June 3, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, good morning, everybody. I want to give you an update, but first I have to tell you about something that I hope will give us all hope, real inspiration, because it is about how the people of this city respond to a challenge, respond to a tough moment. The night before last, there were some real problems in the Bronx, in one part of the Bronx in particular. And I was on the phone yesterday morning, speaking to the Borough President of the Bronx, Ruben Diaz, Jr. And he was out in the street where the violence had occurred, and we were talking about, and he said, I at least want you to know even though we had a tough night, he said, I'm looking at something very positive. There's a lot of young people out here cleaning up. They're out here, because it's their community, they’re out here cleaning up the damage that was done by a very few, a very negative few who don't represent the Bronx, don't represent that neighborhood, don't represent this city. And he said they were cleaning up. He said, it's good to see young people care about their community and are doing something positive. So, I said, well, borough president, what organization are they with? Who organized? He said, let me find out, hold on a moment. And he reaches out, he's got a couple of young people there. He says, hey, excuse me, which organization are you from? And the kids say to him, we're not from any organization. We live here. And these young people, this is their neighborhood, and they are the future of the Bronx, and they are the future of New York City. There are so many good young people in this city who I want to tell, all of them, all the youth of New York City who care about your neighborhoods, care about this city, care about creating a better world, care about creating a more just world. Thank you. Thank you to these young people in the Bronx who wanted to create something positive, even in the midst of a crisis and a challenge, they wanted to move their neighborhood forward.
So, look, it's an example to us all. And then, I went to the scene yesterday, myself later on the day. I met with store owners who had had their stores looted, and I heard their stories. And these are hardworking people. People who epitomizes the heart and soul of New York City. It's a primarily Latino community. Some people own stores who were immigrants. Some grew up in the area. But what they had in common was working people who had created something to serve their own community. And I talked to a lot of store owners in their stores, and I asked them what they were feeling. And they were, they were angry. They were frustrated. They needed help. And then every single one of them said, but we will rebuild, and we will come back, and we're not going anywhere. And I want you all to hear that, because that is the spirit of the Bronx. And that is the spirit of New York City. We're not going anywhere. I was in a neighborhood that went through such tough times, decades ago. And a lot of people I was with yesterday, elected officials, community leaders, store owners, everyday people in the community referenced how tough it had been in the Bronx a few decades ago, and yet, they stood their ground, and they brought the Bronx back and they will do it again. So, this is a setback, but it's not anything that will change the heart and soul of the people of the Bronx, and the people of this city.
Last night, we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we've had the last few days of moving to a better time. Just off the phone with Commissioner Shea and First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan, and I want to thank both of them. We have all been talking constantly over these last six days. Both of them have shown tremendous leadership in the midst of this crisis. We went over the facts of last night. We saw a very, very different picture around New York City last night. We still have more work to do. Let me affirm that right up front, we saw a peaceful protest during the day. Yeah, some tense moments, undoubtedly, but overwhelmingly peaceful protest, and the NYPD respecting the peaceful protest. We saw a few incidents where people decided to do something illegal or violent around the protest, but that was rare. We saw some acts in different boroughs of people attempting to attack property, and the NYPD was positioned to address that rapidly. We'll get the exact details out as we get more information in the course of the day, but overwhelmingly, it was a very different reality in New York City last night. And the areas that had been particularly affected in Midtown Manhattan, and in part of the Bronx the night before, did not see that kind of activity in any meaningful number last night.
So, a step forward, and working closely with Commissioner Shae and his team, a series of strategies were employed yesterday. And those strategies I think by in large were effective. Those strategies were created in light of the evidence of what happened from 9:00 PM Sunday through Monday night. Again, things we had not seen previously, adjustments were made. NYPD really stepped back yesterday morning and said, okay, we're dealing with something different here. We have to defend differently. We have to address it differently, and they did. And I want to thank the commissioner and his team. I want to thank the men and women of the NYPD. They've been asked to do a lot the last few days. A lot of them are exhausted from working so hard, but they are going out there doing their job, protecting all of us, and showing a lot of restraint in the process, and that's what we expect. And I want to be clear. Everyone who puts on that uniform takes an oath, agrees to a higher calling, and agrees that restraint will be a part of their life. And keeping the peace means every sense of those words. That's what our officers and their commanders understand. So, we expect a lot of police officers. We expect them to live up to the highest standards of our society. And I saw a lot of good last night, and I want to see that continue. So, I emphasize that the standards, the rules we put in place last night, the curfew beginning at 8:00 PM, and going until 5:00 AM the next morning, that will be in place including Sunday night to 5:00 AM Monday morning. At that point, we hope to lift the curfew, move forward just as we're starting phase one of our restart. And the additional restrictions we put in place regarding transportation, we're going to keep all of those in place tonight. I anticipate keeping all of them in place throughout the week. We'll look at that carefully. We might make some adjustments along the way. I do want to say to anyone who was inconvenienced, I am sorry that happened, but it was in the name of addressing a bigger problem. And it's the right thing to do for just a few days as we address this situation and move forward. And we all now need to turn our attention to the hugely important moment coming this Monday, June 8th, where we take phase one of the restart.
We've got to understand, all of us, as important as the issues that are being addressed in the last few days are, the single most important thing happening right now in New York City is the battle against the coronavirus. The single most important thing is to help people be healthy and safe. And right after that, is restarting our city, helping people get their livelihoods back. I told you, when I was out on the streets of this city in Central Brooklyn on Sunday, I talked to a lot of everyday people that are definitely concerned about bigger issues of justice for sure, but their number one concern overwhelmingly, was their economic reality, and what they're suffering through in this horrible economic crisis related to the coronavirus. The number-two concern was the health, and safety of their families. We need to get back to that focus. So, let's realize that together, actually, all of you have done an amazing job of fighting back this disease. And now we’ve got to go finish that job and we’ve got to for the good of all. So, let's talk about that. We're only able to go to phase one because everything you guys have done, I want to remind people not withstanding what we've been through in the last few days. I want people to stay home to the maximum extent possible. I want people to practice social distancing very, very consistently. I want people wearing those face coverings all the time. It's imperfect, I know. Weather's getting warmer, but get back to it, because it has been working, and we need it to beat back this disease. Five days to get ready for phase one, and phase one to me is yes, about getting people's livelihoods back restarting economy, but it's also first and foremost health and safety. We got to do it the smart way and the safe way. So, for people to be able to get back to work, for people to be able to participate again, comes down to the ability to get around. And we know this is a mass transit city. There is no way in the world, New York City functions without mass transit. When we get past this crisis, I want us to see us to be even more of a mass transit city. I want there to be a day where people rarely use an automobile in this city, but for now in this crisis, we have to deal with the immediate reality. And that means that people at least need to know that when they get on that subway car, they get on that bus, it is safe, and there are rules, and it's clean, and everyone knows how to approach it. We do know ridership went deeply down, 90% reduction at the height of the coronavirus crisis, but now people are going to be coming back, and they need to know they're going to be safe.
So, we've had conversations now for days, a lot of us at City Hall have been talking to folks at the MTA about how do we do this right. I had a very good conversation a few days ago with the head of the MTA, Pat Foye, constructive conversation. We've offered ideas to the MTA about what we think will make it work better, and we want to partner with the MTA to get done. So, yesterday I put out a vision of what I believed would help us come back safely in terms of our subways and buses, and I know the MTA also released a plan that showed, I think some very real progress. They are looking to do something we need to do. Get that service levels, get the frequency of the trains and buses up to where it would be during normal times. Because that's going to mean enough opportunity to get around, but also that when you get on a subway or bus much greater likelihood, it will not be crowded. I wanted to see hand sanitizer in all stations. They're doing that. I think that's great. I appreciate that. And they're going to do a great effort to get face coverings out. We've already pledged. We will provide a million face coverings. The city of New York will provide a million face coverings working with the MTA for free to New Yorkers. We want to make sure it's always easy to have that face covering on.
