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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio And Police Commissioner O’Neill Hold Media Availability On Marijuana Enforcement

June 19, 2018

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you so much, Monique. I want to thank you, I’ve seen your work first hand and what you do to support young people in the community and to protect them and to create a positive atmosphere for them. And this is, I just want to say to everyone, this is very hard work and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of dialogue but you do it really, really well. I want to thank you for that and I appreciate what you’re saying that this announcement today is going to strengthen what you’re doing to help the community and protect the community and protect young people and answer some of those questions they have been asking. So, everyone, let’s thank Monique for the great work that she does. Thank you so much.

[Applause]

There’s a lot to talk about today but I just want to start at the beginning by thanking the two co-chairs of the working group that was put together to look at this very important issue. I want to thank Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison and NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing Susan Herman. And as we get into the discussion, we’ll turn to them on the specifics of the new policy.

I want to thank also, from City Hall, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Liz Glazer, who’s played a really crucial role here as well. And I want to thank – I know we have some very important advocates and activists with us. I want to thank all of them for the good work they do. I know this is an important day for all of them who have been working hard for these changes.

I particularly want to thank those involved in the Cure Violence Movement, Crisis Management System which is having a really big impact in communities around the city. Thank you so much for all you do.

[Applause]

This really gets to the fundamentals. Four years ago we all made a promise to the people of New York City that we would heal the wounds of the past, that we would bring our communities together and get safer at the same time. It was very important to recognize that a lot of what we have been told proved to be wrong, that there was a different way to do things, and that we had to heal. We had to look for a better path.

And in fact a lot of what had been done in the past was making it harder for us to get safer because communities and police did not have the relationship they needed. And our young people did not have the kind of dialogue with police that we needed them to have. This is an important step because this comes out of four years of having a different conversation between our police and our communities and of looking for different solutions and trying new things and finding that the new ways worked better than the old ways.

You know, it’s kind of amazing to think about four years ago, five years ago what was assumed in this town. Everyone knows there was a very strong set of voices saying if we took away the broken policy of stop-and-frisk that crime would inevitably go up. In fact, the opposite occurred.

And one of the things that happened so powerfully first under Commissioner Bratton and now under Commissioner O’Neill and his team is that it became clearer and clearer that fewer arrests could equal fewer crimes. It goes against, again, so much of the stereotypes, so many of the messages we all received for years, even decades.

But today’s NYPD has proven time and time again that you can arrest fewer people while making everyone safer. This is profoundly important. It still hasn’t really been fully recognized but I’m going to keep saying it – 100,000 fewer arrests in 2017 than in 2013 and yet we were much safer in 2017 than we were in 2013.

Well, it follows through to what we’re talking about today. And I want to be straightforward. We had to find our way on the issue of marijuana. It started a few years ago with deciding that we would not arrest for low-level possession. And the number of arrests for low-level possession went down greatly.

And again, we got safer at the same time. The fact is there is another piece of the equation and Monique referred to it – the lives that were being affected by arrest. And how we now understand that negative reality of anyone particularly a young person being held back by an arrest record for something minor and how it connects to the very troubled history we have in this city, this state, this country of mass incarceration. And we have to undo all of that. We have to turn in a different direction.

We know that we can make these changes the right way. We had to be smart about it, there had to be a lot of deliberation but we know we can do them the right away. And that’s why the NYPD, over this last month, studied this carefully and worked with a lot of other folks too – advocates and experts and unions that represent our officers of all ranks, the DAs, community leaders, academics – everyone was brought into the discussion.

And the notion was clear – to create a fair and consistent policy that would keep us safe but make us fairer at the same time. And that is what we are announcing today, the policy that will take effect on September 1st this year and you feel the effects of this policy in this city this year, 2018.

Under the new policy, New Yorkers with no prior record will receive a summons instead of an arrest for smoking marijuana publicly. And we believe that this will result in thousands of fewer arrests. In fact, next year we think at least ten thousand fewer New Yorkers will be arrested under this new policy, ten thousands lives that will be affected.

Now, we are convinced after four years of sustained progress that we can do this in a way that will continue to enhance public safety. We know there is a bigger discussion happening in this state, in this nation on the question of marijuana policy. And we have to be prepared for that. But we’re doing what we can do right now.

We’re doing what we can do in this city to be fairer, to listen to the voices of people, to make sure that we’re finding new and better ways of doing things. This plays out in so many ways and I want to remind you of one piece of this equation that we’re seeing already. I mentioned the 100,000 fewer arrests in 2017 than 2013. That is one of a number of factors that have led to a great decline of mass incarceration in this city.

In fact in that same time period, our jail population is down over 20 percent and it continues to decline, it continues to decline and that is crucial to the future of this city and families in this city.

So, today is a day where we take a step into the future, we take a step towards fairness, we take a step towards greater safety. And I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of this process. I think it’s been a smart and thoughtful process that’s taking us in a very positive new direction.

Let me say a few words in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, I want to turn to our Commissioner. I want to thank him and his team for very carefully and smartly looking at these issues and coming up with a new approach for this city. Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill –

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

[Applause]

Not too bad, only a couple blocks from my old precinct.

Mayor: There you go.

Commissioner O’Neill: I think it’s good morning still, it’s just about noon. As the Mayor said, we convened a working group a little more than 30 days ago and I’d like to thank all of them for all the great work that they did. It’s not just Rodney and Susan, it was a number of people that were involved in this. We had a lot of outside experts, reps from community groups, scholars, young people, our district attorneys – I know Eric was involved.

So, at a time when overall calls for service from the public about marijuana use are up across the city, one of the things we needed the working group to take a hard look at was why disparities exist in marijuana-related arrest rates. I can tell you that the NYPD does not target anyone based on race or any other demographic.

Police officers make observations, residents and other call 9-1-1 and 3-1-1. People walk into precincts to make complaints. They attend community council meetings. They tell our NCOs, our Neighborhood Coordination Officers, our steady sector cops about conditions that they want and need addressed. There really are a variety of ways and reasons that police officers and people who smoke marijuana end up interacting.

It’s those types of interactions we’ve been looking at. The NYPD is not in the business of making criminals out of people with no prior arrest history. We know that it’s not productive and it doesn’t further the NYPD’s goal of getting the people responsible for violence and disorder off our streets, and I talk about that all the time.

Over the last four years, our cops have demonstrated that it’s possible for the safest large city in our nation to get even safer. We’ve done it be precisely focusing on the real drivers of violence. When it comes to marijuana we always need to ensure that our enforcement is consistent with the values of fairness that are at the root of our neighborhood policing philosophy.

