you tried to remove the clip boards that [inaudible] the law department – his lawyers that he could not because that would violate the law that has been discussed in this case that was being argued before the first department. So my question to you is, why is the City advancing this false narrative about when they became aware of that these records allegedly violated 50-A?
Mayor: I disagree with your framing of the question respectfully, because this is the first time hearing of the history as you recounted. The history as I understood, it was because of FOIL request that led to both legal staff here at the department and at the law department to look at the situation they came jointly to the conclusion that there was a problem and it had to be addressed. Again, the real answer here is to get legislative relief. And this commissioner, his predecessor and I are united in wanting change in the law that would create the transparency that everyone wants and once in and for all settle the question.
Question: If you have the former Police Commissioner saying this is in fact not the case, then I don’t understand –
Mayor: Respectfully –
Question: This was a published account, I don’t understand how the city wasn’t aware –
Mayor: One, I have not seen it, and just speaking to me. I can’t speak for everyone else. I have never seen or heard of that before. Two, the former Police Commissioner also questioned whether the crime statistics under Commissioner Bratton were being kept properly, and I think that was proven to be a fallacy on his part. So, I am sorry, what he [inaudible] is not gospel truth. But if there is new information I certainly want to know it. I want to understand what the ramifications are. But I am answering you very specifically the decision was made by the lawyers of both agencies based on a FOIL request.
Question: I understand, you bring up his questioning of crime stats, and I think that’s different to question what someone else is doing than to say what you did personally. And he is saying what he did personally.
Mayor: Again, first time hearing it, [inaudible].
Question: Just to get back [inaudible]. I mean can you imagine a scenario in which you carve out a deal with the City Council to fund Fair Fares this year?
Mayor: I don’t do hypotheticals, David you know that. We are in conversation with the City Council on a whole host of items in their budget response. One of the important items in their budget response we actually put into the executive budget which was the fair student funding money. But there’s a lot that we’re discussing and we have to figure out how we’re going to handle it between now and adoption.
Question: [Inaudible] millionaire’s tax is a hypothetical?
Mayor: I don’t think a millionaires tax is a hypothetical in the least, I really don’t. But the point is, I put forward a vision a year ago, that says here is how you solve this problem. You know, I appreciate if you think that is somehow clever. But let me offer this. There has to be a decision in Albany on the future funding of the MTA. If we could make that decision we would make it. We don’t get to make. As I said, I think there is only three specific paths, I have not heard another one. I think from day one the millionaires tax, because it was specifically for New York City, directed at New York City millionaires and billionaires we were not asking suburbenites to pay, and I honestly thought for a lot of the suburban legislators that would make it more palatable. I think it was a viable idea from the beginning. I think it’s been made more viable by proof of its public popularity. I think it’s been made more viable by political changes in Albany, and I think it’s the best way to solve the problem. Yes?
Unknown: Last two.
Question: Have you made a decision about releasing those emails that the court ordered last week? Have you decided if you’re going to attempt to repeal that or if not – ?
Mayor: Exactly where I was a few days ago. We’re looking at the courts judgement, we are going to come to a final decision soon. And we’ll certainly announce it then. Yeah?
Question: Sir, any update that you can on the investigation to –
Mayor: [Inaudible] there you are.
Question: Into the death of Saheed Vassell from the NYPD and any indication of when you would or if you will release the names of the police officers
Commissioner O’Neill: I don’t have an update for you, I’ll get you one. The AG’s office is investigating that, so we’ll have to get an update for you.
Mayor: Okay guys, one more back there. Last one.
Question: So we’re going half past, half way towards the deadline for the city to [inaudible] emergency management for NYCHA. I am wondering what sort of meeting you’ve had with the Council Speaker about [inaudible] how many, and kind of where the process stands?
Mayor: I have spoken to the Council Speaker several times on it, staff have been meeting on it. There has been conversations with the resident leadership. There is still plenty of time to resolve it. That being said, we still have profound concerns about the executive order itself. And we’re working to address those and of course simultaneously there is a process going on with the southern district that we remain hopeful is going to lead to a settlement.
Question: Are there any names on the table at this point?
Mayor: It’s not time to talk about names yet. It’s a very initial positive conversation. When we get to a point when we have a name or names to talk about we’ll certainly make that public.