Now, there's more to be done though. There's more to be done because that alone won't get the job done. There has to be a presence on the platforms, personnel there to educate people, remind them, make sure to staying safe. We want to work with the MTA to get this done. So, here's some things that I'm proposing, I want to see the MTA take the next steps on. I want to see that everywhere you go, whether it is in a subway station and on the platform or on the train or on a bus, there are markings telling you exactly where to be. If you're waiting for in line to get a MetroCard from the machine, here's the marketing showing you where to stand in line, if there's a line. If you're on the platform, here's the marketing's telling you exactly where you can stand with enough distance from the person next to you. If you're on the subway, here's how many people should be on that train, on that car and the markings of where you should stand or sit the same with the buses. It is crucial that every other seat be blocked off so that it's clear, you'll never end up sitting right next to someone, there's at least a seat between people. I think it's clear that we need stated public capacity limits on buses and on trains, some as I understand that some subway cards are different from others in terms of capacity. Great, but let's have the number very clear to everyone, this subway car can handle whatever number it is that people no more, this bus, this number of people no more while we're going through this crisis. Everyone can make sense of that; everyone can visualize that those commonsense standards and the personnel to back it up. If a train's crowded, the personnel there to say – hey, don't get into this car, the next car is pretty empty, go down to that one. Or to know when to say, we don't want any more people getting on this train right now, we want the train to go by this station until another one comes that's less crowded. Those kinds of adjustments will make a lot of difference, and then people will see it and feel it, and they will feel safe. And I know New Yorkers, if you experienced it, you see what your own eyes and you know, it's safe, you'll get back on the train and that's going to help us all move forward.
Now, as we are surging forward to Monday, June 8th, the other big piece of the equation is to protect our health and our safety with a strong test and trace plan. Now we've been talking about this for days, want to emphasize there's a handoff I keep talking about. Just as you start to reopen test and trace moves forward in a huge new effort, that means more and more New Yorkers being tested all the time, anyone test positive gets the help they need. If they need to be in a safely separated place, they need to be in a hotel, or if they need help isolating at home anyone needs to be quarantined has that support. This approach is the offense to keep pushing back this disease, just at a point where more and more people might come in contact with each other. So yesterday we announced we're now going to a stance where testing will be available. It's still not in the number we want it to be by any stretch of imagination, but it's going to keep growing. We're coming up now towards about 30,000 tests per day, I want us to get the 50,000 tests per day soon and keep growing— from then. But here's the bottom-line testing is free; we want every New Yorker to understand it. Your testing will provide to you for free, it will be easy, it will be quick. And now my message is all New Yorkers are welcome to come and get these tests, we've talked before about the different priorities, we've talked before about people who had preexisting conditions or we're older, we've talked about our first responders, our healthcare workers, people work in our nursing homes, all those folks that was crucial to focus on them first while we had a very limited supply of testing. Now we have a lot more, all New Yorkers are now welcomed to come forward— get tested for free, to find out where you can go to nyc.gov/CovidTest, or you can call 3-1-1. We now have over 180 sites and that will be growing rapidly, as we move forward.
Also, testing is combined with tracing someone tests positive, who are the people you've been in close contact with the last few days we're going to now reach out to them. We're going to get them tested if they need help, if they need to safely separate from other people, we'll do that. Now that army of tracers we've been talking about by the end of this week, there will be 2,500 tracers on duty – 2,500 – and we'll be adding more the following week, another 1,200. So, this number is growing all the time, I've said we are prepared to get to as many as five to 10,000 tracers, they're going— into duty right now. And here's the bottom line, if you test positive, you will get a call from a tracer. You need to take that call. I want to emphasize how important this is. If you test positive, you're going to get that call, take that call, tell them about your close contacts, that's how we protect people, that's how we protect your family, and every family. That call will come within about 24 hours of the time that you are tested 24 to 36 hours, crucial that we then follow through. We do that, right, I’ll make this point simple, you do that right, we do that right, we find everybody who needs support and they get support. And the disease has nowhere to go, if people who need to be safely separated from everyone else, and we do that effectively, then other people won't catch the disease and we contain it and we slowly constrain it more and more to the point that we can eradicate it eventually, that is the name of this game.
Let me talk to you about our thresholds, our indicators that we talk about each day to tell you where we are and how well you have done, and congratulations, because today you will see how well you have done. I've said that we have three and the first is a daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19. We need to say under 200 people per day in all of New York City, city of over 8 million people. So as long as there's fewer than 200 going into the hospitals in a day, we think we're okay, we can make it work, we can protect people. Today the lowest number I've seen 39 patients only, 39, for all of New York City went into the hospital for this day, 39 only, that is a tremendous positive indicator.
Now we've said there's a threshold for a number to the daily number of people in our health and hospitals ICU, need to keep that under 375, it's taken a while to get that down. But now we are there 355 for the last few days we've been under that threshold, and we intend to stay under that threshold. And percentage of people who test at citywide for COVID-19 tested positive, again, got to stay under 15 percent to know that we can make sure that we can handle people's health and safety needs, again, best number we've seen so far, four percent, even with more and more testing, only four percent testing positive. So, this is really, really a very, very powerful evidence of everything you've achieved, this has been a tough game plan, it's required a lot of discipline. People have stuck to the plan, and now you see the fruits of your labors. Few words in Spanish.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, we will turn to our colleagues in the media. Please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: Hi all, just to reminder, we have Police Commissioner Shea, President and CEO of Health + Hospitals Dr. Katz, and Executive Director of the Test and Trace Corps, Dr. Long, on the phone. With that, I will start with Juliet from 1010 WINS.
Question: Oh, hi. Good morning, Mr. Mayor, how are you today?
Mayor: I'm all right. Juliet. How are you?
Question: I'm okay and thank you for coming on with us last night, much appreciated. So, my questions are, the MTA wants the city to provide volunteers to help with the social distancing efforts. Is that something you'll provide? And what are your plans for possible influx of cars into Manhattan? And the other part of this is with the city ready to reopen with a curfew, many commuters come into work during the early morning hours and with places they are working at still boarded up for, or repairing damage, how are they going to get in there and get to work?
Mayor: Okay. The curfew point – and say the first part one more time, Juliet, the first part of your question.
Question: Oh, the first part that's the MTA has asked the city to provide volunteers to help with social distancing efforts. So, is that something you'll be doing? And what about the possibility that more cars are coming into the city.
Mayor: Yup. Thank you very much. Very good questions Juliet and I appreciate it. So, more cars, yes, I do believe there will be more cars for a period of time, as I said, that's not our future. That won't work for our future in terms of congestion, in terms of health, in terms of fighting global warming, that can't be our future, but in the short term, do I believe people will use their cars more or for hire vehicles more in the next few months of transition. Yes, I do, and we can handle that because we're going in phases. Obviously, there are so many fewer people moving around than usual, there's so many fewer people going to work, we can handle that in the short term. But the real point here is to get the MTA back up and running, to show people a safe to steadily increase the number of people feel comfortable going on the subways and buses, obviously all the same time, continuing social distancing, and that's not forever Juliet.
I think it's really important to remind people this is a time limited crisis. We, if we do our work together, all of us as New Yorkers, as one team, we will keep pushing back this disease and have the ability to open up more and more and get all of our transit options back to the fullest.
So, I believe we can make that work, but in the short term, we know that because phase one only involves certain types of work, and our prediction is between 200,000 or 400,000 people are going to come back to work starting Monday. But remember right before this crisis hit, we had over 4.5 million people working in New York City, 4.5 million people working in this city, highest level of employment in the history of New York City was back in January and February. Now you have a huge percentage of people working from home and thank God they're still working, but working from home, I'm sure that will continue for months ahead and phase one again is only one part of the economy so we can handle the initial adjustments.
