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

July 8, 2019

Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill: Alright, good afternoon everyone. Thanks for being here. In a moment you'll hear from Mayor de Blasio and then First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker who will discuss the NYPD's new Health and Wellness Task Force which we have directed to develop a comprehensive strategy that ensures the physical, mental, and emotional health of our members. The goal is to raise awareness and promote a culture of seeking assistance and empowering others to intervene. Then Chief Monahan will go over the crime stats. Before we get to that, first, I'd like to thank our hosts here at the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling; Jael Sanchez, the director of Broadway Housing Community which is the nonprofit that brought this art museum to underprivileged children in this neighborhood; and artist Lauren Kelley the museum's director and chief curator. Thank you both for having us here today.

Since this museum opened in 2015, it's been a place that teaches civic engagement through everything from the books in its reading nook to the content of the public programs. And what they're doing here is growing another generation of socially responsible, very conscious individuals, and that fits perfectly with the NYPD's neighborhood policing philosophy. To that end, I commend the men and women of the 3-0 Precinct, where we are now, for all their hard work, their Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Lourdes Soto. Just in the last year the 3-0 has reduced its overall major crime by more than 24 percent, if you look back to when we began CompStat in the mid-1990s that reduction jumps to 80 percent. Over those 25 – those past 25-plus years, murders have plummeted here by 93-and-a-half percent. In fact, rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies, and car thefts were all down in huge numbers. And shooting incidents have dropped more than 93 percent. I would just like to point out that however remarkable that really is, think of the lives saved and the families kept intact.

We, the NYPD, and all New Yorkers can't ever take this progress for granted. There's still a lot of work to be done here and in every borough throughout the city. For example, citywide year-to-date shootings are currently up about seven percent over last year but we're precisely focused on the hot spots and the people who are responsible for that violence. It's very fluid work that requires our constant attention and we're always adapting to circumstances. I'll remind everyone that this historic crime low New York City sees today, it's absolutely not promised for tomorrow.

None of these things are permanent achievements. They're continuing challenges that require the full diligence of every member of the NYPD and all of our partners in law enforcement and the full and willing partnership of everyone who lives and works together in New York City. Mr. Mayor –

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, Commissioner. And Commissioner, congratulations to you and the leadership of the NYPD, all the men and women of the NYPD, and all the community partners who work with the NYPD because we have more progress to report for the month of June, 2019. And as we close out the first half of the year, we see extraordinary progress across this city.

There is always more to be done and there are some areas of real concern but the big picture is very, very positive. Right now after six months the safest big city in America is even safer. What's working is neighborhood policing. What's working is precision policing. The combination of the two continues to prove to be the effective formula and we're going to deepen that effort all over this city.

We know we can do it because we've seen it happen consistently. We know it works but we also know we have to take care of the men and women who serve us and we have to make sure that every one of them knows that help is available for them and that's something we're going to talk about today – new efforts by the NYPD and our entire mental health team to make sure that our officers know help is always there given how important the work they do is and how stressful it is. We want them to know there's always a helping hand.

The plan you'll hear about in a moment – you'll hear from First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker – but before we turn to Ben I'm going to go over a few other points. But I do want to acknowledge up front, for her extraordinary efforts, our Director of the office of Thrive NYC, Susan Herman, who in her previous work with the NYPD came to know deeply the work that the men and women of this department do every single day. In her leadership of Thrive, she's helping folks all over New York City to get access to mental health services. She's going to play a key role in this effort to make sure we're serving our officers better all the time.

I also want to thank our colleagues in government who support the NYPD and support our neighborhood policing efforts so intensely – and they're both really hands-on about it. Congressman Adriano Espaillat, thank you for your leadership. Assemblyman Al Taylor, thank you for your leadership.

It is great to be here in the 3-0 Precinct. You heard about the extraordinary progress this precinct had made. I want to congratulate all the men and women of the 3-0 and a special shout-out, special appreciation to Deputy Inspector Soto for her leadership. And also as the Commissioner said, thank our host, Lauren Kelley and everyone at the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling. This is a great community institution and the Commissioner said it right – an institution that works to amplify the very ideas of neighborhood policing, bringing police and community together in a powerful way.

Let me go over just a couple of the important facts. Crime is falling because of the kinds of approaches we've seen here in the 3-0 – the deep interaction between our officers and the community. A lot of times people ask to better understand neighborhood policing. I want to tell you a story here from the 3-0 because I think it really makes the point clear. You know, we've known for a long time that our officers can do better if they had deep support in the community, if they had the flow of information. Our officers constantly have to make decisions and the best decisions are made with the most information. A lot of times it's community residents who can fill in the blank, who can tell them things they don't yet know to help them do their job better.

We have an example here recently on West 151st Street between Amsterdam and Broadway. There was an uptick in gang activity. The NYPD became aware of it but needed more information to address it. Officers from this precinct had already been hard at work building relationships in the community. They deepened those relationships with residents on that block specifically. As that bond deepened, a resident came forward with something very valuable, with video of two men with a firearm. That's something that might not have been available previously but because of the relationships that neighborhood is creating, there was a willingness to share that information.

The officers were able to identify suspects, arrested them, and got a dangerous gun off the streets. We'll never know what would have happened had they not gotten that gun but we know all sorts of horrible things could have happened. We know a life could have been lost but because of neighborhood policing, because of that deeper dialogue, those officers were able to follow through and get that weapon. That's one small example of something that's happening in every neighborhood in the city right now. And again, kudos to all the leadership here who believed in this vision and have made it come alive.

Neighborhood policing is allowing us to make 2019 – at this point we're on track for 2019 to be the safest year on record and to break the records of 2018. We've got a long way to go. We will never take anything for granted but we're setting a great pace this year. That said, there's always challenges like the shooting numbers that we need to dwell on and focus on and address, but the overall situation is very strong.

Overall crime, year-to-date – the first six months of 2019 versus the first six months of 2018 – overall crime down 5.4 percent in New York City; homicides down 13.5 percent – and that is fewer than any six-month period on record; the first six months of 2019 – the fewest homicides of any six months ever our city's history.

Now, that's the very good news and every one of those statistics, again, represents a human being. But let's talk about the human beings who serve all of us. Six good people, six members of the NYPD, since January 1st, have taken their lives and that is an unacceptable state of affairs and we are going to throw everything we have at this problem. We have to break the stigma associated with mental health challenges everywhere, in every part of our society because that stigma still holds people back from getting the help they need. And one of the things I talk about, and my wife Chirlane talks about, is that this is part of human life. A mental health condition is no different from diabetes or asthma or anything else that is part of human life. We've got to get everyone to understand it and everyone in this room, elected officials, media, community members, can help to demystify and destigmatize this situation and we want to make sure our officers know too, there is no shame if you have a challenge coming forward and you'll hear about the NYPD's efforts to make sure that help is very readily available. And that's going to mean peer counselors at every single precinct so that our officers will be able to turn to one of their own for help, wherever they work, every command, every precinct.

We all here believe that we have a sacred duty to protect the men and women of the NYPD. Previously we've talked about that in terms of more training, more technology, better protective gear, 2,000 more officers on patrol, the things we knew traditionally would help protect our officers and our communities. Now we have to do something that hasn't been talked about as much, making those mental health services available, smartly, discretely, and everywhere where NYPD officers serve. That's what we will be focusing on from this point forward, to make that effort come alive quickly to help our officers here and now. A few words in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that I want to turn to the man who is leading this effort and understands the men and women of the NYPD because he started out as an officer on patrol himself. Up from the grassroots in Brooklyn and has lived a life in this department, understands what our officers go through, and is focused on how to help them, and he will go through the wellness plan that is being developed, First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker.

First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, NYPD: Thanks, Mr. Mayor. So last week as Commissioner O'Neill mentioned at the direction – at his direction – I convened a – can you hear me?

Mayor: Yeah, get closer.

Chief of Department Terence Monahan, NYPD: Yeah, how's that? That better?

First Deputy Commissioner Tucker: Let me start over. So last week at the direction of Commissioner O'Neill I convened a health and wellness task force on the heels of, certainly as the Mayor mentioned, our losses of our officers due to suicide, and certainly we were very concerned, continued to be concerned, and we began to take a look at what we could do about it. So the task force consisted of a broad range of people from several bureaus in the department, personnel, chief surgeon, medical staff, employee relations, and other stake – key stakeholders – as well as Senior Advisor to Mayor de Blasio, Susan Herman, who is a former deputy commissioner from our agency. She worked with us on this and continues to guide us and give us advice with respect to our way forward.

So we developed – the task force looked at our current state of health and resilience and wellness with respect to existing policies and services that we provide and began to think about ways in which we could enhance those. So we developed, as part of this plan, a holistic and comprehensive strategy on health and resilience for our members and, I'm just going to give you a preview of what the plan includes to date. It's a full range of things we're looking at but it includes the whole focus on physical, mental, and emotional health. The strategy focuses on, in particular, first and foremost some executive and command level training. So we will convene three hour training for all uniform and civilian executives in the departments, roughly 800 people will bring those folks together, we'll have experts provide them with information on suicide prevention but it's much broader than that, while suicide prevention is certainly something we need to focus on, we're also focused on I think generally what we can do to address the mental health and wellness of our officers in every respect, and how also to intervene, intervention is really critical to this as well.

So we'll be working with clinicians who will help us with respect to our command level training, providing services on a regular basis, our plan is to have those clinicians working with commanding officers, executive officers at all of our commands, it's not just our precincts, but also transit and our housing bureau. And second, I would mention that we, in the process of further enhancing our capacity to support our officers through what we are going to structure as a peer support mechanism. We hope to – we're still working on it and it involves a whole range of training for the officers. It also requires us to think about how to recruit those officers and we're in the process of doing that and seeking volunteers who might be willing to be part of this activity, recruiting volunteers to intervene, to listen, to refer, and to assist our officers when they are willing to share with the peers what the challenges are that they are facing. Peers will be in effect a force multiplier to our existing support programs, our employee assistance unit, our employee relations services, the [inaudible] group that provides services and counseling for officers confidentially as well. And the peers will work as a team along with our department resources, our psychologists as well as external mental health professionals that we will work with coming through Thrive New York City - or NYC - so they'll receive that training and then we will begin that process probably sometime in early September.