The bottom line is – and I’ve said this publicly many times before – the NYPD has no interest in arresting people for marijuana offenses and those arrests have no direct impact on public safety. And as a matter of policy, we must always make sure our cops can do their jobs effectively and safely in a way that promotes public safety and the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

Our continued progress on this front is possible when we all have a stake in it and we all share in the responsible. It’s how we’re making our way forward together as a police department and as a city.

I’m very optimistic about what’s ahead. I’m going to ask one of our co-chairs in the working group, Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, to go into the specifics of what we’ll be doing as we move ahead. Rodney –

[Applause]

Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison, NYPD: Thank you, Commissioner. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I had a great opportunity to work with Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman of Collaborative Herman and was a co-chair for a working group with senior leadership within the police department. We were asked to evaluate how we’re going to enforce public smoking.

The working group consisted of several meetings. We conferred with district attorneys, public defenders, elected officials, community leaders, minority [inaudible], union representatives, neighborhood coordination officers as well as commanding officers.

And we came up to a conclusion – smoking in public is still a public nuisance and it must be addressed. It is a quality of life issue that many New Yorkers are still concerned about. But the one thing that I love about this organization is we always evaluate what we’re going [inaudible] continuous evaluation of ourselves to see how we could develop public trust.

So both discretion and summons in lieu of arrests for low-level crimes is something that we believe can help strengthen our public trust. But there will be some carve outs.

If you have no ID or if you refuse to produce ID, you are subject to arrest. Parole or probation, existing arrests, past of violent crimes, or if there is behavior threat is an immediate threat to public safety such as operating a motor vehicle, you are subject to an arrest.

Smoking marijuana in public is a quality of life concern that we will continue to enforce and this new policy will reduce marijuana arrests by the thousands as well as not criminalize individuals for low-level offenses.

Promoting public safety remains our top priority. Thank you, Commissioner.

[…]

Mayor: Okay, we’re going to turn to our colleagues in the media and discuss this proposal – or, this new announcement, I should say – today. Go ahead –

Question: Mr. Mayor, now that we partially know some of the results from that study issues commissioned by the State, do you support legalizing recreational marijuana?

Mayor: I’ll speak for myself. I’m not there yet, and I’ll tell you why. I think we need a regulatory framework before that step is taken. Now, I think the reality is, in this state, the likelihood is next spring – is when action would be taken. That gives us time to address some real big issues. I have warned and my wife has warned as well of creating a situation in which, unfortunately, some of the same mistakes we saw with the tobacco industry or the big pharmaceutical industry are repeated with legal marijuana, where there’s a conscious effort to get more and more people to use their product for profit. There are real regulatory things that can be done inhibit that, to make sure that everyone is educated, particularly young people about the health issues and challenges that come with marijuana use. We need to put that in place at the beginning. We need to put in place at the beginning measures for fairness economically. I would hate to see legalization mean that a small few elite benefit economically, and a lot of people who should have opportunity in a new industry don’t get it. We’re on the dawn of something brand new, and we can either grapple with it and make sense of it upfront, or do what has happened too often in the past – you know, policies try and catch up decades later when a lot of damage has been done. So, I’m in the school of thought that says, first come up with a regulatory framework, and then it would be appropriate to move to legalization. 

Way back – let’s go all the way back. 

Question: So, one of the big questions here was, you know, research has shown, or at least surveys have shown that whites and blacks smoke pot more or less at similar rates but the arrests for smoking in public have been disproportionately black and Hispanic. One of the findings it seems from [inaudible] explanation that’s given here is that, well, there hasn’t been any research into how many white smoke in public, versus how many blacks and Hispanics smoke in public. Is that essentially how we’re supposed to understand this? That the cops are going where the public smoking is, and the public smoking happens to be more black and Hispanic?

Mayor: I’m going to start and turn to the experts, but I’d say – look, the underlying motivation here – we’ve talked about it before – is to reduce unnecessary arrest, which is something that we’ve been doing across the board with very positive impact, and reduce disparity. I think the two go hand in hand. Every time there’s one fewer arrest, inherently it means someone’s life is not affected as negatively. And we know overwhelmingly those arrests are people of color, particularly young men of color. So, every time there’s one less arrest, it’s one life affected in a different way. I try and look at this from a very grassroots level. I know this is going to have an effect on thousands and thousands of people. As to where policing is happening, and where complaints are happening – I’ll let the experts speak to that. 

Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing Susan Herman, NYPD: David, I’m going to address your question about, is that how we’re supposed to understand what’s going on. And I think the reason why we put in the report that there is no way of computing how much our arrest activity, our enforcement activity alone influences [inaudible] impact, is because we have no way of knowing what that base number is – how many people, and which races, and which ethnic groups smoke outside. So, the comparison to use is not really relevant to the conversation. We don’t really know who smokes outside and who doesn’t. We know who we see, we know about the complaints that we receive, and they come in in lots of ways – 3-1-1, 9-1-1, community meetings, NCO calls – and that’s what we know. The pure analysis of comparing use to disparate impact and arrest doesn’t make much sense. 

Question: The reason I asked that question is that in the press release it points out that the overarching – the overarching objective in the working group were to identify why differences in arrest rates exist. And this why question doesn’t seem to get answered in the report –

Deputy Commissioner of Equity and Inclusion Tracie Keesee, NYPD: Thank you, Deputy Commissioner Tracie Keesee with Equity and Inclusion and your correct the why did not get answered because that’s part of the issue. When we talk about the broader historical context around disparities, that’s one of the spaces we have carved out that we have to continue to look at. So part of the policy thinking around the summons piece will reduce the overall arrest numbers, but this issue of disparities is a larger complex one that we have to grapple with still.

Question: So the Police Department can shrug their shoulder on why?

Deputy Commissioner Keesee: No we did not shrug our shoulders on why. It’s more work that we have to do. So we recognize it, but it’s not shrugging our shoulders on why, definitely not.

Mayor: Yeah?

Question: Mr. Mayor –

Mayor: Like your shirt by the way.

[Laughter]

Question: Council Member Richards was pretty clear about why he thought there was a disparity, he attributed it to racial bias, and I’m wondering what you have to say about that?

Mayor: I think to the point that Deputy Commissioner just made is something we need to study more, but I would say that the immediate question here is how do we reduce disparity, reduce unnecessary arrest? We’re convinced that this will achieve that goal. I get the – I’m not belittling the theoretical question or the background question. I’m talking about actual people’s lives. This is going to affect actual people’s lives.

Now if you talk about the question of, overall how do you create fairness in policing? Well you do it in a variety of ways. Training, which this department has done an outstanding job of retraining all officers, things like de-escalation, now implicit bias training, these are the ways I think you create a whole new approach that really fosters fairness and also a different dialogue with community which is what neighborhood policing has been doing. So if we talk about, you know a society in a country that for 400 years had been undermined by bias and division and how we fix that, I think the things we’ve seen in just the last few years the NYPD really point in the right direction.