Yes, we will work with the MTA, I want to be helpful to them. I know they've asked for us to help get some staffing together, absolutely want to find a way to do that. We want to work collegially we did something very good in the cleaning initiative together, the overnight cleaning that's been working very powerfully. We want this— to work as well, so we will help them, we're going to give the million face coverings for free and we need to do more, we'll do more. We'll help them with personnel, I think we can all work together. I do want to say the MTA, it is crucial to put those markings in place and give people clear guidance. New Yorkers, I’ve been watching, you know, how many places with a supermarket grocery store, someone just put masking tape on the street to say, here's how the line should form. And people have been forming the line that way, they just need some guidance. So, if we do that in the subway, we do it on the platform, we do it in the subway car on the bus, I think we'll all be better off, and it will help everyone. So, we need the MTA to do that.
And then on the curfew Juliet, we're going to end it as per now, we're going to watch every single day, but the plan is Sunday night into Monday morning, 5:00 AM Monday morning, curfew comes off. I'd like to us, never to have to use it again, if we can do things right, and then we go right into the reopening. So, folks who are working on their stores right now to get ready for the reopening they're going to be doing that during daytime hours, you know, from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM, people are moving about as normal, that's plenty of time for folks who are working on their stores. I'm sorry that be an additional challenge for those who might be having to do some repairs right now, because of that bad couple of nights. But I know they can get it done, and remember, who's coming up for this next phase, construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail that can do curbside pickup and pick up in the store. That combination, I think those industries will be able, they've gotten a lot of warnings since we announced last Friday the Governor and I, that this was happening, they've gotten a lot of warning to get ready. New Yorkers are resourceful, I have great confidence people will be ready.
Moderator: Next we have Brigid from WNYC.
Question: Morning, Mr. Mayor. I have two questions for you and for Commissioner Shea. First, we saw a lot of videos from last night showing the NYPD detaining people on the streets sometimes for seemingly no reason, including essential workers and journalists. On Sunday Commissioner Shea said there were about six incidents of potential police misconduct under investigation. I'm wondering what the number is now and if any of those officers are still allowed to police protest while under investigation? And then my second question is related to some of those people who have been detained, many of them from low-level offenses that could have been dealt with by summons that means they’re in crowded jail cells during the pandemic and I'm wondering, what's being done to ensure the safety of those detained and why officers aren't consistently wearing face coverings?
Mayor: Yeah, okay. Brigid, I'm going to have to say, I respect you a lot. We know each other a long time. That's a lot of questions and I just, they are very important and good questions, but I really feel like you went by the ground rule there. So, I'm going to adjust your questions a bit and please to all the journalists, we're trying to be fair here, just ask two real questions. They'll be good for everyone and everyone else gets their chance and then all of us need to get back to work, which we are doing nonstop here.
No journalists should ever be detained ever. Unless there's an absolutely abhorrent situation where a journalist commits an illegal act, there should be no condition under which any journalist is ever detained by the police of this city or any city in the United States of America, period. It's in our constitution, the freedom of the press – it must be honored. There should never be anything that compromises that. So, anytime a journalist is in any way treated inappropriately, I want that investigated by the NYPD immediately and I want to make sure there are ramifications for that. We absolutely believe in the right to protest that I just think we've shown it and said it a thousand times and we're going to continue to. Essential workers should not in any way, shape or form be stopped from going to their work - that's very clear. If there's any instance like that, I want to know about it. I assume sometimes that's just based on a lot of activity and people trying to make sense of a complex situation, but the bottom line is you're an essential worker, you're not supposed to be a stopped; you just have to clarify where you're going and why and the police will understand that. Any officers who are under investigation will not be present during protests; I can say that very clear. I've had this conversation with the Commissioner, if an officer is under investigation, those investigations from now on are going to go faster; we're going to have faster results. But one thing is for certain, if an officer is done something that has led to serious questions about their conduct, they're going to be pulled immediately away from protest duty while that discipline is determined and I want to see it determined quickly. I want to be fair to all involved, but it must be quickly. So, and then obviously we must do everything safely. So, I understand the complexities everyone is facing, but I would like to see every New Yorker with a face covering on at all times. I don't like it. You don't like it. It's no fun, especially when it's hot out. Everyone needs to have a face covering on; everyday New Yorkers, protesters, police, everyone needs to have a face covering on. And we want to make sure everyone's safe and people will be detained if they do something inappropriate. And we saw in the last few days, people do things inappropriate, people do things violent, people attack property, attack police officers, anyone who does that is going to be detained; anyone who's out after the curfew and cannot prove that they are there for essential work reasons is subject to being detained. We're going to follow through on those rules. That's the way I've made clear to the NYPD I expect people to handle things, but I want to make sure everyone's safe. So, we certainly will look at, I'll ask First Deputy Mayor Fuleihan to follow up with the Commissioner on the situation with anyone who’s detained to make sure we're putting the right measures in place for the health and safety of all.
Commissioner do you want to add anything?
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: No, I think you hit everything. The only issue I thought that was a long question, that I didn't hear was the summons versus arrests. You know, wherever appropriate we issue summonses in lieu of arrest. We've obviously done a lot of both summonses and arrests. And then on the point of the, the only thing on my head on the point of the press, you know, it's doing the best we can in a difficult situation. We a hundred percent respect the rights and the press. Unfortunately, we've had some people purporting to be press that are actually lying, if you could believe that. So sometimes these things take a second to, maybe too long to sort out. You know, I could think of a case with the Wall Street Journal recently, I was just made aware of yesterday. They wrote me a very nice letter and you know I'll be calling them just to apologize. So, we're not perfect; we do the best we can in the situation and whether it's essential workers or press, you know, the reality is though as the Mayor said, chaotic situations at times, a lot of people obviously know what to say and they’re lying at times so sometimes these things take a few moments to sort out, but if we can improve in areas we’ll improve.
Moderator: Next we have Gloria from NY1.
Question: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I wanted to ask you, I know that we saw a big decrease last night in the number of incidents, in the number of looting incidents, but I wanted to see if there's anything more you could say about who these people are? A lot of the video shows young men, what appeared to be groups of young people and I want to know what happened to the work that the NYPD was supposed to be doing to engage with young people. What can you give them as hope as we go into the summer season with a possibility of a budget that might cut education and programs? And my second question, Mr. Mayor is about these calls that we're hearing about defunding the NYPD. The, both of my questions are sort of related. Do you think it's time to take a second look at how the NYPD is funded and that there needs to be more of an emphasis on young people and making sure that they can safely get through this summer in the next couple of months?