So that's a preview of what we're doing, we have a number of other issues that we're looking at that effect both policies as well as services that we want to provide and the way in which we provide those services to give our officers every opportunity to take advantage of – take advantage of the services that are provided without feeling that there's a stigma attached to those things. I mean the goal here is to be as resilient as we can possibly be to provide the services to these officers, even when they don't think they need them perhaps, or even when they recognize that they need them but they may be reluctant to take advantage of it – the services for a variety of reasons – but mostly because of the stigma attached to it and they're worried about that. We have to fix that, we have to through the training that we're providing to our commanding officers and all the executive staff both civilian and uniform but also to our officers in the precincts which is why we're focusing there on their command level [inaudible].

It's really important that we understand that there is no better way for us to do this than to try to gain trust of the officers and therefore if we get that trust and can provide the services that they need and that they require then the word will go out and we hopefully will encourage officers to take advantage of that. And as I said, suicide is maybe at the end of that process but certainly we want to be effective at providing health and wellness services to these officers with any kind of process, any kind of challenge that they are facing, whether it is financial or otherwise.

Mayor: Thank you.

Commissioner O'Neill: We're going to do things just a little bit different – if you have any questions about our health and wellness strategy, yep.

Question: Commissioner, a number of years ago, very recently to most of us here, the First Lady took over a program [inaudible] initiated New York City Thrive, NYC Thrive – millions of millions of dollars have been spent on that program, there was some controversy over whether the money was well spent. I don't know if you've seen the statistics of the results of that. Sometimes it takes a long time to actually see results regarding mental health. But could you discuss how - what Commissioner Tucker has just said, how it in fact overlaps or is similar to New York City Thrive, and how this might be different than and have more of an effect than the Thrive program which we have not seen the results of?

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, so we're talking about a health and wellness program for the police department for law enforcement agency, and we've been in discussions with Susan Herman, who as you know was a member of the New York City Police Department up till probably six months ago. She's coordinating Thrive for City Hall, and she's been an integral part of our three-point strategy here, so we look forward to this being effective and it's starting immediately. I think the executive level training is important. I think the command level training is probably just a little bit more important. Peer to peer counseling we'll be doing before the end of the summer, we have to get the program together and that's where Susan comes in. She's identifying some companies that do that training, and she's really an integral part of what we're looking to do here. And then the third point was services available, and that's where Thrive really, really, really comes in, and they're going to help us make sure that if a police officer is having some issues, personal stresses, that they have the availability of resources either internally or externally and Thrive has got a number of different programs that we're interested in working with them to make sure we keep our police officers as safe as possible.

Yep – Rocco?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Speak up; the air conditioning is blowing pretty hard.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Tucker: I missed the last part of what you said, Rocco.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Tucker: Yeah, I got that.

Question: [Inaudible] review those cases [inaudible] have you moments in the last weeks or months of their lives, where looking back you realize that was a cry for help, someone could have or should have stepped in.

Chief Tucker: Yeah, we took a look at that question of sort of looking backwards – what, if we had known, might we have done differently. And so that process is taking place. We do these, sort of, so-called "autopsies" after the fact to take a look at what we know in an effort to really get a handle on that and that process is still ongoing. We're looking at our Chief Surgeon and Doctor [Inaudible] who's one of other surgeons to take look at and work with our Force Investigation Division, because as you know, they among other things in reviewing all of our shooting cases they also look at suicides as well, and so they are – they have information to get to your point, Rocco, about what they learn from families, from friends, from colleagues in those cases that may help when taken together with what our phycologists know and what they believe that will give us some ideas about things we might do to enhance and look at ways to build in some interventions that might attack those issues early on. There's not – I'll just add, that that's not a fool-proof activity, but it is certainly something that will help us and give us more knowledge than we've had in the past.

Commissioner O'Neill: Yep.

Question: Yeah, Commissioner O'Neill, you know I'm with the 50th Precinct, and the officers there have told me that they're under tremendous pressure and I cover the Bronx, and I know some of the precinct officers are under tremendous pressure. I couldn't understand why they would be telling me in the 50th Precinct they're under tremendous pressure. Now, there was a new commanding officer about three and a half months ago placed there. Is he doing anything different from the previous commanding officer, and why isn't this, as Commissioner Ward [sic] was saying, why isn't this counselling mandatory.

Commissioner O'Neill: So, I haven't heard anything specific to the 5-0, we'll follow up on that, but being a police officer is an extremely difficult job. It's whether you're in the 5-0 or any other 77 Precinct districts, PSA's wherever you work. It's – you have the stress of the job. You never know who you're going to encounter, you never going to know who you stop, you're never going to know who's behind that door when you knock on it. And then you have your personal life. So, if you're telling me right now that the men and women of the 5-0 need additional help up there, we're going to make sure we go up there and take a look, and see what's going on.

Yep – in the back row?

Question: Commissioner, can I just as you when it became obvious to you that there was a problem here, this year – I know this is very upsetting of course for the officers on street, but what is the mood if you will this year with, if put an average officer about this issue and why they're doing this program?

Commissioner O'Neill: So, I've been – we've all been in policing for a very long time, and I wish I could stand up – sit up here, and say that in my years of being a police officer I haven't seen this before, but unfortunately I have. And this is what we're trying to overcome; we're trying to overcome that stigma. And we get paid to help people, but sometimes we fall short in helping our selves. That's why we're creating the peer counselling program. We're looking at a buddy system to make sure that people feel comfortable. I mean this is a hard job. You're talking about a livelihood. You know, if I step forward, am I going to lose my guns, am I going to lose my shield, am I going to lose my job? And that's something that in – maybe in other professions you really don't have to consider. We want to make sure that – there's a lot of myths out there that exist. We're trying to make sure that the police officers understand what the process is. And if you need help, we're going to help you. And if that requires that you not have your guns for a period of time, that's fine. but that's not always the case, and that's why we're doing the command level training too, so they could hear it directly from the Department phycologist, that the mood – I mean its – Steve was my friend. I knew Joe. As – he was the member of the DEA, right, he's Detectives Endowment Association. Everybody knew him, everybody knew Steve. You know, how could not – what's the mood? It's sad. You know, to have this happen to us is just another tragedy, and this is unfortunately at times a job full of tragedies. Look what happened with Louie Alvarez last week. But that's something that we deal with, and we have to make sure that we have enough help for the people that make a decision in their lives to do these jobs that they're properly supported. So, this something that we're never going to stop looking at.

Yep – second row?

Question: Are there any resources for the officers' family to go to the NYPD if they see something's wrong with their folks?

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, that's – there are counselling services available. We have to make sure that the family knows about it. Being a cop sometimes, you know, you're exposed to a lot of different traumatic events and that's not something that you necessarily go home and talk to your family about. So we have to make sure that the family knows that these resources are available also. Tony.

Question: [Inaudible] Commissioner, Commissioner Tucker. Are officers aware or they encouraged if they're reluctant to come forward to seek assistance via the Department or go to an outside source [inaudible]?

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, there's the availability of outside sources. That's an avenue that they can pursue. And that – if that's what they're looking to do, that's fine. We just want them to get help, that's it.

Director Susan Herman, ThriveNYC: I'd like to jump in on that, and just say that that is an awful lot of the work that Thrive will be doing with the NYPD, is making sure that officers know not only the wealth of resources that exist within the Department, but the resources that exist outside of the Department. And so we are working with other agencies in the city to make sure that officers can access these resources quickly and get what they need and make sure that officers know about them.

Commissioner O'Neill: Yep, in the second row.

Question: Following up on Rocco's question. You guys said that the autopsies in these cases – you guys said that the autopsies of these cases [inaudible] intervention [inaudible] –

Mayor: Keep the volume up, because we're losing you.

Question: The – obviously, you know the investigations are still ongoing. But have you guys noticed any thematic similarities and what lead to this point sort of beyond specific findings of intervention points.

Commissioner Tucker: Among the individuals?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner Tucker: Not really.

Question: No? Okay.

Commissioner Tucker: No, I mean its across the board. You know, there are no real specifics that you can point that said there's a consistency with respect that. And that's not surprising necessarily.

Commissioner O'Neill: Okay, Mark.

Question: At what point would an officer either lose his – turn in his weapon or be resigned to a different unit, and is that different from what's already in place at the moment or was in place?

Commissioner O'Neill: So, all of these cases it's, – Mark, it's case by case. I can't sit here and tell you exactly what behavior needs to be displayed for an officer to relinquish their weapon their shield. That's got to be done by – that's an evaluation that's done by a phycologist, so.

Alright, Rocco?

Question: [Inaudible] you mentioned the resources that are available outside [inaudible]. Is there an officer who is concerned about being stigmatized, seeks outside help, to play devil's advocate, in theory that [inaudible] maybe they would be taken off the street—

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, Rocco, I'm going to cut you off right there. No, that's not going to happen. If you're not comfortable with seeking resources within the Department, you're – it's perfectly within your rights to go outside the Department. If it's to the point where there's an issue with an officer's safety or somebody else's safety, that's the psychologists who make that determination. So we're not looking to prevent people from going to services outside the Department.

Question: [Inaudible] if someone goes outside—

Commissioner O'Neill: There's not an obligation. There's not an obligation there, to tell us. There's certain medications that are out there where you can continue to have your firearm and certain medications where you can't. Again, but that's a case by case basis. We're all individuals here.