There is a very different reality on the ground than there was just four or five years ago. But that worked as an end, we don’t say, oh we’ve suddenly achieved perfect fairness, no one is suggesting that, it’s a series of steps. I know for thousands of people, particularly for thousands of young men of color, this announcement today will lead to more fairness in their lives.

Commissioner O’Neill: Could I just – Mr. Mayor could I just jump in here. So while I have a very good relationship with the Chair of Public Safety, I would have to disagree with him and I’ve been a cop for 35 and a half years now, I don’t agree with that broad statement. Anything that we do in the NYPD, particularly over the last four years, is to build trust and keep people safe. And we went from 2,200 homicides in 1990 to 290, we went from 5,000 shootings down to 790 shootings, is it – has our methodology been perfect, absolutely not, and I talk about that all the time.

So what we are doing here is to make sure that people who don’t have a tendency towards violence, homicide, shootings, robberies, are not affected by marijuana enforcement. You’re going to get a summons, but we’re not – we’re not going to arrest you. Since I’ve taken over, and I know Commissioner Bratton before, the way we run CompStat, we look every Thursday we look at summary arrest activity, and is it helping to drive down crime and violence. That’s our focus.

Mayor: Amen, Grace?

Question: I have two questions, the first is – is your expectation when this policy is put in place, that we will see a change in the racial disparity of the people who are still arrested for marijuana, is that a goal here, or is it just to get down the number of arrests? Will you be satisfied if we’re still seeing, you know, black and Hispanic men arrested eight times more than the number of white men, even when this policy is enacted?

Mayor: I don’t think any of us will be satisfied until we further the progress. So right away, the question is, how do we reduce unnecessary arrests? This is already proven to be a very positive thing for this city. When you reduce unnecessary arrest, you free up the time of our officers to do other important public safety work, when you reduce unnecessary arrest, you change the relationship between police and community for the better and clearly you change the lives of individuals for the better. That’s the thing I’m quite certain you’re going to see progress on quickly, in the process you’re inherently addressing disparity.

Again, in human terms, you guys are perfectly, fairly, are looking at percentages, and I don’t blame anyone for that. I’m looking at from the human level, if there is a lot fewer arrests overall, that’s really what affected people’s lives, but the work for fairness and equality in all we do never ends. So that’s going to be ongoing work and to the Deputy Commissioner’s point, that stuff we still have to look at. I think the big strands here, neighborhood policing, retraining the force, implicit bias training, are all going to help us deepen that. Marcia?

Question: [Inaudible] of this process to expunge the record of people who have been arrested in the past, if that’s the case, is that a number that you would get behind by either by calling on the District Attorney’s or [inaudible] and the City Council [inaudible] can do that?

Mayor: It’s a very important question and in the coming weeks we’re going to have a lot more to say on that. Look there is a burden of the past here, a lot of people were treated unfairly, and they’re living with the consequences and we want to find ways to address that. So we’re going to be working closely, NYPD, DAs, to come up with a new approach on that.

Question: Is that something that you would support?

Mayor: Again, I don’t want to speak until we have a vision of how to do it. Is it something that needs to be addressed, absolutely, do I expect we’ll have something important to say on it in the coming weeks? Yes.

Question: If the State moves to legalize marijuana as you said in the spring, how would that affect this program?

Mayor: Let me speak to that, but DA did you want to add?

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez: So we’ve been working in my office about dealing with these past marijuana convictions, we’ve been looking at the number of people in Brooklyn who have been convicted, and there are tens of thousands of people who actually have criminal records for marijuana. We’re in the process of creating a program using some of the current laws that are on the books, there is a sealing provision that we can use, and there are some other avenues that we’ve been exploring to go back and take a look at many of those cases and figure out how we either seal or vacate these prior marijuana convictions. So it’s ongoing, we’ll be working with the Mayor’s Office and some of my other colleagues, but in Brooklyn we expect to have an announcement in the next few weeks about how we get that done.

Question: Would you have to apply for it? Or would you do it automatically?

District Attorney Gonzalez: Well, we’ll get into the details, there’s – it depends on the sealing provision, there’s one way of doing it, and then to vacate convictions, people would actually have to apply.

Mayor: Okay, yes?

Question: [Inaudible] State legalization, what about this whole idea [inaudible] be given a summons, and if it’s legal, did you have to give that to them?

Mayor: Let me start, and then turn to the panel of experts here. First of all, one of the things we’re also doing immediately is convening a working group of a number of agencies, police department, health department, a number of agencies, to look at what legalization could mean for New York City, and to get ahead of it. There’s a lot of ramifications we have to think through, and we don’t want to just wait for something to happen, we want to decide in advance what we would have to do.

As I said, I think as folks consider this in Albany, and we all believe that’s not going to happen before the spring at this point, I’m going to be a very strong voice saying, you know, look before you leap, really think about the regulations we need, the preparation we need before we do this and try to get it right, but the City has to prepare on a host of levels. I would remind you, I’m not an expert, there’s one thing I have found from talking to all the experts, even in the states that legalized or decriminalized, people can use the proper terms, it was still not legal to smoke in public. There was still a sanction for smoking in public. So I think there’s been some understandable stereotyping here, people look at Washington State or Colorado they think anything goes, that’s not actually how it’s been. And as New York State looks at it, they are going to clearly reference those other models and I assume try and find some alignment with those other models. So I just want to put that in. Who wants to speak to the details?

Commissioner O’Neill: I’ll start and I think Susan wants to jump in. So there’s a lot of issues here with legalization and first is driving. You know, we have to – because right now it’s very difficult for a patrol officer to ascertain whether someone is driving under the influence alcohol, or marijuana, or any narcotics, so that’s first and foremost.

Then there is the age provision too. In many states the age is 21, so it doesn’t – we still have issues here – we still have many issues we need to deal with, so as we move forward here, we have to carefully consider what this means for the safety of all New Yorkers, and that’s what we’re doing, and we’re in contact with many states, Susan, I don’t know if you want to add anything to that? 

Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing Susan Herman, NYPD: Just to say that there isn’t a jurisdiction in the country where smoking marijuana in public is legal. Even in states where small amounts of marijuana possession or recreational use is legal, in all jurisdictions it’s not legal to smoke marijuana in public. In some instances it will result in a summons and in some jurisdictions, an arrest.

Mayor: Okay, Juliet.

Question: Yes, this is for Brooklyn DA – summons, my understanding is requires a court appearance, is that correct in his case?

District Attorney Gonzalez:  Yes.

Question: So in your past experience in declining to prosecute, do you know what percentage of people are showing up at court for summons?