Mayor: Yeah, thank you, Gloria. So, I'm going to just start with a little remembrance that, it's interesting Commissioner Shea and I did not know each other in the year 1991, but our lives were on a parallel track. He joined the police force and was stationed in the South Bronx and he for the first time experienced policing in an incredibly difficult atmosphere – that was one of the years over 2000 murders. I was working here at City Hall, starting out my work in public service and right around then at a point where the city was so violent and I give a lot of credit to Mayor Dinkins; I give a lot of credit to Speaker Peter Vallone. They got together and they said, we've got to do something different; they said, we need to both increase the number of police officers on the street and we have to focus on youth programming. The initiative called Safe, Safe Streets, Safe City, and Safe Streets, Safe City. Then in the early nineties, which required the support of the state legislature and it required funding; did both those things together, Gloria. Increased the police force and created the beacon programs that had such a big impact in terms of giving young people a positive opportunity. The plan was called Safe Streets, Safe City, the subtitle was Cops and Kids. The truth of that in the early nineties is still true today. On recent weeks, I've had the opportunity to speak to Mayor Dinkins and speak to Speaker Vallone, two exemplary public servants; their contribution is often forgotten and it shouldn't be because they helped set us on the path to becoming the safer city we did over the following quarter century. But I tell you this for a reason, I think there's been a lot of police leaders, a lot of police reformers from within the police profession who long ago, came to the conclusion that a focus on youth was the only way forward; a positive focus on youth was the only way forward. I believe in that fundamentally and that investments in youth programs are just as crucial to public safety as what we do with traditional policing. So, we have to figure out how to do both. Now over these last days, we've asked a lot of the men and women of the NYPD; we've asked them to do extraordinarily difficult work while many of them have been put danger and we've asked them to show consistent restraint, no matter what is said or done to them and they have done that overwhelmingly. And again, anytime anyone does not live up to their oath or does not live up to the standards of the profession, that higher calling, we are going to make sure there are appropriate consequences. But I really want to put those in perspective, 36,000 men and women, the vast, vast majority of whom have done exactly what we asked of them in recent days. I want to thank the men and women of the NYPD for that. Now, how do we move forward? Commissioner Shea, I said, we started around the same time. He said some things in the last months about youth-focused policing that were profound. He has said things in his tenure that if you listened carefully are about entirely reshaping, the approach of policing, which has already been altered deeply in this city because of neighborhood policing and going even farther with a focus on helping young people. He has said this, he laid out the plan, and this plan would have been deeply implemented right now had it not been for a global pandemic. But the plan is clear , NYPD, through neighborhood policing, deep in communities, talking with young people, talking with their families. If a young person’s starting on a difficult path or an inappropriate path, move in cooperatively with the family, help get that kid the support they need, whether it's mental health services, whether the kid needs help with school, whatever it is – family needs support – the idea is proactive, preventative, positive. That's what Commissioners Shea has laid out, and that is the future of policing in New York City, and that is what we will be able to get back to as soon as we can take a few more steps forward and fighting back this pandemic. So, that's where we're going to be going. The hope for young people – and I showed you the photos of those young people in the Bronx. Gloria, you and I can talk, the Commissioner can talk, but that's the actual on-the-ground reality, young people who are our hope who already are showing such responsibility, such ownership of their communities. We need to foster that and support that. We have a challenge in these next weeks as we go into the summer, both how do we physically do it while we're still dealing with the pandemic? And also, how do we pay for it? We're in the worst fiscal crisis this city has seen in generations. The answer is we need the stimulus in Washington, which, you know, Gloria, I don't know if the stimulus is more or less likely because of the events of the last few days in this country, but if anyone in the White House or the Congress is paying attention, this is even more of a reason to have a stimulus, because people are hurting. They're hurting because of injustice. They're also hurting because of poverty, because of economic injustice as well. So, the stimulus would allow us to move forward and the right way to support our youth, even with the health care restrictions. We need that capacity to borrow from Albany. It's made all the more pertinent by the events of the last days. We're going to work for both those things in the month of June. If we get that, we're going to be able to do a lot more for young people. If we don't get that, we're going to be in a horrible, horrible situation where we're going to be having to cut back City government across the board, and that's not going to help anyone. So Gloria, I am purposeful about fighting in Washington for the stimulus, fighting in Albany for the borrowing capacity only to use as a last resort. But we've got to have some resources of some kind or else we will not be able to provide services and we will not be able to support our young people the way they deserve.
So, a final point I'd make – I understand – I don't mean to make light of this, but I'm reminded of the song Imagine by John Lennon. We played it at my inauguration. I think everyone who hears that song in its fullness thinks about, what about a world where people got along differently? What about a world where we didn't live with a lot of the restrictions that we live with now? But we're not there yet. We're making a lot of progress, I truly believe. I believe the protest movements themselves, the peaceful protest is the essence of how we make progress. The reforms made within the NYPD are progress, deep progress. But for folks who say defund the police, I would say that is not the way forward. At some point in our history, we may be in a very different situation. But, right now – and I use that analogy from the early 90s – having a police force that is able to keep everyone safe and able to engage at the community – at the community level, having a police force strong enough to do the work of public safety, but also the work of building community with people and healing, I think that's necessary for now. So, I understand the impulse, but I think the impulse misses the reality we're facing right now. And look, I am hopeful we can bring these strands together – and I'll conclude with this point – I'm hopeful we can bring these strands together powerfully, I really am. We need a different approach. We need a host of additional reforms in policing. We need people to believe that there will be transparency, that there will be actual discipline consequences when someone does something wrong, and it will be swift. We need to make sure the right police leadership is in the right place in our communities. We have a lot of things we can do differently and better, and we will do them aggressively. And we need to get to Commissioner Shea’s vision of youth policing, because that will be transcendent, that will take us to a whole other place, and we can do that. So, all of these things I think can be together in a very, very positive manner, if we have some resources to work with. If we don't, Gloria, it's a very, very difficult situation. But I'm going to keep believing in New York City, believing in our people, believing in the NYPD. I also believe in community leadership. One of the things you've seen the last few days is community leadership coming forward, owning the space, owning their neighborhoods, rejecting violence, rejecting looting, rejecting anyone who wants to attack officers or property. The Cure Violence movement I think it was one of the most hopeful things we've seen in the city in recent years. People from the community, including some people who had lost their way, who become change agents, who become peacemakers, mediators, community voices – that's the future of this city.
Moderator: Next we have Julia from the Post.
Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, Commissioner Shea, and everyone else on the call. First question for the Mayor and the Commissioner – could you give us a detailed sketch of the looters over the last couple of days? Where are they coming from? Kind of, what their size is? Are there different groups? We heard from a high-ranking law enforcement source that they're using stolen out-of-state U-Hauls to transport the pilfered merch. And then, secondly, for you, Mr. Mayor, I'm wondering about the impact of the looting over the last few days on the city. Some small business owners, including some of the Bronx are saying that the pandemic in combination with the damage and theft will force them to close forever. The downtown shopping districts say it will delay the reopening. We saw Sachs spending $16,000 to protect their store with armed guards and razor wire. What's your message to those business owners? And do you regret your administration couldn't protect them better?
Mayor: Julia, I believe that all of us – all of us in City Hall, everyone at the NYPD used every tool that was right to use in this atmosphere and looked at the big picture of what happened in this city and in this country from Thursday night through Sunday night. Again, up until Sunday night, around 9:00 PM, no serious incidence of any looting in New York City, even we saw it elsewhere. Things changed on Sunday night, we made an adjustment for Monday – saw something really troubling Monday night, made a much deeper adjustment, and you saw a very different reality on Tuesday night and that's where we're going to hold. So, I believe that for all of us who actually do this work, who are here at the front line, making these decisions every single day, I believe we acted on the information we had, made adjustments. Of course, we would have loved to have been able to see what was going to happen and to have the intelligence information to know that something like that was going to happen in a way we could act on even earlier, of course. But I look at the big picture all the time, and I think it's hard – honestly, seriously, I do – I don't blame anyone who's looking at the day-to-day, hour-to-hour, that's very human. It's certainly the reality that media has to deal with, I understand that. My job is not to think just about the day-to-day and hour-to-hour, but to think about the whole city all the time today, tomorrow, the future. And here's what I see – starting on Thursday, we had a national crisis, a historic and painful national crisis. Our job was to keep the peace in the city. Our job was to ensure that there was no loss of life. Our job was to ensure that even if there was tensions between police and protestors, that would be peaceful protest honored and respected. Our job was to show people that policing would be restrained, but still effective. And then, when we saw something that we really don't have a lot of history of in recent generations in this city, that organized looting, that it was our job to figure out strategies that would work without forgetting about everything that I said previously. We were not going to miss the fact that we still had to keep a peaceful dynamic in the city, we still have to respect the views and rights of people expressing themselves. We could not create a counter mistake trying to solve one problem, creating a new problem. We had to strike a balance. Commissioner Shea and I talked about this incessantly. And, as I said, First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan, I want to thank him for all the work he's done. I want to thank Chief Terry Monahan, Chief Fausto Pichardo. We have all been talking constantly and making those adjustments. That's what leaders do. I'm confident that as we gain more information, more intelligence was gathered, more sense of the specifics that you referred to the beginning of your question, that we saw the pattern of what was happening, that the adjustments were made last night showed me something very different. We're going to stay with this strategy through the week. I want to emphasize the vast majority of people have been out these last six days have been peaceful. A small number of people aim to do violence towards police, particularly that kind of anarchist group and some of whom, as we’ve said, come from outside, certainly many of whom are protesting the communities that they're not from. And then, an organized group of criminals doing things like looting for pure financial gain, pure criminal gain, nothing to do with protests whatsoever – no cause, just plain old crime. And they will be dealt with.