Alright, if there's no other questions about our health and wellness strategy, we're going to move on to Chief Monahan.

Chief Monahan: Hi, good morning. Six months into 2019, I'm proud to say every category of major crime is down in New York City. Overall crime in New York City continues to drop, exceeding last year's historic reductions. Overall citywide crime for the first six months of the year is down 5.4 percent – that's 2,470 less crimes compared to the first six months of 2018. The NYPD has accomplished these reductions while also making 14 percent fewer arrests compared to last year. That's approximately 17,300 fewer arrests. These historic reductions also extend to several specific crime categories for this six-month period. Most notably, murder in New York City, for the first half of the year, has reached an unprecedented low in the modern era. There were 135 murders for the first half of 2019. That's a 13.5 percent reduction from last year, or 21 fewer homicides. That is also one less murder than in 2017, which held the previous six-month record low with 136. For context, just 10 years ago, there were 206 murders for the six-month period, 34 percent more than this year. Additional categories experiencing new record lows year-to-date are robbery, down 6.8 percent, burglary, down 13.4, and grand larceny auto, down 9.5. The remaining crime categories are also down: rape is down 2.0 percent, felonious assault, down 1.9, and grand larceny down 4.0 percent.

I am concerned with the amount of shootings that have been occurring in this city. Shooting incidents are up for the first six months of 2019, versus 2018. There have been 361 shooting incidents compared to 337 in 2018. That's 24 more incidents than last year, or an increase of 7.0 percent. For context, that is still the third fewest number of shootings for a six-month period since CompStat began, and the third year in a row that we are under 400 shootings for the six-month period. Prior to 2016, we had never been under 400 incidences for this time period, and there were 545 shooting incidents for the first six months of 2015. 51 percent of all shootings citywide, or 185, are gang-related. 37 of the shooters who we have already identified are on parole, or probation. 54 of the victims are on parole or probation.

If we look at this borough, Manhattan North – Manhattan North is up 16 shootings years to date, 15 versus 34. When we break that down, the majority of those increases happened earlier in the year. In the 3-4 Precinct, 9 versus 3, and in the 2-8 Precinct, 6 versus 1. For the month of June we put resources in both of those commands and there were no shootings in either one of those commands for the month of June. There was one recent shooting over the last week in the 2-8 Precinct.

When we look at Brooklyn North, looking at the shootings we see a concentration of violence occurring in Brooklyn North. The borough is up 28 percent for this year, 101 versus 79, an increase of 22. 20 percent of the entire city shootings so far this year have occurred in four precincts: the 7-3, the 7-5, the 7-7, and the 7-9 Precincts. The 7-5 has had 17 gang-related shootings, the 7-7 has had 11 gang-related shootings. We have been addressing this violence in a number of different ways, including staffing. Our Summer All Out program, we sent 80 additional officers to the 7-3, the 7-5, and 7-9 Precincts. Also, PSA Three, which covers housing in the 7-9, 8-1, and 7-7, got 25 additional officers. The police academy class that just graduated, we sent an additional 28 officers from our most recent graduating class to these commands.

When we look at this, we look at precision policing. Brooklyn North has made the most gun arrests - 512 gun arrests so far this year, or 35 percent of the entire city's gun arrests. Officers assigned to the four commands that I mentioned this year, have made 368 gun arrests, or 25 percent of the city's gun arrests so far this year. This is excellent work by our officers using precision policing, focusing on the few that are willing to carry guns, and we are intimately aware of these individuals. In fact, many of the subjects we've locked up with guns are part of long-term, ongoing investigations with the Gun Suppression Division, and the Brooklyn DA's Office. Together, we recently conducted a takedown which will be discussed in greater detail later this week at a press conference with the Brooklyn DA's Office, where 21 subjects were pre-indicted, seven of which were already in custody, and we apprehended another 12 last week and will continue to make arrests. Collectively, they are responsible for two murders, three non-fatal shootings, and two acts of reckless endangerment involving the shooting of a firearm as well as a gunpoint robbery. Some of these individuals have also been present at a number of other acts of violence.

When we look at this, we look closely at gun prosecutions, we've mentioned that this before in the past in Brooklyn – in the first half of 2019, we've had 158 guilty pleas on gun indictments in Brooklyn. 30 percent of those, or 47, will be dismissed or sealed because the defendant has gone into a diversion program. 327 days, or 10.9 months, is the average sentence for these 158 gun indictments. We are going to continue to work with the Brooklyn DA's Office to build strong cases, and we are seeing improvements in the reduction of the decline prosecution cases in Brooklyn. We are still seeing pleas that result in little or no jail time and are often accompanied by a diversion program that will conclude with that gun arrest being sealed. Within the last month, we had four different instances where someone was recently put into a diversion program, two of those individuals were rearrested with guns – one was rearrested during a search warrant with ammunition in the apartment, and one, just over the July 4th weekend, was arrested for throwing a bottle at a police officer.

As I switch to the month of June, for the month of June we saw fewest overall indexes for any June in the modern era, and reductions in several crime categories. Overall crime was down 3.8 percent, or 321, the lowest ever. Murder, down 25.7 percent, down nine; rape down 8.0 percent, or 12 incidences; felonious assault, down 1.5, or 29 incidences; burglary, down 17.5, or 164 incidences, that's the lowest ever, and grand larceny down 4.2, or 200 incidences.

There were increases in the following categories: robberies were up 2.1 percent, or 23 incidences, and grand larceny auto, 6.9 percent up, or 20 incidences, and there's an uptick in motorcycle thefts. Citywide shooting incidences are up 27 percent for the month of June, 89 versus 70, or 19. It's still the third best June in the modern CompStat era. Brooklyn North, up 35 percent, 31 versus 19, 45 percent of which are gang-related. Those four commands are 7-3, 7-5, 7-7, and 7-9, were up 62 percent, 21 versus 13, that's 24 percent of all citywide incidences. Gun arrests citywide, we had 200, 100 of them occurred in Brooklyn North, and in those four commands they accounted for 72, or 36 percent of all guns recovered in New York City.

Transit is up 19 crimes, or 9.8 percent. What we've done in transit is we've started our summer All Out in transit, we added 200 officers to transit earlier this summer. We completed the neighborhood policing in transit, and we're working closely with the MTA to address crime conditions and ensure safe rides. Our housing bureau has come in even for the month, 422 crime versus 422. That's it.

Commissioner O'Neill: Any questions about the crime stats?

Commissioner O'Neill: Marcia?

Question: [Inaudible] which I know troubles you, I wonder if there are any new strategies that you're trying to get guns off the street.

Commissioner O'Neill: Terry, do you want to talk about that?

Chief Monahan: We – the strategy – we're getting the guns off the street. We're upping guns – we're upping gun arrests. What we need is that after that gun arrest is made, that that person stays in jail.

Question: [Inaudible] the problem that the District Attorneys are [inaudible] plead out? What – I mean –

Chief Monahan: As I said, we do have the version specifically in Brooklyn at a very high rate

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Monahan: I believe that not as many people should be [inaudible] I don't think that 30 percent of every gun arrest, where a cop puts his life on the line to take a gun off the street off of somebody, should have a case sealed. And if a person gets rearrested, for any crime after that, that should get rid of that diversion immediately.

Question: [Inaudible] with that. Do you agree that people are getting off too easily?

Commissioner O'Neill: It's not a question of getting off too easily. I mean, we work with the Brooklyn DAs, as Terry said before. The number of indictments continue to go up. But this is something that, this is part of the process. I mean our police officers are out there taking guns off the streets and we just have to make sure as we go through that criminal justice process, that there are consequences for those arrests. Yeah, in the back?

Question: How many of the homicides so far this year are linked to guns? Sorry if you guys [inaudible] –

Commissioner O'Neill: Gun-related homicides.

Chief Shea: It's generally 50 to 55 percent and it usually doesn't move.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Monahan: I'll get back to you on the hard number.
Commissioner O'Neill: Tony?

Question: [Inaudible] how many of the shootings are [inaudible] how many of those are related to drug disputes [inaudible]? And the second part of the question is – are you happy with your [inaudible]?

Chief Monahan: No, when you look at booking for the gun prosecutions, it has the least amount of time out of any of the boroughs in the city per gun conviction. So these are convictions. These are the cases that we're able to be taken to conviction. When we look at it, narcotics and gangs are tied together. So that percentage of individuals involved in drugs, that are involved in gangs is pretty much the same.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Shea: Sure. In terms of the hate crimes, this is through today, we've recorded 220. That's up from 149 – an increase of 71, or 48 percent.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Shea: That's year-to-date, as of today. And in terms of the homicides that occurred this year by gunfire, it's 52 percent. That number generally doesn't move much off of that 50 to 55 percent range.

Commissioner O'Neill: That's a hard number. 62. Alright, thank you. Yes?

Question: [Inaudible] you said there was – the Mayor said – there was going to be more police officers responding [inaudible] this year. Do you have any details on how many officers there will be and when they will be dispatched there?

Commissioner O'Neill: What precinct was that?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: 7-7. Terry, do you have those numbers?

Chief Monahan: In the 7-7 what we did, we had taken five cars every day from various commands around Brooklyn and putting them on patrol and the 7-7 Precinct. And that four commands that I talked about, there are 80 additional officers from all our 28 offices from the rookie class and 25 assigned from Housing.

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah.

Question: [Inaudible] shootings and the guns taken off the street. Has anything changed in the last year or so with regard to where the guns are coming from? Or are they still coming up the same pipeline [inaudible]?

Commissioner O'Neill: I'm going to have to get back to you, to the numbers, but as far as I know it hasn't changed. Yeah?

Question: [Inaudible] details on the summer targeted deployments, what neighborhoods you focus on [inaudible].