District Attorney Gonzalez: Well on, in general in marijuana cases I don’t have the number of marijuana cases, but in general the compliance rate with summons was about 50 percent for Brooklyn cases. So you know I would encourage anyone who receives a summons to take care of the summons so it doesn’t escalate into anything further. But it is a factor that has to be considered as we use it. Listen this going to be a tremendous step forward it allows officers to exercise discretion and to stay on the streets, keeping our community safe, dealing with quality of life issues and protecting us. So we will need to do more. I know that in [inaudible] we’ve dealt with the noncompliance issues by doing other things including having extended hours, having pop up court rooms. So I think there are ways to deal with the compliance issue in our communities and I would obviously be in support of extending hours for people to come at night and weekends to deal with summons.

Question: So then if they are not in court is it a warrant? Is a warrant issued after that? Somebody has to go find that person?

District Attorney Gonzalez: It’s discretionary – obviously the judge could issue the warrant or not issue the warrant. You know I think we need to use common sense in how we issue warrants. In the past I think they were done too quickly, just someone being late for court issued a warrant. I think there needs to be more common sense in how we deal with this. But people need to take care of their summons.

Mayor: And Juliet I want to just – I’m the non-lawyer here but I want to really make this commonsense point. It’s still not legal to smoke marijuana publically. If you do so under this policy you will get a sanction. You know will get a summons, you have to address your summons. You don’t address your summons, it can lead to a warrant, a warrant can lead to an arrest so it’s really an effort to give people a better way to address the challenge. But if people don’t take it seriously, leads right back to the same thing that a lot of people have been concerned about which is arrest. The individual has some real responsibility here. Wait, let go who hasn’t had a shot. I’m coming to you two, I see you, go ahead.

Question: Chief Harrison, Chief can you explain the carve out for violent offenders? What are the parameters for that or is it left to case by case basis?

Chief Harrison: Good afternoon Rocco. So it’s pretty much black and white. If you are unable to produce some type of identification – these are the things where we cannot use discretion. Somebody has to be placed under arrest so we can identify who the individual is. If you are parole, or probation, those are things Rocco, that we are going to have enforce it and make an arrest because that means that you have been released with certain conditions that you have failed to follow by. Also if you have a warrant we are going to be bring you – enforce the arrest –

Commissioner O’Neill: Misdemeanor or felony.

Chief Harrison: Misdemeanor or felony. The one thing that we may use discretion is the law exception and it all depends on you know, what the individual is doing. If they are smoking in a park around kids, that’s something where the discretion of the officer. If the person is operating a heavy machinery that’s at the discretion of the officer – so there are certain caveats that give it to the discretion of the officer concerned.

Question: Is there a carve out for violent offenders –

Chief Harrison: There is. Yes so if you do have a violent crime in the past, you will be a – within three years, you will placed under arrest.

Mayor: Yes.

Question: Hi, thanks. I wanted to probe a little bit more on the discretion the police will have. Especially how you determine a public danger and what happens in public housing complexes? How is the arrest versus summons work there because smoking is against the law in public housing. And one last thing –

Mayor: Just in the interest in clarity – we will come back to each. Okay first one again was?

Question: The discretion you have when there is a public danger. For example how will police look at that? Is that strict enough because there are a lot concerns that police may use discretion in ways that punish some more than others –

Mayor: Alright, let’s do that one and then we will do public housing after. Let’s do the first one.

Chief Harrison: So once again is with neighborhood policing one of the things we’ve taken a close look at is giving officers the discretion. Having the same officers in the same areas develops a relationship and intimacy in the area as well as get to know the people who are there to serve. So of course, giving officers that discretion – if they identify an individual that seems to be problematic and falls under those carve outs then the officers can use their discretion to place that person underneath arrest.

Mayor: Okay, public housing.

Chief Harrison: Regards to public housing – once again it’s the same thing. We will give the officers discretion, each PSA has neighborhood coordination officers and their job is to go out there and get to know all of the residents as well as some of the individuals that don’t necessarily follow the laws and we want to make sure that their discretion is utilized in housing as well.

Mayor: But, yes.

Question: [Inaudible] that then lead to more people being arrested in public housing?

Mayor: Let me assist your question for a second because you made the point about the rules within public housing. So I’m wondering if we have clarification on that too, that if you are in a place that has its own set of rules. Obviously we have talked before about the MTA having their own set of rules, I don’t know what the specifics are on public housing on this but is it a different set of rules that effects equation?

Chief Harrison: If once again I’ll have to get back to you regarding the housing rules but I will say this – if there are certain things, if you are smoking in the train, smoking on a bus, something where it’s a public annoyance, yes you are subject to an arrest and once again that comes under the discretion of the officer that’s involved.

Mayor: Okay media questions, who’s out there? Yes?

Question: So Mayor, what’s your message to New Yorkers who are concerned about public smoking that already exists in their communities and they are concerned that this might increase it or are afraid of being arrested?

Mayor: I appreciate the question very much. Look from the beginning of this administration we’ve said we are focused on quality of life policing. We remain focused on quality of life policing. This is about striking a balance. We need to make sure that people feel in their own communities that there is fairness and that the quality of life is good. So for an example if someone calls in a complaint, we are going to follow up on that complaint, just like NYPD always has. You hear now that there are different tools available under this policy but enforcement is going to be there and we take the complaints seriously. And we are going to continue to remind people, still not legal to smoke in public. That said, I believe there will be important benefit here which is in the end fewer arrests and we have seen this over all – as we have seen the number of arrests go down, it frees up a lot of officer time, that officer time can be used to address a whole host of quality of life issues and other issues. So moving away from arrests I think will mean more officers visible and available to address neighborhood concerns in a host of ways.

Commissioner O’Neill: Another point – being a precinct commander for so long, if you don’t address quality of life issues, you are not going to last that long in that job. You have to listen to what people need. It’s you know, if I’m living in a housing building and somebody is smoking weed every afternoon in the stairway then we need to address that. We need to address that behavior. We need to make life better for the people that live in that housing development.

Mayor: Okay, other media questions – yes, sir.

Question: Councilman, just a question – do you think it would be more responsible if we focused on not smoking publically, obey the law and not face a ticket by not smoking in public at all?

Mayor: Yes. I mean –

[Laughter]

We are talking about a reality in our society. We are all mature adults here. No one should be smoking marijuana in public, it is illegal period. Is it happening every day? Yes. So we are trying to deal with it in the most productive, fair way. But yes, if you don’t want to go down that slippery slope we talked about which is a summons that then can lead to a warrant that can lead to an arrest, don’t do it to begin with. What’s really clear, there’s still a serious sanction here. Gloria and Gloria I want to officially just offer solidarity with Columbia, your shocking defeat by Japan today. You really should take the whole day off after this.