A final point on the small business and we'll turn to the Commissioner. I feel for every business that has gone through these last few days, we want to help businesses come back. I talked to the store owners in the Bronx. I said, we're going to find ways to help you. And again, respectfully, Julia, for all the folks who spend a lot of time trying to tear down New York City, I'm not going to let you tear down New York City. So, you can try, but you will fail. Those store owners want to come back. Every time you want to tell the story of what's wrong with New York City, I'm going to tell the story of what's right with New York City. And every time you want to ignore the every-day working people in this city who believe in the city, who fought through stuff you couldn't even imagine in the South Bronx in the 1980s – I talked to people about it yesterday, I talked to the Borough President, I talked to the Councilman – I said – I asked – we had a group of community leaders in a room. I said, how many of you were here in the 80s? People raise their hand. I saw the South Bronx in the 80s. What they went through the night before last was horrible, but they went through 100 times worse and came back from it because they're that tough, they're that resilient, they care about their community. They will come back. So, the vast majority of small businesses will come back and we will help them come back. Anyone who can't, especially because of the blow of the coronavirus, it saddens me deeply. But all of this comes from the coronavirus, creating this dynamic for all of us, and we're all going to have to find our way through as best possible, and the City of New York will do all we can to help them. But if you're asking about the will of the business owners to come back, the vast majority have the will to stand and fight, I assure you. Commissioner, on the composition of the looters, what you've learned about the looters in particular.
Commissioner Shea: Yeah. Julia, what we've seen over the last three nights is, again, people taking advantage of a situation. I think I draw a line of distinction between the protests – overwhelmingly peaceful – and some people trying to disrupt that and cause mayhem. And then, when you get into the looters, I draw a distinction between the protest and the looting. These are people taking advantage. We've seen a lot of people – as you mentioned, you mentioned an incident that I would consider isolated with the U-Haul truck, that did happen. We see a number of vehicles to transport stolen property, to scout locations, out to transport people, to commit these crimes. So, vehicles is not rare. The U-Haul truck aspect is more of an aberration. And we also see a lot of people just peeling off – using the protests as cover, and then peeling off and, you know, unfortunately running around and doing some looting. In terms of where those specific people are coming from, they tend to be from New York City. They tend to – we've seen a lot of people from Brooklyn, we've seen a lot from the Bronx coming South to Manhattan. We've seen some loading a couple of nights ago in the Bronx. There was a number of Bronx homegrown residents participating in that. And that's really what we’ve seen.
Moderator: Next we have Tom Winter from NBC.
Question: Thanks, Mr. Mayor, reviewing your transcript for Monday, you said a police officer should lose his badge and gun from pointing his gun at a protester. You said the video was “unacceptable.” Later video came out that showed seconds before the video that everybody was commenting on Monday, his commanding officer or lieutenant was attacked with a brick and fell to the ground beside him. Have you reconsidered your statement and do you want to apologize to the NYPD?
Mayor: Tom, I want to get all the facts. What I saw was very troubling. In the middle of a crisis like this, the last thing you want to see is a gun being pointed at protesters. But I believe there's always complexities these situations. The commissioner and I have talked about it. He seen more video now, I know. We're going to talk about that in detail. I want to understand the whole picture. If I ever say something and then learn more and believe what I said was wrong, I'll always – I'll always acknowledge that. I'll always say what I really believe is true. There's also a formal investigation process by the Internal Affairs Bureau, there's a formal disciplinary process with due process. But I have said throughout these days, I respect the men and women of the NYPD, I respect the work they're doing. I'm supporting it in every way I can. I'm talking to the Commissioner all the time, every strategic decision we are making jointly, and there's been tremendous consensus. If I see something troubling, I'm going to say it's troubling, but there's still, regardless of what I say, going to be an objective process to determine what's right and wrong.
Moderator: Next we have Rosa from The City.
Question: Hi, I have two questions. One, first, from my colleague, Yoav, who has a story on this today. Mr. Mayor, if you could speak to – be specific about the steps that you're going to take to improve internal discipline at the NYPD. You said you're going to make it faster and better, but specifically how? And why hasn't the NYPD fully implemented the 13 recommendations they committed to in February of last year? So, that's my first question. My second question is, is for Mitch Katz and for the Mayor – are you modeling for a bump? Or, in your modeling, do you see a bump, a spike after reopening and what's kind? And given that we're sending you know, you, you talked about –
Mayor: Rosa, this is – I'm cutting you're there. No disrespect. Again, guys, respectfully, two questions, two real questions, not two 12-part question. So, I'm going to just stop it right there. It's enough. We are absolutely modeling for multiple scenarios, Rosa. The problem is, and I think everyone would agree with this, the modeling to-date globally, nationally, state, local has been really uneven because this is such a multifaceted crisis, and medical science doesn't understand this disease, and there's so many moving parts here. I have to say, the modeling has often been off-base. So, we're doing our best with the modeling. But, unquestionably, we are worried about the potential for any kind of resurgence of the disease and I'm worried anytime people start to come in contact with each other. But on the other hand, these numbers show the disease has been beaten back so consistently for so long now, and people in the city take it so seriously, and they've done so much to beat it back. And, on top of that, the test and trace, as you heard earlier, is coming on very, very strong, which is going to be a real strategic change to have that much more ability to reach people and deal with them and make sure they are not spreading the disease. So, yes, we are prepared. If we see anything, what I've talked to Dr. Katz and Dr. Varma, Dr. Barbot, we've all talked about the fact that this doesn't happen, like flicking a switch. If we start to see a problem, we're going to see it over days and days. Most likely if there's a problem, it will emerge over a period of at least a week or two weeks. So, we're watching. You've seen the numbers have been consistently good, but if we see some spike beginning, then we're going to take additional steps. If we see too much, of course, God forbid we could always stop moving to the next phase or even retreat to the previous phase. But I think the basic way to think about it is high level of discipline from New Yorkers, the initial industries that are opening come with certain advantage – construction is mainly outdoors, manufacturing, you can put some space, wholesale, you can put some space and the test and trace is going to be a huge counter push against the disease simultaneously, but we will be vigilant.
On the question of NYPD, I will go back and look at the recommendations from last February and where we stand. I don't have that at my fingertips. If the Commissioner wants to speak to that, he can, but we will certainly follow up on that. I believe, and I just – I'm going to keep saying, I have eyes to see for six and a half years, how many consistent reforms – who made it may not matter respectfully to a number of people asking questions to certain advocates or elected officials, it may not matter that for six and a half years, we've made a consistent series of changes while keeping crime down. But I know every day New Yorkers, they police reform, they want a different relationship between police and community and they want crime kept down. That's a lot to combine, but the NYPD has done it under the leadership of Commissioner Shea, Commissioner O’Neill before him, Commissioner Bratton before him, they are all thoroughgoing reformers. I know them, to some extent the public knows them, but the public doesn't own the way I know them because I talk to all of these guys all the time and have when they were in their service of this city. These are individuals who have devoted their lives to changing the nature of policing and making it more about the people served, period.