Chief Monahan: Alright, so we put out our summer violence initiative. It was the 4-0, the 4-2, the 4-4, the 6-7, 7-3, 7-5, 7-9, the 1-13, and Police Service Area 3 and also Manhattan Transit – 25 in each one of those commands.

Commissioner O'Neill: Marcia?

Question: Mr. Mayor, this is a question for you. I wonder how you feel about the feelings of the police department that too many people are getting diversion programs in terms of possession of guns in the [inaudible] change the plea process or more people actually get [inaudible].

Mayor: Absolutely, Marcia, this is something – it's been an ongoing conversation with District Attorneys since the beginning of this administration that we need them to be resolute in gun prosecutions – all the district attorneys and federal prosecutors as well. And I think to the great credit of the federal prosecutors and the special narcotics prosecutor, we've seen very active follow through on arrest. We need the five DA's to be just as consistent.

I agree with Chief Monahan, the men and women of the NYPD put their lives on the line. They get these guns off the street. It's supposed to mean something. So, we should not confuse the goal of diversion, which for, you know, nonviolent offenses is a very valuable tool. It's allowed us to reduce our jail population and help people get back on the right track. But when a gun is in the equation, Marcia, it's a whole different ball game. When there's a gun, there should be follow-through by prosecutors and depending on how serious the incident is, you know, there should be serious consequences. And we need that because the more we can disrupt the presence of guns on our streets, the more we can drive down crime. That's the bottom line. It's all about the guns and the NYPD's been doing amazing, amazing work. They need the prosecutors to be just as aggressive.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: That's in a consistent reality. I mean, I can talk about the latest, but –

Commissioner O'Neill: The DA's offices throughout the five boroughs do gun buybacks. Yeah, you had a question?

Question: Yeah, I had a question about the difference between the summer deployments and what is being done in 7-7 – like what are the differences between what's being done [inaudible] the 77th wasn't on that list of [inaudible] –

Chief Monahan: What's being done – so those commands all got – the other three commands in that thing got the 25 additional officers. What we're doing is from the other precincts within Brooklyn North, we're moving five cars a day at night into that command for additional patrols within the 7-7 precinct. We also put our citywide anti-crime unit has been working there along with our uniform SRG. They've been assigned within that command.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Monahan: That began in the month of June.

Commissioner O'Neill: Yes?

Question: It seems like you guys are attributing a good chunk of the uptick in crime in Brooklyn [inaudible] precincts to Brooklyn prosecutor's failure to crack down on gun cases. I'm wondering how much of the uptick in crime in Brooklyn North have you been able to attribute back to people who were put through a gun diversion program?

Chief Monahan: Again, we just started getting this – who is in the gun diversion from Brooklyn recently and as I mentioned, two of the individuals that were put into the program were rearrested shortly thereafter with guns.

Question: So there's just that – just those two people and just that one case. So –

Chief Monahan: At this point, yes. Again, we've only started looking at the gun diversion – they only started giving us this information over the last couple of months.

Question: [Inaudible] slowdown in the uptick crime in Brooklyn North since then? I walked past a cop [inaudible] subway. So I'm curious if you've seen sort of – have you been able to put a lid on the uptick in crime in the 7-7?

Chief Monahan: In the 7-7, it's calmed down in the 7-7. We've had some upticks in the 7-9, in the 7-5 it went up for a while, the 7-3 recently has taken a bunch of shootings. Those four commands – it's very interrelated, the people back and forth. Disputes between different crews from the 7-7 to 7-3. So you need to put the focus on that entire square to be able to make a difference.

Commissioner O'Neill: John?

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, we still have our partnership with the ATF. Dermot, I don't know if you want to talk about that.

Chief Shea: Sure, I mean, we have a pretty robust, comprehensive strategy regarding firearms in New York City. Certainly part of that is to stop the flow of guns into the city. We've done a number of cases and continue to with different District Attorney's offices, with our federal partners, with our federal prosecutors on people that are bringing guns up, particularly from not just the South but from any areas. But to echo Chief Monahan's point, we're working on stopping the guns, but it's people that are carrying the guns that is the focus of our firearm suppression division. So it's not just one or the other, it's both. But we need to focus on real consequences and swift and certain penalties for individuals that are putting people's lives on the line.

Commissioner O'Neill: Tony?

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Monahan: The district has been a very good partner for us when a case qualifies the trigger lock. And now, listen, when we're talking about Brooklyn, they've also done a tremendous job on some of our case takedowns when we put together a case. So, I'm not saying everything in Brooklyn is wrong, we just need to help with the guns. If we're going to actually continue to drive down gun violence below these historic numbers, we really need to focus on guns.

Commissioner O'Neill: Marcia?

Question: Could you go through the numbers on [inaudible]?

Chief Monahan: All right – 158 guilty pleas on gun indictments; 30 percent, or 47, will be dismissed or C-O'ed due to a diversion program. They average on those indictments – 327 days, or 10.9 months is the average sentence for these 158 gun indictments.

Question: Do you think the sentences are too low?

Chief Monahan: Yes, the average sentence in Brooklyn is the lowest of all the boroughs.

Commissioner O'Neill: Alright, we're going to move on to a police off-topic.

Yeah – front row?

Question: Are you familiar with the incident a couple of days ago where officers in an SUV squad car cut off a cyclist. I mean, is that a proper use of force?

Commissioner O'Neill: I'm familiar with the incident. The bicycle operator blew through numerous red lights. Police officers were looking for him to stop. I didn't see video, but from my understanding – is the police cut in front of him. He dismounted from the bike and the bike crashed into the police vehicle and gets stuck under the police vehicle. Listen, bicyclists have to operate bicycles responsibly. Vehicle operators, drivers have to operate their vehicles responsibly also. So, this is – again, I think it was the press conference last week, you have a 3,000 pound vehicle versus a 20, 30 pound bike. I understand the difference, but there's an onus on everyone involved here to make sure that they're operating their – whatever they're driving or riding responsibly.

Question: I'm just curious why you think that there's an equal responsibility between a citizen on a bike and a police officer in a car. You'd think that police officers have more of a responsibility not to cut off site lists or abide by rules.

Commissioner O'Neill: We have to act responsibly, but person on the bike has to act responsibly to. When they're asked to pull over, they need to pull over and not to continue to blow through red lights. Tony?

Question: [Inaudible] in terms of the summonses you give to cyclists [inaudible]?

Chief Chan: I'll answer it in two parts. The Bicycle Safety Initiative started on July 1st – it's running all the way through until July the 20th – that's three weeks. But what happened is that we understand that our bicyclists and pedestrians are certainly the most vulnerable on our city streets and roadways. So, therefore, we will continue to focus on the safety of our bicyclists and pedestrians even after this initiative concludes. But for the time period, it's is a combination of parking summons, moving violations. Our officers and agents out there issued 2,160 parking summonses to vehicles that are blocking our bike lanes, which will prevent our bicyclists from traveling freely on them. That's a 75 percent increase in that particular category. And we understand that their concern for the bicyclists – we've issued on 935 compared to 728. But as the Commissioner mentioned before, and part of the – our campaign for Vision Zero, on the bumper stickers of all our taxes, you'll see, your choices though. Safety – our safety is really a matter where it's a shared responsibility. Bicyclists are active participants on the roadway. So it's important that they follow the rules and regulations, and certainly traffic lights and things of that nature.

Question: As part of the initiative to keep cyclists safe, should the NYTD be using force against cyclists who commit traffic infractions, like running red lights?

Commissioner O'Neill: NYPD officers should act responsibly and use their best judgment.

Question: Does that include using force?

Commissioner O'Neill: To take a bicycle list down? I'd have to – you'd have to ask me a specific incident.

Question: If a cyclist is just running red lights.

Commissioner O'Neill: So, is it okay for a cyclist to run a red light? Continuously to run through red lights, endangering pedestrians, endangering themselves? Is it? I'm asking you?

Question: I'm asking you if –

Commissioner O'Neill: I'm asking you, is it okay for a cyclist to continue to blow through red lights? I bicycle every day. You have to ride responsibly – that's the point. Every incident where there's an NYPD officer involved and somebody gets hurt or there's damage, we take a look at it to learn from it. It's not always easy to make the best decision possible when the situation's ongoing. Like I said before, these are very difficult jobs.

Question: So, force is an option if the officer judges that the situation requires it.

Commissioner O'Neill: It's up to the individual officer to make that decision. Do we want them to use force? No, we want cyclists to comply. That's what we want.

Mayor: Let's remember, as we understand this incident – I have not seen video either – but that the officer warn the cyclist apparently repeatedly. There has to be respect for when a law enforcement officer says you're doing something illegal, you need to stop. If the individual ignores that, it's a different dynamic.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Shea: Yeah, so – a little – about a month ago, we had the first incident. We did put out some video that was recovered, but honestly the video was far away. It was a little tough. We believe there's a good chance that the individual resides somewhere in that community and that's based on a number of factors. About one o'clock this morning, we had a similar incident at the exact same bar. We are out there canvassing as we speak and we're relying on the community here as well, anyone with any information. We'll be cycling back that original photo as well as any others that we get from this incident to please call with any tips, no matter how small they are.

Question: There's a call-out on the internet – on Tuesday there's going to be a die-in at Washington Square Park to protest the cyclist deaths, and the call is to get all the cyclists out riding lawfully through the streets. And they think that having cyclists out in force will in effect gum up traffic. Can you comment?

Commissioner O'Neill: Can I comment about that? So, this is New York City. People are free to express their ideas and their opinions – that's the beauty of New York City. If this is a cause that people are willing to take up, they just have to do it responsibly. Listen, bottom line, I'm looking to keep cyclists safe. I don't want anybody to walk away from this press conference thinking that's not my primary concern. We've had 15 bicyclists killed so far this year. That's a concern to me personally, that's concerned to the NYPD.

Question: I wanted to ask the Mayor, is he satisfied with the ticket blitz in three weeks of enforcement, etcetera.