[Laughter]

Question: I’ll take it but it sounds like you are a little bit mad that your team was not in the walk up?

[Laughter]

Mayor: Wow, that boomeranged back in a really bad way. I will say if you mean my team Italy?

Question: And your team the U.S.

Mayor: Yes well, the U.S. is still working on soccer, give us time. My team Italy, it is just ridiculous that they are not in the World Cup so I tip my cap.

[Laughter]

I tip my cap. Go ahead.

Question: Now I forgot what I was going to say.

[Laughter]

I remembered. Two questions – is there now a concern that as you move to summons, the way that people of color are now overburdened by arrests that at some point they will also be overburdened by summons and that they will have to keep coming to court or paying these tickets. Is there anything that the department is doing to address that? And I have a second question.

Chief Harrison: So there is a silent majority out there that wants us to address public smoking and there has got to be some type of enforcement that’s got to be done. People do not want to walk into their buildings, go to the park, go to the store and smell marijuana smell. And we have to address it and the way we are going to do it right now is to issue a criminal court summons. If it comes to the point where these summons are something where it’s maybe getting a little bit out of hand, that’s one thing about the NYPD we are constantly, constantly evaluating ourselves to see what we could do better.

Councilmember Richards: This is one reason that we passed the bill that we did in the Council because we were concerned that even as you know the possibility of  moving to summons was becoming a reality that there could still be a reality in the city that where bias is still happening so I think you know this the job of legislators, this is why the City Council is supposed to be a check and balance to make sure we are monitoring so I think a lot of reporting, although everybody gets tired of these reporting bills every week, you know it’s critical in ensuring that there is transparency which is important and then we would count on you to do your job to point it out as you rightfully have done, so many of you here who certainly are owed a debt of gratitude for certainly following up and doing your jobs. But I think transparency is key here in making sure that we drive down the numbers.

Question: This is another question to – I know the Brooklyn DA is here today but is there agreement between all the City’s DA to take this policy on and I know this is an NYPD policy but are you confident that this will be enforced equally throughout the boroughs?

Mayor: Who wants to speak to the DA’s? Liz?

Director Elizabeth Glazer, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice: So, I think this brings some consistency –

Mayor: Liz Glazer, we announced her earlier, maybe you were here –

[Laughter]

Question: See, I couldn’t identify her [inaudible]

Mayor: C’mon, have fun with it. Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice – go ahead. 

Director Glazer: So, the first step, I think, is to bring some kind of consistency of enforcement across the City. I think in broad terms, the DA’s believe that these are issues that need to be addressed, that proportionality is important. There will, of course, be differences among the boroughs and among different elected officials, and we’ll be working with all of them to ensure that we have a fair implementation of the policy. 

Mayor: Okay, who has not gone yet? Erin? 

Question: I wanted to follow up on the discretion question, because you mentioned a couple of examples – people in a park around kids, people on a train, and those are examples that aren’t explicitly in this list of carve outs. So, is there any limit on what the officer can, you know, choose to use as a reason to make an arrest? Are there any specific parameters to that? Are there any other examples other than the ones you’ve mentioned or the ones that are on the list that would in fact lead to an arrest?

Chief Harrison: Once again, there’s a host of different reasons that can cause an officer to use discretion to arrest. When we’ll use – 3-1-1, 9-1-1 calls being at a certain location over a certain period of time, that means the individuals that are indulging in smoking marijuana in public are not getting the idea. And once again, each arrest has to be approve from a supervisor at the precinct level. So, we’ll make sure that as much as the officer has discretion, supervisors will have a very much large play regarding this individual being arrested or serving a criminal court summons. 

Deputy Commissioner Herman: One of the things that we mention in the report is that we’ll be monitoring particularly high levels of enforcement activity. As we mentioned earlier, this is something that’s done regularly in CompStat – people talk about why they are making the arrests that they’re making, and we’ll be looking at high levels of arrest activity to make sure that it’s appropriate.

Chief Harrison: The one thing I will say is this has turned into a property within the New York City Police Department. We want to make sure we hold our commanding officers accountable, our police officers accountable to make sure they’re not just making arrests wrongfully. 

Question: There are some who are still critical of this new approach, they say it’s still discriminatory. You know, if a person is on parole or probation for a prior marijuana conviction that is now – after September 1st, 2018, they would only get a summons about it. I mean, what’s the City’s overall plan for – I know in Brooklyn they’re planning to expunge some records and create a ceiling, but is there another plan to address what some view as discrimination towards people who have prior arrests?

Mayor: Well, that’s what I addressed in Marcia’s question. We’re going to be looking at that in the coming weeks and speaking to it. There is something we have to address. There’s a history here that has left a lot of people in a tough situation. We don’t want to see that. How we do it, we have to work through, but you can expect an update on that soon. 

Commissioner O’Neill: If you’re on parole for marijuana, it’s not because you had a joint. 

[Laughter]

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: Maybe, yeah. Probation, I’d have to dig into that a little bit further for you. 

Question: Mayor, factual question for you – 

Mayor: A what?

Question: A factual question – you had mentioned, Commissioner, that if you have a prior violent crime within the prior three years, you will be subject to arrest. Is that a conviction? Is it an arrest?

Commissioner O’Neill: It’s an arrest.

Question: Okay, and why should there be that [inaudible] why should the law be enforced differently depending on your [inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: Because you have a propensity to commit crimes, and our job is to keep people safe, and if you’re going to commit quality of life violations I think the consequences have to be higher. 

Mayor: Okay, Grace?

Question: This summons, is there a set amount that people get for these tickets? Can you explain what it is?

Deputy Commissioner Herman: It’s a range – this is a criminal summons, it’s up to the court. 

Question: So can you give us a sense of what people can expect or what the range will be?

Deputy Commissioner Herman: It’s actually a statutory limit. So, for a first offense, it’s up to $100. More often than not, the amounts are much, much lower than that. 

Question: I wanted to ask about immigration quick –

Mayor: Wait, I’m sorry, we’re going to go through this whole announcement. We’ll come around to other issues after. Let me see if there’s anyone else on this – we’re doing media questions, just want to make sure we’ve got media. Go ahead –

Question: Clarifying question, as far as somebody presenting their ID, I know in the past for some low-level crimes – am I right – that you’ve allowed them to go to a precinct [inaudible]

Deputy Commissioner Herman: Same here, if somebody doesn’t have an ID, they’ll be given an opportunity to get that ID. 

Commissioner O’Neill: The phone call doesn’t necessarily have to be made in the Command. Everybody’s got a cell phone now. 