So that work has gone on for six and a half years. It's going to go a lot further in the next year and a half. I want to see the 50-a repeal happen immediately in the month of June. I want to see a faster disciplinary process at the NYPD, I believe we can achieve that and I'll provide whatever resources are needed for that. I want to see officers who are in the wrong place in the NYPD moved, and I want to see officers who should not be on the police force on the police force, I mean off the police. Anyone who shouldn't be on, shouldn't be on, it’s as simple as that. Anyone that needs to be removed should be removed. I don't think that's a lot. I think the vast majority of officers do their jobs well, listen to the training, have been practicing deescalation, have been showing they understand and believe in neighborhood policing. So all of those things are going to happen. I don't have a doubt in my mind, and as we do that, plus the Commissioner's vision of youth policing, which again, respectfully, he has said such incredibly powerful moving things. He laid out a plan. I didn't see a lot of conversation about that, and I think that's unfortunate. I hope when we start to implement that again, as we fight back this crisis, I hope people will pay attention to what he's doing, and Commissioner, I'm going to ask you to jump in to speak to Rose's question, but also I think that people in New York City right now need to hear again, your vision of youth policing. You've said it a bunch of times, but maybe memories are short in this crisis. I don't blame people for that. Could we start by having you just define for a moment where you'd like to take the relationship between NYPD and young people?
Commissioner Shea: Yeah. So, I'll begin with that, and then I'll finish with the discipline piece. You know, I've been around policing now nearly 30 years and I've seen the good, the bad, and I've seen what works and what doesn't work and what the Mayor alluded to before was that when you look at where we've come from and all that we've done in this city and have more to do, frankly, not just here but across the country. When you look at what we've done with precision, reducing arrests, implementing neighborhood policing, reducing summonses and stops, having the lowest incarceration of any major city in this country, which is often not portrayed. It's put us – six months a year, it's put us at a unique opportunity in time, I believe, to really build neighborhood policing. To really take that next step, and what I stated when I was appointed the Police Commissioner and believe wholeheartedly is that we have an incredible opportunity here to engage, to really reach down and to further neighborhood policing. To really build relationships and strengthen the commitment in neighborhoods specifically with youth, because the youth are the future of this city and doing everything we can, whether it's the Bronx, whether it's Brooklyn, whether it's Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island, to reach out to kids of all races, of all economic conditions, and I'm not specifically talking about the kids that are in trouble here, I'm talking about the kids that don't get into trouble or could be on the cusp of trouble, and guiding them and giving them opportunities and building relationships with officers. What can we do better? What, what, what services do we have? Could we be the quarterback of all services? We've we obviously deal with kids that make mistakes. We obviously deal with kids that come from troubled relationships, because we're already responding to those [inaudible]. We're already going to the schools or taking missing persons reports, when mothers call us and say, I don't know what to do with this kid. There is an incredible opportunity here, and it's not going to be an opportunity, like many other things that is solved solely by the police. But we think we can really take the lead on this. Chauncey Parker, my Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing, Nilda Hofmann, who's the Community Affairs head, Juanita Holmes, who's in charge of School Safety, were all put it to positions specifically to guide us through this, and, and right literally week one of the pandemic, we had a hundred youth coordination officers selectively interviewed by the following three executives, the preceding three executives, all with the same mindset of what we're looking for here. They recognize that there's many ways to police. Sometimes you police some handcuffs, sometimes you police with a hand and leading people and guiding them and mentoring, and we specifically interviewed a hundred youth for what officers that had that exact same mindset, that came from the same communities and want to help. Remember we’re our minority-majority police department. We have an incredible opportunity here, and in the first week of their training, which is incredibly upsetting to me is when the pandemic hit and it was put on hold, and then you got into a situation where we're trying to think outside the box, how could we keep moving forward? And it was literally close to impossible when you can't, when you have executive orders that are appropriate, that we can't meet, we can't have people outside on the streets. So, you know, between working with partners, thinking outside the box, how do we engage with kids in this environment? The environment is constantly moving, but we still had put some things into place. We've, we've done youth councils via zoom. We we've scheduled and work with external partners, celebrities in some case, and ask them what they would do about us in terms of sports leagues online. I mean, we're still moving towards that, but that's the overall philosophy. We have to stop that pipeline that creates – and the pipeline is getting smaller and smaller. But with the precision piece, it's allowed us to really have an amazing opportunity. If we could do more stop that pipeline of people, getting entangled into the criminal justice system. It's not going to be every single case. I think we all realize that, but there's a lot more than we could do.
On the discipline. I think that you're referring to the blue ribbon panel. Last year – I can't recite off the top of my head. I don't have it in front of me. I can tell you that many of those things were put into place. In fact, the majority will be put into place. I think our biggest obstacle here is transparency and making sure that we communicate to the public, what is going on, what is going on with investigations? We might not always see exactly eye to eye, but I think that most of the difficulties that we engage in can be cleared up with clear communication and explaining the why, so in terms of the blue ribbon panel, I think it was overwhelmingly, positively received, and many, many of the recommendations already been put into place. Things such as transparency, things such as a uniform discipline system to make sure that there's no inequities, and I believe we've posted some of that. So, we're moving towards it.
Mayor: Thank you and I want to just add one more, very quick point before the next question. The Commissioner alluded to the reduction of arrest, the reduction of incarceration. Again, the facts are the facts and the progress is the progress, and I'm going to keep saying it and every day New Yorkers are experiencing, and when I go into neighborhoods, people talk about it, they talk about – I've had young people come up to me and say, what is like to no longer be stopped all the time and frisked all the time. I've had people talk to me about the fact they can see that there's many fewer arrests, that arrest is not the go-to all the time. Bill Bratton said this to me a long time ago. He said, arrest is one tool of police officers, you train officers well, you give them discretion. You respect their professionalism. A lot of times they can get something done without ever resorting to an arrest. Therefore, what do we have now? We have in the year 2019, we had 180,000 fewer arrests than the last year of the Bloomberg administration in 2013. 180,000 fewer arrests, and the city got safer. We're at the lowest level of incarceration in this city since the 1940s. These are real actions affect real people. These are not symbolic actions. These are not actions that folks think make them feel good. These are actual changes that reach every-day people's lives, and that's what we're going to do more of.
Moderator: Next we have James from PIX 11.
Question: Hello, Mr. Mayor, good to see you.
Mayor: How are you doing, James?
Question: Not bad, thank you for asking. For you and Commissioner Shea, Chief Monahan said earlier today that Governor Cuomo apologized to him privately for saying the NYPD was not doing its job. Will you please respond to that and say how much you'd like him to apologize publicly? Also, what would a good night tonight look like relative to the curfew? Thanks.
Mayor: Thank you, James. I've said everything I'm going to say about the Governor's remarks. I spoke to it on 1010 WINS last night. That's all I'll have to say. I want us to move forward. I want all of us to move forward. We got a lot of work to do. On the question of what would constitute a good night. The night I want, of course, is where there's not a single act of crime of any kind in New York City. I want to see no looting, no vandalism, no attacks on police officers. I want people who are out there to peacefully protest to do it, go home by 8:00 pm. That's what I want. I have no illusion that some people might try and stay out later, but if they do, they must be scrupulously peaceful. If they do anything violent or inappropriate, and NYPD obviously has the ability to take action. So what I want to see tonight is peace in this city. It was – I saw a great strategic planning process yesterday with Commissioner Shea, Chief Monahan, Chief Pichardo. We talked in the morning, we talked in the afternoon and then many times during the night, and I saw a really smart strategy being developed and put into play in response to new conditions that we saw. I want to see tonight be better than last night, and I want us just keep making progress from there.
Moderator: Next we have Dave from Streetsblog.
Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor I got two questions for you. One is regarding the Citi Bike shut down. You said that you are deferring to the police when it comes to the decision that was made around that, but they refused to give us any explanation why they want to do it. Can you explain a single instance when the bikes have been key to looting? And the other one is on, you talked about transit today, a bus ridership has outpaced subway ridership during the pandemic. City leaders have called for 40 miles of bus lanes over the last couple of weeks. So when does the city go make a commitment to installing bus lanes?