Mayor: It's going to continue. I want to be very, very clear. The three weeks was the initial timeframe to get it up and running. I want it to continue to the point that we're absolutely satisfied that it's made a long-term impact. Remember, when we started Vision Zero – I want to mind everyone, Vision Zero was meant to be a very, very big, ambitious initiative to change behavior and to protect people in a way we never did before as a city. And obviously, for five years we've seen it working. This crisis situation with the bikes worries me deeply, and we need to do something different. So we're going to be blitzing on those bike lanes in addition to all of the enforcement we had done previously in terms of speeding, failure to yield, which effects bicycles and effects of pedestrians. All of that is going to continue. But I want to see this go on an ongoing basis until we're satisfied as making a lasting impact on behavior. Vision Zero is about changing behavior. We need to make sure that we do things that will have a lasting impact here. And I also want to say about the Commissioner – he is a bicyclist. As he said, every single day – he understands this very personally. But he also understands that everyone has to be part of the solution. We need everybody following the law.

Question: Does the City keep track of how many city vehicles are faulted if they are for parking or standing in bike lanes?

Commissioner O'Neill: Tom, do we have that number?

Chief Chan: Separately – offhand, I would have to look into that to see if there is source.

Question: [Inaudible] if it's tracked? Just to be clear.

Chief Chan: If a department vehicle receives a summons, they will have to adjudicate that summons but we don't necessarily track how many offhand.

Commissioner O'Neill: Yep, Rocco?

Question: Commissioner, [inaudible].

Commissioner O'Neill: You got to speak up.

Question: [Inaudible].

Commissioner O'Neill: This is the 7-8 Rocco. I saw some of the still pictures, I didn't see the whole video yet, as I said before, policing is a difficult job. This was an arrest they made – they were attempting to make – where an individual decided that as he was being arrested he was going to take whatever cash - I assume he had stolen - and throw that up into a crowd creating a chaotic situation. And while that was happening, two other individuals decided that they were not let there – I don't know if they know him – that person be arrested and there was a physical struggle. Obviously that officer has to articulate why he felt unsafe. If you look at that incident, it's readily apparent why he looks – why he feels unsafe, and we'll review it. But as I said, if somebody doesn't want to arrested it's – cannot – it's sometimes doesn't look pretty. It's a hard job. Yep?

Question: Commissioner, can you give us any idea of plans for the parade for the soccer champions?

Commissioner O'Neill: So, yes, on to some good news here. So first of all I would like congratulate the women's team and it's on Wednesday. So this is not our first attempt at this, we had this in 2015. I'm looking forward to a great day. The last event in 2015 was well attended. Manhattan South has it well in hand, Chief Hughes will be the incident commander on that. I look forward to a great day.

Question: What about the fact that school is out, you know, it's the time of year when the school is out and there may be a lot of kids showing up to this –

Commissioner O'Neill: Yep, I'm sure there will be and we'll be able to handle it just like we do all the other events.

Mayor: Yeah, Lisa, remember last time it was pretty much the same timing, if I remember correctly, and we had an extraordinary event to honor our American women and it went off without any incident. I mean it was just a beautiful day and particularly seeing families to bring their daughters there to see their heroes was an amazing thing. So I think it's going to be very smooth, it's going to be a big, big crowd, but I think it will be well in hand.

Commissioner O'Neill: And this is just coming off Pride, World Pride, where there were upward to three million people in Lower Manhattan and the Fourth of July where there were a couple million people on both sides of the river. So I think we're pretty good at large events.

Mayor: A couple million people here, a couple million people there, what's a few million more, we can handle it.

Question: But Mr. Mayor, do you plan any type – any type of special proclamation or special gift to the –

Mayor: There is going to be a ceremony. So it will be the parade and a ceremony, we'll honor them, we'll give you the details on exactly how we're going to do it as we get a little closer, but it's going to be a great party for New York City. And we're so proud of our American women, they did an amazing job, we want to honor them the right way.

Commissioner O'Neill: In the back row, I can't see you.

Question: Commissioner, any update on the officer involved shooting in the Bronx as far as the suspect, there are some social media videos from the body cam, go ahead –

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, Chief Monahan responded to the scene last night, Terry?

Chief Monahan: Yeah, as I said last night, the officers approached the individual who had broken the rail window of a car. As they were speaking to him, they realized he doesn't have the keys to that car, they're going to go arrest them, he elbows past one of the officers and they wrestle him down to the ground. Now, we've reviewed body worn camera, and the body worn camera all you going to get is the audio. What you hear quite clearly on it is as they're struggling, the suspect says, "I have a gun", he curses, and tells the officer he's going to die. Moments after you here the shots come off. When the officer first gets up from the ground and he's pulled back by other cops, he said he pointed a gun in my chest, he pointed the gun, had it in my chest. The gun was recovered on the ground next to the individual. The suspect is named Ronnie Cole. Ronnie Cole has eight felony convictions, five violent felony convictions, including three armed robbery convictions, a conviction for a gun. He's been in jail since 1990. Was released in April this year, back out on the street and was willing to take a gun, point it at a police officer, and potentially kill him.

Commissioner O'Neill: He's also on lifetime parole. Gloria?

Question: You said there is only audio in that body worn camera, why is that?

Chief Monahan: Because the cameras got knocked off, so they're pointing in a different direction so they're not pointing at the scene but you could hear the struggle going on. You see when the struggle initiates and as they go to the ground wrestling, the camera gets dislodged and it's pointing off in a different direction. One camera falls completely on the ground and is turned off, the other camera is pointing up in the direction but you hear the entire struggle.

Question: So there's no actual video footage from either camera?

Chief Monahan: Not for the shot fired, no.

Commissioner O'Neill: Marcia?

Question: Commissioner, I'm wondering, you know you talked about how difficult it is to go after bicyclists who decide to go through red lights [inaudible] police officer who [inaudible] trying to crack down on bicyclists last week and they did an amazing job, but there are people who ride bicycles who just speed on through red lights no matter what. I wonder if – you as a bicycle rider yourself – if you think it would be helpful to the police if people ride bicycles had license plates on their bicycles so it could be easier to catch them?

Commissioner O'Neill: That's an interesting question. I don't know if we're looking to discourage people from riding bicycles. I don't know if licensing is necessary.

Question: Would you call what cutting off that cyclists [inaudible] through red lights deadly force?

Commissioner O'Neill: I can't – I haven't seen the video, so I don't want to comment anymore.

Question: Can I get a sense of what exactly new is happening with the three blitz – I mean there are no new laws on the books so what's going to be –

Commissioner O'Neill: It's increased enforcement. Tom, do you want to go over the numbers gain?

Question: Does the City keep track of how many city vehicles are faulted if they are for parking or standing in bike lanes?

Commissioner O'Neill: Tom, do we have that number?

Chief Chan: Separately – offhand, I would have to look into that to see if there is source.

Question: [Inaudible] if it's tracked? Just to be clear.

Chief Chan: If a department vehicle receives a summons, they will have to adjudicate that summons but we don't necessarily track how many offhand.

Commissioner O'Neill: Yep, Rocco?

Question: Commissioner, [inaudible].

Commissioner O'Neill: You got to speak up.

Question: [Inaudible].

Commissioner O'Neill: This is the 7-8 Rocco. I saw some of the still pictures, I didn't see the whole video yet, as I said before, policing is a difficult job. This was an arrest they made – they were attempting to make – where an individual decided that as he was being arrested he was going to take whatever cash - I assume he had stolen - and throw that up into a crowd creating a chaotic situation. And while that was happening, two other individuals decided that they were not let there – I don't know if they know him – that person be arrested and there was a physical struggle. Obviously that officer has to articulate why he felt unsafe. If you look at that incident, it's readily apparent why he looks – why he feels unsafe, and we'll review it. But as I said, if somebody doesn't want to arrested it's – cannot – it's sometimes doesn't look pretty. It's a hard job. Yep?

Question: Commissioner, can you give us any idea of plans for the parade for the soccer champions?

Commissioner O'Neill: So, yes, on to some good news here. So first of all I would like congratulate the women's team and it's on Wednesday. So this is not our first attempt at this, we had this in 2015. I'm looking forward to a great day. The last event in 2015 was well attended. Manhattan South has it well in hand, Chief Hughes will be the incident commander on that. I look forward to a great day.

Question: What about the fact that school is out, you know, it's the time of year when the school is out and there may be a lot of kids showing up to this –

Commissioner O'Neill: Yep, I'm sure there will be and we'll be able to handle it just like we do all the other events.

Mayor: Yeah, Lisa, remember last time it was pretty much the same timing, if I remember correctly, and we had an extraordinary event to honor our American women and it went off without any incident. I mean it was just a beautiful day and particularly seeing families to bring their daughters there to see their heroes was an amazing thing. So I think it's going to be very smooth, it's going to be a big, big crowd, but I think it will be well in hand.

Commissioner O'Neill: And this is just coming off Pride, World Pride, where there were upward to three million people in Lower Manhattan and the Fourth of July where there were a couple million people on both sides of the river. So I think we're pretty good at large events.

Mayor: A couple million people here, a couple million people there, what's a few million more, we can handle it.

Question: But Mr. Mayor, do you plan any type – any type of special proclamation or special gift to the –

Mayor: There is going to be a ceremony. So it will be the parade and a ceremony, we'll honor them, we'll give you the details on exactly how we're going to do it as we get a little closer, but it's going to be a great party for New York City. And we're so proud of our American women, they did an amazing job, we want to honor them the right way.

Commissioner O'Neill: In the back row, I can't see you.

Question: Commissioner, any update on the officer involved shooting in the Bronx as far as the suspect, there are some social media videos from the body cam, go ahead –

Commissioner O'Neill: Yeah, Chief Monahan responded to the scene last night, Terry?