Question: And Commissioner, I wanted to ask you too, because it seems like throughout last year, you know, the start of this year – well, really since you took the position – I’ve heard that argument of, you know, police are responding to 3-1-1, 9-1-1, community concerns out of precinct, and that seemed to justify how the police were enforcing marijuana offenses. So, what changed? Why now?

Commissioner O’Neill: I think it’s important to pay attention to the national temperature. What we do in the NYPD, I talk about this all the time – we don’t do it alone – we have to listen to communities. We have to listen to all 8.6 million New Yorkers. I think that’s how we’ve made significant progress over the last two years. We can’t operate in a vacuum. 

Question: But many New Yorkers have [inaudible] advocated for this change for a whole now.

Commissioner O’Neill: I’m particularly concerned about the people that have no prior record, that’s my concern, and to make sure that we don’t saddle those people that used to be arrested for [inaudible]. That’s my concern, to make sure – as Donovan said, we disagree on some things, but we agree on a lot of things. I want to make sure as they go through their lives this doesn’t become a burden to them, and that’s my focus. And that’s balanced with keeping the people of this City safe, and we have to figure out some way to strike that balance, and, right now, this is our position. 

Question: So was there a drastic increase in the people who had never been arrested previously and who were arrested for marijuana –

Commissioner O’Neill: I can’t give you the numbers off the top of my head, but this is something that we look at, like I said, every Thursday. You know, if you’re locking somebody up for criminal possession of marijuana, why are you doing that? What’s the issue here? How does that make the community safer? And precinct commanders have to explain. 

Mayor: I think it’s also very important to put this into the perspective of the last four years. We have been moving a number of reforms simultaneously. We had to make sure they were working. So, we had to make sure neighborhood policing was working, we had to make sure that all the policies to drive down crime were working, we attempted, as you know, a big change, and made a big change, with ending arrests for low-level possession. We had to see what that would do in terms of the impact on the community, whether there would be any other impact in terms of public safety. I think it’s really important to understand the steady evolution of these policies and how they’re all working together. And the results have been very consistent, I think when the story gets told this time, what will be striking is a whole series of reforms were layered on top of each other. They all resulted in the same thing, less crime and fewer interactions between police and community – certainly, fewer negative interactions in particular. So, as that keeps working, we keep going farther. I think people wanted to see, rightfully, all over the City that reform could equal more safety, and that we would maintain that focus on quality of life while also driving down more serious crime. You know, I think we’re all very satisfied, the formula’s working and we want to deepen the formula. 

Let’s see if there’s anything else on this announcement. I see a hand way back – can’t see a face, I see a hand – there you go.

Question: What will the administration do if it finds that certain boroughs over others are issuing summonses to people smoking pot in public? I know Staten Island’s District Attorney is against the shift in policy. What do you plan to do [inaudible]

Commissioner O’Neill: Police Department or the City administration?

Mayor: You’re saying, how would we deal with differences among boroughs and differences among DA’s?

Commissioner O’Neill: Well, as we move forward, that’s going to have to evolve. We have our set of standards here. [Inaudible] consider a public safety threat, so we’ll have to work with Eric, we’ll have to work out with Mike out on Staten Island, the judge out in Queens, Cy, and Darcel as we move forward. 

Mayor: On this? Go ahead –

Question: What are the immigration consequences now that you’re shifting to summonses instead of arrests, and is there a different policy for those [inaudible] age of 21?

Mayor: First one first, who’s got the immigration question?

Director Glazer: So, a summons is not a fingerprint-able offense, so that’s a very important thing. So, finger prints don’t go to the feds or anyplace else. And so, we think that the impacts will be mitigated. 

Question: And those underneath the age of 21? What happens to them when they’re given a summons? [Inaudible] for juvenile?

Deputy Commissioner Herman: So, I’m not sure if I understand your question. Until [inaudible] people who are under 16 are treated as juveniles, people who are 16 and over are treated as adults for all purposes in the criminal justice system. On October 1, that’s going to change and the age of criminal responsibility will rise to 17, and then the following year to 18. 

Chief Harrison: I could just piggy-back real quickly. This new procedure that we are putting in place is going to decrease arrests by 10,000 for this year. And out of that, 9,000 are people of color – that’s a humongous number, that’s a big change we’re doing. 

Mayor: Okay, let us shift to off-topic. Everybody ready? Okay, you had one before – go ahead, in the back. 

Question: So, the Mayor of El Paso says he expects Mayors to head to he border Wednesday to take a stance against immigration in a show of solidarity. Are you going? And what are your plans, if so? 

Mayor: So, I spoke to the President to the US Conference of Mayors this morning – Steven Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina – a group of mayors are organizing to go down to the border. I’m certainly considering joining them depending on things that are happening here. There’s a tremendous sense of urgency being felt right now. We see something that is very painful – parents being taken from their children, and, you know, a sense that something’s really taken a horrible turn for our country, and it goes against everything we believe in as mayors, and I think that’s a bipartisan statement. So, a lot of us are trying to figure out a way we can have an impact on this issue and that’s what’s motivating people to go down there. 

Question: So, yesterday, your op-ed that was published on CNN, you said that there – you spoke about a young boy who’s been separated from his mother and placed here in New York City. HHS has said that there is no place for New York City and that isn’t happening here. Can you clarify if there are any locations or centers here in New York City where there are children being separated? Not unaccompanied minors, but children being separated from their families?

Mayor: We will get you the details we received. We’ve certainly seen people detained here previously from different parts of the country and we’ve had the challenges with unaccompanied minors here before. There’s nothing, unfortunately, shocking about folks being sent to New York City as part of this process. But that case was information we received, we’ll get you the details on that. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, may I just follow up to that? We had the same question about people who had concerns about what’s happening to these kids that are being torn that have ties here to New York – if you could just expand on that. And for those, again, who didn’t read your eloquently written piece –

Mayor: Thank you.

Question: – About your own shock – seen in the video, as most of the country has.

Mayor: I look at this as a parent. I can only imagine, if I were trying to protect my family, and went someplace I thought would give me fairness and justice, and then to have my kids taken away, I would feel that something immoral and horrible had happened. And honestly, it says something very sad about what America is meant to mean. We’re supposed to be the beacon, we’re supposed to be the beacon of freedom and hope for people, not someplace that could possibly take away a child from their parents. So, this is – there’s a reason this is getting so much attention and it’s making people feel something so deeply, because it grates against our values as Americans, and it just doesn’t make sense. So, I look at that and the notion that a child might be taken far from their parents from a prolonged period of time, that’s traumatic. That’s going to affect that child’s entire future, and it’s inhumane, and there’s just no reason for it. So, this is – you know, even in a hyper-partisan atmosphere, this is one that’s sort of gotten people on a very moral level. A lot of people of faith, of different congregations, regardless of their politics are coming together here to say, wait a minute, this is not acceptable to us, this has to stop right now. So, I just think all of us have to think as parents first. What would we feel like if that was our child taken away?