Mayor: Thank you, Dave. Those are great questions. We absolutely – look, one of the things we learned in the last few years is that although buses don't get as much attention in the public discourse, you know, more and more people will use them if they work better, Select Bus Service has been a great advance for example. We got to get back to the process of creating faster bus service. I'll have more to say on that as we can get through these next days, obviously, but we do want to absolutely deepen that effort. I think it is. I think you're right. I think people do feel more safety right now in health terms, in the buses than they do in the subways. I want to see people feel healthy and safe about both, but we do need to double down on buses and we'll certainly have more to say on the specifics of that soon.
On the Citi Bike, I don't know how to say this to people. I keep trying to say it and I, maybe my words are failing me, but there's got to be an understanding of this town, that there is a unity here in the decision-making process. There was this, I think in the past, a very bad reality where, and I think you saw it bluntly sometimes in the previous administration where City Hall allowed, with all due respect to the many good things about the NYPD, City Hall deferred to the NYPD to make decisions without the right kind of civilian oversight and civilian involvement in that decision making. I want to give credit to my three Police Commissioners. They actually have read the U.S. Constitution. They understand how this is supposed to work. They understand that elected civilian leadership makes the central decisions and respects the policing professionals, and of course gives them the leeway to do their job. The model we have developed here is when my Police Commissioners say they need something, I'm going to go out of my way to get them the resources they need and the support they need. When my Police Commissioners say, we have a strategic direction, we think is going to work, we'll put them through their paces, ask the tough questions, but when we all agree and the overwhelmingly, you know, all three Commissioners have brought forward plans and visions around neighborhood policing around police reform. Remember anyone who has the illusion that each of the major steps taken here was taken somehow in isolation between City Hall and One Police Plaza does not understand what happened here. I said, we need to get rid of the broken unconstitutional policy of stop and frisk. Bill Bratton agreed 100%. It became the vision and the action of the NYPD to get rid of that approach. It worked, we all agreed together on neighborhood policing. We all agreed together to end marijuana arrests. We all agreed together to put body cameras on all patrol officers. Every step along the way, there was discussion, thoughtful discussion and agreement because we share a common vision of change and reform Commissioner Shea brought forward the youth policing vision. No one had to tell him to do it, and the strategies, the last few days. All the folks out there trying to act like somehow the NYPD is not been allowed to do what they want to do. Guess what guess who's been the lead visionaries of the strategies of this last week, Dermot Shea and Terry Monahan – I think they've been spot on in their judgments. A couple of things happened that we didn't see coming and we had to make the adjustments because we're humans, and because we're dealing with a very, very fluid ever-changing situation, but the vision that was put in place yesterday, everything that happened yesterday, strategically was originated in discussions coming out of One Police Plaza brought over here, talked through, we determined things together. There was no deferring. If I think an idea is a bad idea – if I thought the idea with Citi Bike was a bad idea, it wouldn't have happened. If I thought the idea with the for-hire vehicles was a bad idea, it wouldn't have happened. If I thought what happened on the Manhattan Bridge last night was a bad idea, it wouldn't have happened. We are talking all the time and we are in unity. So to me, the Citi Bike idea was a very good one. Now Commissioner Shea, I've kept it very general, and I know we're dealing with security issues and strategic issues. So I have kept it general on purpose, and if you want to say anything further on the Citi Bike situation, this is where I will defer on how to speak about a strategic matter. I defer to you to explain what you feel comfortable explaining at this moment.
Commissioner Shea: No, I think you've covered everything. Mr. Mayor. Thank you.
Moderator: Last two for today. Next we have Dana from the New York Times.
Question: Hi Mr. Mayor, two questions for you. First, I was wondering if you are, I guess, or the Commissioner could at all describe how the tactical directions for the police have changed over the course of the protest? And secondly, I was curious if you had any response to President Trump's series of tweets criticizing your and also the Governor's management of the protests?
Mayor: Okay, I’m going to take them in that order. The tactical approach was based on keeping peace in every sense of the word. So, Dana, I think it's really important to look at the underlying philosophy here, neighborhood policing, again, I wish you understood – I don't mean this as a negative to you – I'm saying I wish I could better articulate. I don't want to use the word religious, because that may be too strong, obviously, but I want you to understand the people I have empowered, Bill Bratton, then Jimmy O'Neill, then Dermot Shea, the admiration I have for these people is boundless and they are people of faith in a different way. They believe in change, profound change, they believe it because they have lived the life of our people, they have been out there on our streets with our people, and they’ve seen when violence is done to people and they don't accept it, and they have seen when police have done things wrong and they don't accept it.
Terry Monahan made the point out in Washington Square Park, anyone who hasn't seen that video of Terry Monahan in Washington Square Park needs to see it, it is a profound moment. Don't just see the part where he kneels down, see what he says. And he's saying, pure passion from the heart, and he points to the officers around us, and he says none of us believe what happened in Minnesota was right. And it was a very important moment, it was a watershed moment to me, and I think we need this going forward, that police leaders, police officers, I'd like to see police unions even say, when something is done wrong in policing, we are all going to own it. We all want to fix it together. But I can tell you about Dermot Shea, this is a true believer in change and reform, he also is a true believer in his profession and in the nobility of law enforcement. And I have watched in endless meetings and discussions now for six and a half years the thought pattern of those reformers, some of the smartest people I've ever worked with in public service, they are reformers to their core. It doesn't make them any less cops. It doesn't make them any less proud of their profession. It doesn't make them any less people who came up from the grassroots and became leaders. That's something Dana, I believe in deeply, I've chosen three Police Commissioners who came up from the grassroots of policing. Two of whom came up from the grassroots of the NYPD and they are such thorough going change agents. I could barely describe it to you, how much they are working every day for change.
So the tactical point, it began and I'll tell you something, and Commissioner Shea – I don't mean to embarrass you – from the very beginning, it didn't even need to be said because the Commissioner was abundantly clear, he wanted to make sure we kept the peace. We kept order. That would be no illegality, but he was adamant about respecting the right to peacefully protest. He was adamant about the fact that people were hurting. There's a moment of pain as people saw a horrendous injustice and it brought up all the other injustices and that we were not going to meet that honest pain and agony and need for justice. We were not going to meet it with a repressive approach. We just weren't. I didn't have to say it. We were not going to overreach. We were not going to do what they did in Ferguson or so many other places years ago. We were going to meet it with maximum restraint and maximum respect for peaceful protest, but no tolerance for violence, no tolerance for criminality. And I'll tell you it was not easy. I saw all the things being thrown at our officers that put their safety and danger. I saw the attacks on our officers that we've seen over these last few days, but the order was that the NYPD was going to be a higher force here. The bigger, better in terms of our souls, our nature as humans, they were going to be the moral force that came forward and restrained their own realities, held back in the name of peace in the name of helping us all move forward and overwhelmingly that's what's happened.
So the tactical approach was based on keeping the peace, not overreaching, but if at any point the Commissioner had said to me, there's something else we have to do here, that if we don't do it, we're not going be able to keep peace, we're not going to be able to keep the city orderly. I would have said, let's talk about that immediately, and I would say that 90 something percent chance we would have agreed, because that's been the history. When we saw that things were wrong on Sunday night after nine o'clock, we were all surprised compared to the previous nights, we thought it was going to be very localized. We set up for that reality. We found something different. We went to a much more aggressive strategy. It worked much better last night. We together wanted the curfew. We talked to through the hour of the curfew. We talked about Citi Bike. We talked about for-hire vehicles. We talked about the traffic shut down below 96th Street. All those things will continue again tonight. We are doing this all together, that's actually how it's supposed to be. Professional police leadership and elected civilian leadership working together in common cause, that is what has happened here.