Chief Monahan: Yeah, as I said last night, the officers approached the individual who had broken the rail window of a car. As they were speaking to him, they realized he doesn't have the keys to that car, they're going to go arrest them, he elbows past one of the officers and they wrestle him down to the ground. Now, we've reviewed body worn camera, and the body worn camera all you going to get is the audio. What you hear quite clearly on it is as they're struggling, the suspect says, "I have a gun", he curses, and tells the officer he's going to die. Moments after you here the shots come off. When the officer first gets up from the ground and he's pulled back by other cops, he said he pointed a gun in my chest, he pointed the gun, had it in my chest. The gun was recovered on the ground next to the individual. The suspect is named Ronnie Cole. Ronnie Cole has eight felony convictions, five violent felony convictions, including three armed robbery convictions, a conviction for a gun. He's been in jail since 1990. Was released in April this year, back out on the street and was willing to take a gun, point it at a police officer, and potentially kill him.

Commissioner O'Neill: He's also on lifetime parole. Gloria?

Question: You said there is only audio in that body worn camera, why is that?

Chief Monahan: Because the cameras got knocked off, so they're pointing in a different direction so they're not pointing at the scene but you could hear the struggle going on. You see when the struggle initiates and as they go to the ground wrestling, the camera gets dislodged and it's pointing off in a different direction. One camera falls completely on the ground and is turned off, the other camera is pointing up in the direction but you hear the entire struggle.

Question: So there's no actual video footage from either camera?

Chief Monahan: Not for the shot fired, no.

Commissioner O'Neill: Marcia?

Question: Commissioner, I'm wondering, you know you talked about how difficult it is to go after bicyclists who decide to go through red lights [inaudible] police officer who [inaudible] trying to crack down on bicyclists last week and they did an amazing job, but there are people who ride bicycles who just speed on through red lights no matter what. I wonder if – you as a bicycle rider yourself – if you think it would be helpful to the police if people ride bicycles had license plates on their bicycles so it could be easier to catch them?

Commissioner O'Neill: That's an interesting question. I don't know if we're looking to discourage people from riding bicycles. I don't know if licensing is necessary.

Question: Would you call what cutting off that cyclists [inaudible] through red lights deadly force?

Commissioner O'Neill: I can't – I haven't seen the video, so I don't want to comment anymore.

Question: Can I get a sense of what exactly new is happening with the three blitz – I mean there are no new laws on the books so what's going to be –

Commissioner O'Neill: It's increased enforcement. Tom, do you want to go over the numbers gain?

Chief Chan: We anticipate that we will target violations that endanger our bicyclists and our pedestrians. And I'll tell you recent – in the month of June, I have started visiting local precincts, I have gone over to at least over 15 commands addressing the officers, telling them the importance of the right of way for our bicyclists and also our pedestrians – because again with a vehicle, it's just 4,500 pounds, comes into contact with a bicyclist or a pedestrian, the pedestrian and bicyclist loses each and every time. So, we share that message to all our officers out there and I will continue to go to precincts to speak to them personally about that particular subject matter.

So, we will continue in the next two weeks to complete the initiative but as the Mayor said before we will continue to focus on this because, again, that's an area – it's a strategy and we want to save lives and reduce injuries in New York City.

Mayor: Let me add two things – first of all, the whole concept behind Vision Zero is to go at vehicles first. Everyone is part of the equation but the central safety problem in our city is motor vehicles and that is why we lowered the speed limit, that's why we have speed cameras up like never before, that's why we're changing traffic designs, and that's why we're doing a huge amount of enforcement.

I don't want anyone here to underestimate how much new enforcement has been done for speeding, failure to lead; how many more checkpoints have been put in place to stop reckless drivers. All of that will continue to grow. All of the traffic redesigns are changing all the time – more bikes, more protective bike lanes. All of this is moving forward because the first challenge is to change the behavior of drivers, of vehicles, and to protect people. We also need to have an honest conversation about the fact that everyone else in the equation, pedestrians and bicyclists, have to comport themselves in a safe manner for everyone.

If you spend time in this city, you hear from a lot of seniors in particular, they are concerned about not just bikes, they're concerned about scooters, they're concerned about e-bikes. There's kind of a misshapen conversation happening in this city. We're not having an honest conversation about the fact that a lot of people feel afraid for different reasons and everyone needs to take more responsibility for protecting each other. But the first thing we always focus on in Vision Zero is the motor vehicles.

The second thing I wanted to say is that this effort to clear out the bike lanes and make sure that they're usable by our bicyclists, it will be ongoing until I am convinced and the Commissioner is convinced that it's having a full enough affect. So –

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Again, the initial concept was to do it for a period of weeks. I'm saying I'm changing those rules. We're going to keep doing it as long as we need to do it to make sure that we really turn the corner on this crisis. I want to see things change and so we're going to keep it in place until we're sure that things are changing.

Question: [Inaudible] first part of the year [inaudible] –

Mayor: We don't have – it's similar to what the First Deputy Commissioner said earlier. From what I have heard there's no single pattern here. There's no – it's horrible, it's a series of tragedies but we take every one of them seriously. But what we do know is what continues to solve the problem because again you can't do something for five years in a row and it works all five years and then suddenly think it doesn't work. It does work. Vision Zero works. It's a lot more enforcement, it's just continuing to pour on the enforcement, more traffic redesigns, more speed cameras. Huge x-factor here – we're going to have a number of school speed cameras like we've never had in history thanks to the State Senate and the Assembly.

So, you're going to see – more Vision Zero activity will happen in 2019 than any previous year and overall I think it's going to make us safer. But this is a living, growing idea. It's going to keep getting bigger and bolder every single year and this issue of the bike lanes, we have to address forthrightly and we will.

Commissioner O'Neill: Who hasn't asked a question? Who has their hand up? Who hasn't asked a question? Alright, in the back row?

Question: On that note, do you think it would be helpful for vehicles that collide with bikes, for those drivers to face more consequences than they currently do?

Mayor: Yes. I've always felt that and you know the City Council has taken some important actions and the Legislature has taken some important actions but there's still too many situations where drivers get away with too much. There's still a lot more we need to do to toughen up our laws.

Question: [Inaudible] like to see that change given the cases that we've seen so far this year?

Mayor: I'm still – I believe I'm on firm ground saying that we pointed the way with the Legislature, for example on the folks with medical conditions, and we didn't get all the results we needed there. That's one I hope they will take up next year and follow through on. But I think there's a host of proposals about toughening the penalties when someone is killed. I think that's the right direction. I don't have a specific bill number to tell you but I think that's the direction we need to keep going in.

Commissioner O'Neill: Gloria – hold on, you'll be the last. Gloria?

Question: I just – I don't know if you have anything on this yet but there was a pedestrian who was killed in Brooklyn on the corner of Coney Island and Church Avenue. He was struck by a car. The car was making a right turn and collided with another car. I was just wondering if there's anything on that yet.

Chief Chan: That case is being investigated by our Collision Investigation Squad. Approximately, ten o'clock this morning we have a vehicle – it was a – I believe it was a Honda, a blue minivan traveling on Coney Island Avenue and on Church Avenue made a right turn onto – no, Church Avenue, made a right turn onto Coney Island Avenue. The operator of the vehicle was 63 years old. And the pedestrian that was struck was female, 49 years old, and she expired as a result of her injuries over at Maimonides Hospital. So, it's still being investigated at this hour.

Question: Did both drivers remain at the scene?

Chief Chan: [Inaudible] information [inaudible] the driver remained at the scene, yes.

Commissioner O'Neill: Last one.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Yeah.

Question: [Inaudible] proud of the fact that you said [inaudible] speed cameras by schools [inaudible]. There's one problem though. It seems like that the State cameras are way ahead of the signs that notify drivers that it's a school zone. What [inaudible] and if people get tickets going in that zone without the sign [inaudible]?

Mayor: Wait, wait, wait. The school zones – I think, again, the experts will tell me if I'm missing any piece of this equation. But, you know, we have a default speed limit in New York City and then specific posted speed limits. You know, if you don't see a sign it's supposed to be 25 miles an hour. If there is a sign, the sign governs it. So, you don't need a separate sign to tell you there's a speed camera. If you're following the law, you'll be fine. So, yes, in many cases there is a sign to add to the education, to remind people you're going into a school, but I just want to start at the beginning. If you're near a school, slow the hell down and follow the law. It's pretty simple.

Commissioner O'Neill: Actually, even if you're not near a school, slow down.

Okay, thank you.

Mayor: Alright, we're going to switch over.

[…]

Mayor: Okay, time for off-topic. Who's up? Anna?

Question: For the last week or so, the Park Slope Y has been shut down because of water contamination, I'm wondering where you're working out, or are you taking a little summer vacation.

Mayor: There is no vacation, Anna. You never stop exercising, let me tell you that. They have a wonderful sister facility, which I'm very proud to say, as a City Councilmember, I helped them to establish. Actually, working with the Bloomberg Administration, I want to give credit where credit is due, and the Park Slope Armory which has a gym facility too and is a wonderful community facility, so I tried that out today.

Question: The Park Slope Armory?

Mayor: Yeah, it's part of the Y, it's another Y in the area.

Question: That's where you held the big election night—

Mayor: Indeed, very good memory. Fond memories. Alright, yes?

Question: The local community board and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz have voted against the new Bronx site for the jail. It's on a tow-pound which could be contaminated from whatever's there, and then you have to move the tow-pound to another site which hasn't been announced yet. What happens if you don't get the tow-pound site. What happens?

Mayor: Look, we're absolutely convinced we can accommodate the tow-pound elsewhere. We need to do borough-based jails. The councilmember supports it, the Council Speaker supports it, I support, and we're going to keep moving forward.

Question: [Inaudible] tow-pound?

Mayor: We're finding a location on public property.

Yeah?

Question: Do you have an update on plans to honor Louie Alvarez with the key to the city?