Question: [Inaudible] the issue of the children in the HHS, any other comment you can say about if the kids are being held here, or –

Mayor: Again, we have information about that one case, and we’ve seen it in the past where folks who came in in one part of the country who were undocumented were sent here, where unaccompanied minors were sent here. So, you know, it’s horrible to begin with if a child is taken from their parent, even in the same town in Texas and held apart for days, but it’s much, much worse if they’re separated by 1,000 miles, and you have no idea when that family is going to get reunified, and that’s what we fear we’re seeing here, and we just have to do everything we can to stop it, and that’s why, again, mayors are stepping up. We’re going to do everything on our power to stop this and provide support to these families. 

Yes, Yoav?

Question: Mr. Mayor, when we talk about the numbers of kids at NYCHA with elevated blood-lead levels, today we’re still using figures through 2016 because even though we’re halfway through this year your administration has not provided figures for 2017. I’m wondering if you know why, but also have you requested or received those figures? And given the serious implications here, why don’t we have [inaudible]?

Mayor: I don’t know the specifics on the figures. Obviously I want them, and I want them to be public once they appropriately put together, but much more important is fixing the problem. And again what we’ve done in the last year is every apartment where there is any indication of lead being present, and where there was a child six or under, has been inspected under the requirements of Local Law 1.

We said at the press conference the other day, 90 percent have been remediated, the others we’re going to go into – the folks at NYCHA are going to go into and address, even if they are not getting a response from the residents because we have to go and fix this problem. That’s the thing we have to do, the action piece, the actually protecting people piece. The data is very, very important, and we want to make sure the data keeps flowing, but the most important thing is the action piece, and that’s what the folks at NYCHA are doing now.

Question: And if the importance of the action, how was it that when inspections were resumed in 2016 it was allowed to be conducted by people who weren’t certified –

Mayor: We’ve covered this before. I’m really not going to keep going over the same material over and over. The bottom-line is the original sin here, we all know, is that these inspections never should have ended. They should have been continuous in the previous administration, they should have been handled the right way. I wish the team that took over at NYCHA understood that that had been disconnected and stopped, once they did we did the work of recreating what the kind of inspections we needed, what kind of personnel, what kind of training, that is now being done consistently, it will done every single year, and the remediation will be done every single year. That’s what matters.

Question: Can we talk about your relationship with your counterparts in Nassau and Suffolk, if there is one?

Mayor: We had some different discussions over time. In fact we tried, I think it was about two years or two and a half years ago, to do a meeting of the different county leaderships to work on some common concerns, which I think was a good start. Obviously the cast of characters has changed, but I think there is a lot of common ground between the City and the counties around us. I think there is a lot we need to do together. I think there’s some important issues to work through too, there are water issues for example affecting Queens and Nassau that I would love to find some common ground on, so we’re certainly going to be looking to do that going forward more.

Question: Have you spoke to the two current [inaudible]?

Mayor: I’ve spoken to her, but not in detail on these issues, it’s certainly something I want to do. Erin?

Question: Mayor you talked about needing to create a fund in order to be able to pay your legal bills, can you describe what you have done in the last six months to move towards the creation of a legal defense fund and what you plan to do going forward?

Mayor: As you know it has to be done legislatively. Clearly that was the ultimate effect of the Conflict Interest Board ruling, that the only way to practically achieve the outcome is with legislation by the City Council. As Speaker Johnson has said, he and I have spoken about, but it’s clearly up to the council to determine how and when to act. I simply affirm that we know there is an area with – there is no definition, then we need definition. So the Council is going to decide how and when to do that? Marcia?

Question: Mr. Mayor, I was wondering how you feel about reports about Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams no longer agrees with you that [inaudible]

Mayor: Well I want to talk to him about it. I’ve only seen press reports and I haven’t heard what his view is. I’ve worked with him a long time, I have a lot of respect for him, so, you know, I would prefer to understand his perspective. One thing we can say for sure, the announcement that we made a few weeks ago has generated an extraordinary public debate, and I want to thank all of the outlets represented here. I think it’s been a really healthy debate for this city and it’s going to help us to figure out a better policy going forward. Everyone is going to have strong views and people are going to listen to a lot of different voices as they go along but the positive here is this issue is way out in the open and it’s being honestly debated and I’m happy about that.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Say again.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Well, one, again until I hear from him directly, I don’t want to characterize his stance. I’m certainly going to argue to him that I think what we have here is the best way to address the problem, and I’m going to argue that the existing tests just doesn’t have a place in our future. But again, I want to hear his point of view, his concerns, and we know this is going to play out over months. Juliet?

Question: Yes, Mr. Mayor, a sixth yellow cab driver committed suicide –

Mayor: Yeah.

Question: Are you addressing this disparity with the yellow cabs and the proliferation of the Ubers –

Mayor: This is a horrible, horrible situation and it’s very painful that folks who are feeling economic distress would take their own lives. It cries out for action but I’ve also said it – every single time I’m going to say it again - it also means that there is something very personal happening in each of those situations that needs to be addressed. We have to understand, when someone because of economic distress or any other stress in their life thinks about suicide, there’s also a mental health issue that has to be confronted. I want to say a lot of the driver organizations are working intensely to make sure that people who need help get it, and certainly with the Thrive Initiative we’re trying to do that in every way, so I would ask anyone addressing this issue to remind anyone in the Taxi industry that they can call 8-8-8-N-Y-C-W-E-L-L, if they are having any of those feelings they should make that call.

Question: [Inaudible] to regulate [inaudible] –

Mayor: Well, we need – we need something new and I feel urgency about that. The – I know the Council is looking at it too. I would like to see action soon. It’s clear that this current reality with Uber and the for-hire-vehicles has come with a huge number of unintended consequences. And now it’s become a reality where there’s just lots of vehicles driving around with no one in them which is unfair to everyone. It is hurting those drivers, those workers, who work for Uber and other services, they’re not making a lot of money. It’s exacerbating congestion, it’s hurting the yellow cab drivers, we’re in a really bad place. So there is a series of things I think we could do, I believe the Council is going to focus on this quickly, and I certainly want them to. David?

Question: I want to get your reaction. Two days after you signed the consent decree over the lead paint and other at NYCHA, there was documents, computers, and other stuff seized from NYCHA facility by federal and City DOI, what was your reaction to that? Are you concerned that there is criminal charges coming?

Mayor: I was not surprised in the least. There has been a two year investigation, the U.S. Attorney signaled very clearly and we fully understood. He was reserving his rights in terms of the opportunity to charge individuals if he thought it was necessary and they are continuing to follow through on that. It did not surprise me in the least. When that process plays out, obviously there’s parallel process that we will undertake with absolute deference to law enforcement first, but you know, we’re also concerned to make sure that anyone who is working in public employment, if they’ve done anything inappropriate, they must be held accountable as well.

Question: So do you anticipate some kind of criminal charge?

Mayor: I don’t anticipate, no, I want to be very clear it does not surprise me that there was further investigation but I do not assume that means X or Y, let’s let the U.S. Attorney to determine what is appropriate and then we’ll play it from there. Yes?

Question: Another immigration question, one of our reporters just learned that the County Executive of [inaudible] in New Jersey was said that he was approached about housing is separated from the parents, he told the government no I won’t do it. They are asking various counties in New Jersey, but in New York City there are different agencies that contract with the government to take these children, [inaudible] village, there is a whole bunch of them. Is there anything you can do as Mayor about declining to have these children brought to New York City if those are agencies that our government [inaudible]?

Mayor: Look, that’s an excellent question and we want to do everything we can to stop the federal government from separating children from their parents, period, period. And if that’s legal action, if that’s using the power of our localities to say we are not going to participate, whatever those tools are. We are in unchartered territory here and we have got to figure out the best way to stop this unhuman policy. You know sometimes the federal government can enforce its will on localities, sometimes it can’t. But one thing and again this is why it is so important that mayors are gathering around the country to address this issue and it is a bi-partisan movement, is I can guarantee you that mayors do not think it is appropriate, what’s happening here and we are going to have to find a way to stop it. I believe it ultimately will be stopped because I think people are repulsed by it. But we have got to figure out what tools we can use to achieve that. Way back.

Question: This is for Commissioner O’Neill. Can you tell us about the brawl on Coney Island and what you have been doing [inaudible] beefed up presence there?

Commissioner O’Neill: Chief Shea will talk about that.

Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, NYPD: Good afternoon. Yesterday evening in the 60th Precinct in Coney Island, on the boardwalk we had a disturbance involving a number of individuals. It appears at this time that we had at least one large group encountering possibly another group or possibility some individuals. The culmination of that was we had two people who suffered injuries. One suffered a slash wound, one suffered a stab wound. The ages of those that were cut are 17 and 21, neither of them resides in Coney Island. One lives in Manhattan and one was there visiting from the Bronx. Past that it is still fairly fresh, so it’s going to proceed from there.

Question: Chief, can I just ask about the five [inaudible] stabbed on the Bronx Borough Parkway last night?

Chief Shea: Yes, so yesterday evening, roughly about seven o’clock, 5:30 to 7 pm we had an incident where it appears at this time that a group of youths met in a park within the confines on the boarder of the 52nd and the 49th Precinct. French Charlie’s Park if you are familiar with area on Webster Avenue, when the group got to that location, it appears at this time that there was an intention of the two groups to meet and fight. The culmination of that was one individual was chased by another group, he was stabbed a number of times, 14 times, preliminary. He’s currently in critical condition but stable at Jacobi Hospital. There is indication that there was a shooting later last night that’s being explored whether or not that’s related. And that’s in a separate part of the Bronx.

Question: [Inaudible] what they were fighting about?

Chief Dermot: There’s a lot of information that’s coming now. Apparently there has been a dispute that’s been brewing for some weeks. There was a female involved in this dispute but I don’t believe it’s the traditional two men fighting over a woman. There’s a lot of different details coming out. There is some gang involvement to this. A number of gangs, localized crews in the Bronx that have affiliations and have been mentioned but again it’s less than 24 hours. The child that was stabbed, 14 years of age – lucky to be alive. I want to thank an off duty EMT that rendered age of the Bronx River Parkway that potentially could have saved the 14 year old’s life. SO a great job there. We are confident that we will get an arrest in the case but right now we are still sorting out the details.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: [Inaudible] my friend, not too many in a row. Go ahead last one, go ahead. Last one.

Question: Is there any possible hate crime competent to this?

Chief Shea: I do not have any information that would back that up at this point.

Mayor: Grace?

Question: Homicide in the 83rd – a 33-year-old man who was shot in the chest, William Fernandez and died on Father’s Day. I didn’t know if there was any more information? My desk asked me to ask about that.

Chief Shea: No information specific to that case. But let me just say that in the last six days now, starting on Sunday to last night we have had by my count five separate shootings involving individuals on parole on both sides of the gun. SO that’s concerning. When you look at that particular case, we had a couple of cases in Brooklyn in the last couple of days. We have had a triple shooting the Sixth precinct, a triple shooting in the 114th precinct. We came in last week with a fewer number of shootings but Rodney will back me up – any time we are talking about violence of this nature, one is too many. So it’s important to give the historical context, that we were down but we are exploring all of those shootings and again I’m confident that the detectives involved in Brooklyn North will make an arrest in that case.

Question: Just a quick question about Pride Parade preparations, security, any concerns, standard. Can you give us an update on –

Commissioner O’Neill: Yes, I think we are probably going to do something with Chief Monahan towards the end of the week. But it’s a yearly event. I know the route has changed this year and we have been working very closely with the organizers so it will be the traditional Manhattan South Coverage with a counter terrorism overlay but we will go into more detail later on in the week.

Question: Chief Shea – update on the Village shooting Sunday morning at the [inaudible] lounge?

Chief Shea: Yes over the past weekend, late at night around closing time for the location there was a disturbance inside the bar. There is very good video inside the bar as well as on the block. What we have is some sort of disturbance, possibly started over a push, shoving match which escalated into a fight. One individual produces a fire arm and three people are shot. Past that I’m not going to comment further but we have, I will say that we’ve received a lot of corporation from people that were in the location as well as in the surrounding area and we have very strong leads in that case.

Mayor: Okay, going to get Erin, Gloria go ahead.

Question: Mayor you said you were considering traveling to the border over this issue of child separation. You also mentioned at least one that seems like probably multiple children being held within the city. Do you have any plans to visit the facilities where there are actually children within the city?

Mayor: Yes, look I want to do whatever I can to stop this broken and inhuman policy. So the immediate issue is what’s happening at the border at the point of contact. And again mayors around the country are coming together in common cause there. I also want to see anything we can do to stop New York City from being used as a place to send children separated from their parents. So right now we are trying to figure out the best way to have an impact and if going and doing that kind of visit will help, I’ll certainly do it. Go ahead.

Question: Mr. Mayor, there’s a group of coop monitors at City Lights in Queens, their 20 year tax break is coming up, it is expiring. And they are looking to the City to provide any kind of relief –

Mayor: Not familiar with the specifics of this one. So we will get back to you on that.

Thanks, everyone.

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

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