Mayor: Yeah, I spoke to his wife and his siblings at the wake, and said to them we want to do it in a time and place that works for them. They were very, very appreciative that the city was honoring him in this fashion. He certainly deserves it. So we're going to figure out if they want to do it at City Hall or however they want to do it, we'll work with them and we'll do it in the coming weeks, but he is someone who, you know, has done something for the ages that is going to help so many New Yorkers and we're going to honor him with a key to the city so he'll be a part of this city's history.

Question: So among the ten highest paid members of your administration, women are 81 cents to every man's dollar. That's nearly double the New York State pay gap. Why is this?

Mayor: It's an absolutely abhorrent way of looking at things. Well over 50 percent of the top executive positions in my administration are held by women - that's been true since day one. Clearly those pay levels are consistent when it comes to Deputy Mayors, Commissioners, et cetera, those are set pay levels. There's a few roles that have different pay levels because of the nature of their work – things like the head of Health and Hospitals, the head of the Department of Education, those happen to be held by men at this moment, that's what creates the statistic you're putting forward. But if you actually look at the facts, look at the three out of five Deputy Mayors who are women, look at my Chief of Staff who's a woman, look at all the Commissioners who are women – there's pay equity when you look at parallel realities.

Question: [Inaudible] highest paid roles—

Mayor: Again, you've got a handful of very specific roles that get paid differently than everyone else, and that is throwing off the equation, it just doesn't accurately present what the reality – the reality is look at all the major roles in the administration, and you'll see consistent pay equity.

Question: Mr. Mayor, so you put out the [inaudible] recommendations for dealing with the medallions. I was just wondering if first you could talk generally about what you've found and what the next steps are. But there are also some questions today about why the City isn't doing the bailout, which is what a lot of what the advocates in the industry have been asking for. So, I guess, if we could just hear your explanation for that.

Mayor: Alright, let me talk to those two issues – broad strokes – and then my colleagues from the Taxi and Limousine Commission can speak to any specifics you need. So, I have been working closely with taxi drivers for years. When this administration came in, we sort of saw the end of a period in which the yellow cab industry was very strong and our drivers were doing reasonably world – and then we saw the world change very, very suddenly. We've tried in a lot of ways to address those changes and protect our drivers. I wish the law that I favored in 2015 had gotten passed by the City Council, I think it would have made a world of difference. We finally got it done in 2018. We finally have a cap on the for-hire vehicles. We finally have a minimum wage for our drivers. We're finally addressing the ways in which the big for-hire corporations have exploited drivers, and therefore hurting all other drivers. But we've also seen tragedies, and it's very painful, and we're going to do everything we can to help all drivers to address their financial reality, to renegotiate their debt if that's what will help them, or get mental health services if that's what they need – whatever we can do to help them within our power, we will. The review that was done focused on an area where we have some real ability to have an impact that previously was not the focus of the concerns we heard from drivers, which is the brokers. The brokers came out in a very extensive piece of investigative reporting by the New York Times that, I think, for a lot of us was eye-opening about a particular problem that had not been previously on the from burner. We did the review. We found real problems with the brokers. We're taking steps to address that and it'll be, I think, individual consequences for some brokers who have done the wrong thing. There are still investigations going on, but we saw already one individual who wasn't a broker but was involved in the industry and did illegal acts – has already been arrested. I think you'll see other people facing very serious consequences. And tougher rules are being put in place for the brokers. We do not control the lenders and that's the heart of the problem – that's State and federal regulation, and I think that's where some of the biggest problems emerged and it was something we didn't see nor could we reach. In terms of the question of the bailout – the honest truth is, it's something we can't reach. We do not have the capacity as a city to provide that. I wish we did, but we don't – that's just the truth.

If you have any follow-ups specifically about the review, these folks can help out.

Question: First on the bailout – the industry and the advocates say that you are – basically the number that you are saying it will cost to pay for a bailout is a lot bigger than what they have estimated. So, I'm wondering if there's any opening here for you to negotiate with them? If there's a willingness to review –

Mayor: No, I have to be honest – and people want honesty from me. We just went through a budget process where, for the first time, we asked agencies to find savings and efficiencies on a high level. For example, the Department of Education had to reduce spending by $100 million in that exercise. We've been doing that on top of a number of other savings initiatives. We are at a point where we are not able to add a substantial new expenditure to our budget. It's just not possible. There's a lot of other things you could think about in trying to asses a situation like this, but I think it begins with the honest truth – we're not in a position to do it. But we are in a position to help in a lot of other ways, and we will.

Question: My last question is if you could talk about – I know you have spoken about the problem of the lenders and how that's out of your purview, but – I mean, how are you guys defining predatory lending when it comes to medallions specifically?

Mayor: I'll start and turn to my colleagues. Again, I think what's is so striking here is – if you go back – my personal experience, again, having a lot of relationships with drivers and folks who represent drivers – in 2013, 2014, you know, it looked like a still-very-strong industry. Now, in 2014, we did a medallion sale because we believed it was needed and we believed it could be sustained and we quickly saw – it was literally soon thereafter we saw something very, very different happening. We cancelled all medallion sales. We haven't done one since then. I think it was a relatively few years in this city where the price of medallions just kept shooting upward, and in that dynamic you started to see predatory lending, but it was not something that we were hearing about in a way that we could identify or act on. I think – I don't know enough about how the state and federal government regulate lending. I don't know how much visibility they had on the problem or how many warning signs they were getting. But I think there was a moment that had there been potentially a stronger regulation in place, maybe some of this could have been stopped before it got out of hand. But this crisis in my experience came on very, very quickly. Again, my deepest regret here is that the 2015 law could have really helped. And I wish the City Council had passed it. I think it was a huge mistake. At least that has been rectified now. Would you guys like to talk about other specifics related to the question of the lending?

Acting Commissioner Bill Heinzen, Taxi and Limousine Commission: Sure, I think one of the most –

Mayor: Introduce yourself first.

Acting Commissioner Heinzen: Sorry this is – I'm Bill Heinzen, and I'm the acting Commissioner for the TLC. One of the most disturbing things we found not just to the news reports, but through our investigation has been the lack of information about the loans that appears to be being made available to purchases and potential purchasers, and also to existing owners who then seek to refinance. And what we found was a lack of clarity, a lack of written agreements about what exactly the brokers role was, what the loan terms might be. And certainly people did not seem to understand that maybe they're entering into a loan where the monthly payments are significantly higher than they can afford. Maybe it's the loan where they're just paying interest, and are not even paying down the principal; they're not sure how long the payout period is. And so the rules that we're going to introduce that are addressed, that are designed to address this issue are going to require you know, mandatory uniform disclosure form for the brokers, mandatory broker agreement. All of this will be plain language translated into English, and as a purchaser you will have all of the information that will tell you – a potential purchaser, a purchaser, what you're getting into in terms of the loan and you also have more resources available from our driver assistance center where you'll have dedicated credit counselors who can help and say, you know, wait a minute before you sign the dotted line there or if you're thinking about refinancing you might want to consider these few things and what the actual financial impact will be for you and for your family.

Question: I'm sorry, I don't understand – if the city did do something wrong with these [inaudible] and –

Mayor: Start again, I want to hear –

Question: All these programs are [inaudible] help them now with the counseling, to help them out a little a bit. But if the city screwed over these people –

Mayor: No, that's just not right, Dave, respectfully. That's not what the facts prove, it's just not. The reg – the – we do not control lending. This is the crucial here is the lending dynamics. And we don't control them. We have no power to reach into lending. Sometimes I think honestly and we all care first and foremost about the drivers here, and what they've gone through. But sometimes I think folks ask questions like the city has magical powers. We don't – lending is controlled by state and federal government, not by a city government. The broker situation we went back and looked over all the years of complaints and we couldn't find any complaints related to brokers. That's what would have triggered us to get involved on the broker front. We now because so – we had not complaints. You would agree, normally in government you figure out something is wrong because someone comes up and says here is a problem and you go look at it. That article just a month or two ago was the first time some of these specific broker problems were brought to our attention. That's why we did the review. But I want to be clear, the underlying problem with the brokers – the smaller piece of the equation. The biggest piece of the equation is, who does the lending.

Question: [Inaudible] the City or the State or whoever [inaudible] step in [inaudible]?

Mayor: I've been really honest about what the City can and cannot do. I think there should be an equal – and it's a very valid question – equal attention paid. We've done a full review on the one area we regulate, which is the brokers. We should demand that the State and federal government, if they do an equivalent review of the lenders, and then be evident what they could have or should have done in terms of lenders. Did they have visibility on a problem that they could have acted on? If so, they should do something about it. If they did not, that's a different reality. But we've got to get that piece of the picture and, so far, we don't have it.

Question: With the Queens DA race there's been some accusations of potential fraud with the recount process, so technically it would be affidavits. I'm wondering if you can comment to this one, just your general thoughts on how that process is going, but also I mean at this point are any of those accusations credible? Is the City looking into it?

Mayor: So, here is what I'd say – we're talking about the New York City Board of Elections. If someone makes an accusation about the New York City Board of Elections, I take it on face value. I would never sweep that under the rug, I'd never ignore it, because there's been too many really troubling situations with the Board of Elections. So, I have not seen anyone provide a specific set of evidence. But I would say, if there's an allegation that something was not treated fairly by the Board, it should be absolutely investigated and taken seriously. And again, the State of New York has jurisdiction over the Board of Elections. I think they need to look at it right away, because this is a very important office we're talking about – Queens DA. They should take it very seriously. That said – I have not seen a specific piece of evidence to confirm any of these charges. And as I understand it, there's still a lot of affidavit ballots to be reviewed. So we don't know where this is going. But, right now I would hope – I think we have to worry about the confidence of people in the outcome. So I would urge the State of New York to get all over of this right now to make sure everything is kosher, to make sure everything is being handled properly so that when the outcome finally becomes clear, the people of Queens believe it's accurate. Yes?

Question: Mr. Mayor, regarding that same contested election, the primary, but with regards to one of the candidates who has expressed during her campaign that she would not prosecute people arrested for what might be known as low-level or what used to be called broken window crimes. How do you think that number one, how that makes police officers feel if they're obligated to follow the law and arrest people for some of these crimes – on the other hand, finding out that there will be little or no prosecution in the Borough of Queens for those crimes?

Mayor: So let's, again, I have not seen the specifics of what she's saying, and I want to urge everyone to recognize that if she becomes the Queens DA she will be confronted by a series of realties and she'll have to make decisions based on that and everyone is different when they walk in the door of the office and you suddenly have to deal with a whole set of realties that were only theoretical before. But on quality of life policing which I believe in 110 percent and that we continue to practice in this city. We have moved from arrests in many situations to a summons as a better option even in some cases a warning determined by officer distraction. And that has been effective in addressing quality of life issues, while reducing unnecessary arrests and reducing unnecessary incarceration. So there is nothing that she's saying on broad stroke that's different from what's already happening in New York City. Now, where I would be very specific – it's what we talked about earlier with Brooklyn. Gun offense need to be prosecuted, and there need to be clear consequences. If she were to win that's a conversation ill have with her in a very forth right matter that we need to see that happen for the safety of the people of Queens. Thank god, crime continues to go down, and violence continues to go down in this city, and we'll keep driving it down. But we have to know the difference between the kinds of offenses where a summons will do, versus the kind of offense where there needs to be more serious penalties. Yes.

Question: The Post got its hands on some documents that show that Health Department inspectors found conclusive evidence of lead in three dozen NYCHA apartments and let the authorities skate on making repairs. What do you make of the situation and should those apartments be covered in the sweep that you guys are doing right now?

Mayor: Again, that's not what we're doing anymore, it's in other words I don't agree with any decision to contest the Health Departments findings and we've said that is now a rule that NYCHA will not contest findings will follow through immediately on any directive from the Health Department and every one of those apartments we are going to go back and apply the new technology, the XRF technology to review the findings with better technology and come to a final decision about the status of that department – apartment, I am sorry.

Question: What do you make of NYCHA contesting – you're banking on XRF devices [inaudible] 135,000 apartment's and your housing authority spent a decade contesting every single finding reported by an XRF device. How do you square this? How does it come from being entirely unreliable in NYCHA's view, to being the thing that you're going to use to prove whether or not once and for all apartments have lead in them?

Mayor: I think that again the simple reminder of the history. There was a point before I took office where the kind of lead inspections that should have happened stopped happening. When we found out the extent of the problem, we turned everything 180 degrees in the other direction. We announced a Vision Zero approach to lead, not just for public housing, which as you know is a very small part of lead challenge. But an approach that's going to reach deep into private housing too, and all elements of our city, we want to eradicate lead paint exposure in New York City once and for all. It's down 90 percent since 2005. We want to eradicate it, that is our goal right now. The XRF testing allows us to do something that was never possible in the past to definitively say if there is a lead problem in an apartment or not. So far we started the XRF testing in NYCHA on the buildings presumed to have the biggest lead problems, historically presumed to have the biggest concentrations of lead. And already what we're seeing with the testing is about 25 percent of those apartment's in those buildings do not have a lead problem. I think as we continue throughout all of the 135,000 apartment's we're going to find thank God that a number of apartments do not have a lead problem. We're going to be able to take all of our resources and focus on the ones that do. But the reality you describe accurately from the past is an unacceptable reality today. We will not allow any contested any contesting of Health Department results. We want immediate follow up in the case of all families. If we find something, immediate action taken on the apartment, and the best technology to determine what the real situation is. So to me it's a never again situation. We are now saying the policy of the entire city, not just to NYCHA all elements in City government is a Vision Zero approach to lead and I think we're going to be able to pull it off because we're throwing a whole lot at it.

Question: The emails the Post obtained in the story they wrote last year show that top levels of City Hall were briefed about NYCHA's failure to properly conduct lead inspections in the spring of 2016, the documents that were reported on today show that this policy of universal contestations extended until at least the end of 2017. When did City Hall become aware of the [inaudible] –

Mayor: Again, I'm not going into specific dates, because I can't do that off the top of my head. I can only – my colleagues will follow-up. I can only say this to you – as this part of the equation became clear, we acted on it. And most importantly, we went to an entirely higher place by naming Kathryn Garcia as our Lead Czar and asking her to address lead in all elements of life in New York City. The plan she put forward – there's no president in the United States of America for the plan she put forward. It is a total eradication plan – it is being implemented as we speak. So, the bottom line to me is – as each part of the equation became clear, we acted. But more important than that, we said let's go now and look at everything and come up with a plan for total eradication – that's what we have now.

Question: [Inaudible] –

Mayor: Let me get some other –

Question: [Inaudible] –

Mayor: My friend, I'll come back to you. You've had a lot of time. Don't worry, I'll come back.

Question: I was curious about the outcome of the City's June 24th visual lead inspection in classrooms. How many summer school classes were relocated and how many classrooms had to be remediated? And will you make the inspection results public?

Mayor: Yes on making results public. I have asked out team to put out a very public accounting of all lead inspections done in our schools. From what I have seen over years working with the Department of Education, this has been an area of strength where the lead inspections have been done very consistently. Have not seen specific instances where there were problems. Again, what we do is we do XRF testing, we use certified technicians to do testing. But I think we need to answer your concerns and the concerns of parents with a very full public accounting, including of what's happening right now with summer school. I do not have all of the facts in front of me right now, but I'm going to ask my team to get them out this week – what we do have – and we'll continue to put out regular reports as we do more testing.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I'm not confirming anything until I get the specific facts. I'm confirming to you that I really believe the DOE has been rigorous in its testing but I want people to be able to see it school by school and see all of the details on the issues you're raising.

Yeah?

Question: [Inaudible] the City stopped offering full-service SNAP assistance out of its Harlem SNAP centers and community members are saying this is a hardship for them and complained that the City has closed a few SNAP centers in the past year and reduced hours [inaudible] –

Mayor: So, let me say two responses. The first is, what has happened with SNAP, or food stamps, is more and more people are accessing them and renewing them either online or by phone. So, the need for those in-person appointments is being greatly, greatly reduced – and that's a good thing. That means that people are getting the help they need, the food for their families much more easily without having to wait in a line, without having to travel. But it's all changing the reality of those offices. In that instance, there's another office not too far away in East Harlem if someone really needed to go in person. But I also want to be clear – the second part of the answer – we have to keep tightening our belt going forward. What you all witnessed in the 2019 budget process was a series of new savings initiatives because we recognize that we're at a point now where we really have to level off and address these issues. So, if we see an office, for example, that doesn't have anywhere near as much business as it used to and we can achieve the same thing in a more efficient manner by phone and online, we're going to do that.

Question: [Inaudible] is that there's no community engagement [inaudible] do you think that's –

Mayor: I would argue that. Again, we always want community engagement. We always want to make sure that we're talking to people. I can't confirm what the engagement process was. My team will follow up with you on that. But I will say to you that we have a mandate to use the taxpayers money well, and if we come to a conclusion that an office is not serving the function that it used to, we have to act on that, especially if we know that people are getting served in a different way.

Anything over here? I'll come to you – hold on, I owe you and I owe you. If you have a follow-up still, let me see, last call over here – and now over here. Okay.

Question: [Inaudible] during you administration, you and the First Lady have been out of New York City more than ever before. You are a candidate for the Democratic nomination, perhaps the President. You are a very big supporter of New York City being the –

Mayor: There's a lot of [inaudible] in this question. I'm trying to keep track of all of the assumptions here – go ahead.

Question: If you are successful [inaudible] how would you address the need to support allowing immigrants [inaudible] and number two, a roadmap for citizenship.

Mayor: Excellent question, I'll give you the simple version. 11-12 million people here, which is one of the greatest don't-ask, don't-tell's in American history. And it didn't just happen, it's been that way for decades. This is dysfunctional – well before Donald Trump ever got here – totally dysfunctional. The American business community would be the first to quietly tell you that they could not get their work done without undocumented immigrants. I've been spending time in Iowa, they cannot harvest their crops without undocumented immigrants. I mean, this is ludicrous. We need a comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the people who are here, period. And then we need to be able to create a system for people legally coming in to do work, whether they become citizens ultimately or just come in as workers. There's no way this country will be able to advance economically if we don't do this. The irony of this whole debate is that the right-wing has made this a cause of fear for every-day Americans, that immigrants are going to take their jobs or, you know, make them have to pay more in taxes. It's all a big lie. These immigrants are part of the backbone of our economy. They don't make a lot of money. Our economy wouldn't function without them. I said in the debate and I meant it, we need to make very clear to American citizens who are feeling stressed economically that the immigrants didn't do it to them, the big corporations did it to them and the one percent did it to them and we need to really change that discussion because when we do we'll actually get to comprehensive immigration reform. So, I think that's what most Americans want. The polling is pretty clear, they're sick of this fight to nowhere, and I think we can get there. I think if I had the occasion to debate Donald Trump, I would point out what a liar he is, that he is telling the American people that immigrants are their problem when they're not, and he's the best friend the one percent ever had. So, he's aiding and abetting the folks who really created the problem.

Okay, last call here – go ahead.

Question: So, to those three dozen families in those apartments where health inspectors [inaudible] –

Mayor: Yes, we have to – I want the Health Department to go back to each and every one of them, evaluate the situation with their children, and see if they need any help at all. If they need it, we'll provide it to them.

Question: [Inaudible] Jeffery Epstein – what does the City know about this –

Mayor: You missed you opportunity with the people who knew who were here before. I'm sorry I can't help you on that.

Thanks, everyone.

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