On the President, I'll keep it quick. The President is working overtime to exacerbate the tensions in this country and tear Americans apart and that's who he's been his whole life. This is a guy who in the 1980s called for the execution of the Central Park Five, he took out full page ads calling for the execution of innocent young people, because they were young black people. That's the reality. He has been divisive since the moment he strode on the public stage. He is divisive today. I unfortunately don't pay – I have no reason to pay attention when he says something like that. And that's a sad statement. I didn't think I'd ever say something like that about a President of the United States, but he has invalidated himself, and the outcry you're hearing now from the military, from people in active service in our military, from former military leaders saying he has no right for his political needs to bring the United States military into this conflict and to exacerbate the tensions in this country. I think that is a signature moment.
I'm someone who came from the generation of McCarthyism. My parents were deeply and negatively affected by McCarthyism. I have a reverence for the United States Army because it was the United States Army that stood up and said no more and helped to end the McCarthy period. And I think it is very sad to see our military putting in such a compromised position, but I can guarantee you people within the military now and people who are out of the military, but we're leaders in the military, are going to keep saying this can't go on, and I believe it will not go on. The President unfortunately added to this from the moment he took office, he created so much division in this country. We could have used compassion. He gave us none. We could have used a President who took charge and the coronavirus moment. And he didn't, he dithered, didn't give us the testing, didn't give us the help, hasn't given us a stimulus. So much of this is literally at his doorstep so he can tweet all he wants. I just wish he would be a President once in a while and actually help us.
Moderator: Last question for today, Henry from Bloomberg.
Question: Hello, everybody. I hope everybody's doing well. I have a question about some tweets that have come out from the NYPD and I have another question about what transpired last night. My first question, the Commissioner tweeted at about 10:30 that police, it says this is what our cops are up against, then it shows a whole bunch of blue containers with rocks in it, and there's really no confirmation of where this came from, whether they were already stacked in boxes with who might have left these rocks around that's number one. What's the story with these containers of rocks? And then there's another tweet from Chief of Department Monahan in which he saying that agitators from outside the state, from California, from all over this country are being paid to take this movement which is a good movement and turned it into violence. I would like some facts and evidence to support this assertion, which is a serious assertion. And that's my first question, I’m sorry to say. My second question is what was the thinking behind pinning all of those people on the Manhattan Bridge last night, what was the strategy? What was the thinking and reasoning behind that? Thank you.
Mayor: Thank you, Henry. I'm going to start on that turn to Commissioner Shea, and then I'll just conclude for the day. So I was observing the situation at the Manhattan Bridge from a site very nearby and talking it through with Commissioner Shea and I think it was the right decision to say there's a curfew. People really should just plain be home, but there was an exceptional effort to respect peaceful protest, understanding this moment in history. But the notion that folks were going to cross the bridge and just keep going and going into Manhattan, including into places where there had previously been physical damage, that was just not tolerable. And so you know, we talked it through, we are absolutely in agreement that it was time for those protesters to be told, you can turn around peacefully return back to Brooklyn peacefully, go on your way, disperse, go home. There was a lot of discussion as I understand it on the bridge and attempt to really talk it through with the protesters. I've seen more of that since Sunday, more dialogue between police leaders and protestors much more like what we've seen historically with protest in the city.
The famous – and we should pull this video up and show it again during Occupy Wall Street when – which was incredibly complex moment for the city and then very noble, powerful movement that did so much to change this country. But in terms of its structured, there was no traditional leadership like most of us were used to or NYPD was used to, and Occupy Wall Street of course, liked to move around a lot, and could have been very difficult, could have been very tense, but a real organic dialogue started between police and folks in Occupy, and people started to realize that they shared some views in common, that they wanted to see fairness and justice, that there clearly were haves and have nots in this world. And more and more Occupy leaders started to see the humanity and the police. The police saw the humanity in the Occupy movement and the people there, and so even when they moved around the city and complex ways, everyone worked it out. And there's a famous vignette where there's a negotiation and some of the members of the Occupy Wall Street movement asked the police, if they could move back from a certain area and said, if you do, we'll keep it peaceful, we're just asking for this space, and the police thought about and agreed it was fair. Patiently, moved back, gave some additional space to the protest, and the protesters broke out in a chant and they said, the police are the 99 percent. They recognized the police as their fellow, not only human beings, but their fellow working people, wanting him to make ends meet for their family, wanting a decent life, wanting to go home safe, dealing with the same challenges and the society still so written with injustice that every other working person deals with.
So I believe those moments can happen and will. And last night on Manhattan Bridge there was a real dialogue, but it was against the backdrop of a curfew. The police leadership said, we understand your feelings, we understand your desire to keep moving, but there's a curfew and we don't want to arrest everyone. We want to let people go home peacefully and the way to do that is to go back across the bridge, and that's what happened. And then as people were going back the other way, I went to see that happening and I saw people peacefully dispersing. So it worked, it was the right thing to do.
On the tweets. I'll let the Commissioner Shea speak to those. But I do think, and I've asked Commissioner - Deputy Commissioner John Miller to keep outlining to all of you that evidence, which he can provide as everyone understands there's some information that's not yet providable because of security issues, but unquestionably we're seeing an organized effort to create violence. That it does not reflect the vast majority of the peaceful protesters, and it's separate from the criminals who are doing the things like the looting. There is a politically motivated group with a ideology I cannot make any sense of that is trying to do violence and organizing it, has game plans, has materials they use, training they do, people out spotting for them, there's all sorts of clear tactics being used consistently here and around the country. It's really straightforward. We should give you all the evidence we can. We should keep giving it to you as we can. Commissioner, can you speak to where the rocks, I mean, in general, how those rocks are being used and where they were and anything you want to say at this moment that you feel you can say about the presence of outsiders in our city trying to do this violence.
Commissioner Shea: Yeah. So in terms of the tweet today, unfortunately it's not an isolated incident. That's the latest, again just to put out to the public understands what's happening, I think it's important. That was two locations. One was in Brooklyn. One was in Queens where pre-staged bricks are being placed and then transported to “peaceful protests”, which are peaceful protest, but then used by that criminal group within to sow fear. We've had a construction site burglarized in recent days in Manhattan. And it's interesting, you know, a construction site, burglary is not that uncommon, but during a riot, it's interesting what was taken, bricks. We've had in the Bronx bricks thrown at cops and a precinct station houses. We've seen some of those seemingly innocuous plastic bottles that you see thrown during protest, well it's only a water bottle, what the media has not necessarily reported is that those water bottles are often filled with cement. So we have vehicles that it would appear as if doors are hit with a Louisville Slugger swung by you know, Mark McGuire, leaving dents in the car doors by a simple water bottle filled with cement. If anyone is questioning what is happening, your head is either in the sand, or you're not paying attention. There is an orchestrated attack specifically on members of law enforcement across the country. And we are seeing unfortunately alive and well in New York City. And we've seen Molotov cocktails, multiple incidents, multiple incidents thrown at buildings, occupied by people. And we have to remember that word, these are people. Molotov cocktails thrown at police vehicles, bricks we've talked about, and I could go on and on. And I just, again, plead for is that this needs to become not a police issue. This needs to become a human race issue, a New York City issue.
You know, there's a lot of talk, and there’s politics and there's everything else, I think that what we're starting to see is everyone working together. Whether it's neighborhood groups, church coalitions, you know, and all of that. And let me just say something, you know, because it's been on the news lately and it's good to let's keep moving forward. I can tell you that, you know, it's reported this morning about conversations with the Governor, any conversation between the Governor and myself is going to stay between the Governor and myself, and I think that's appropriate and how it should be. And everyone needs to just, let's start thinking about each other. Let's think about each other as humans. I have no doubt that the Governor is deeply about all law enforcement. We need to stop allowing others to divide us because no one wants to be divided here and we are moving forward.
Mayor: And well said Commissioner, I'm going to conclude on a very similar note. People in New York City, that's who I have faith in. There are people trying to divide us. There are people coming from outside this city, trying to pursue an agenda that includes violence. That's unacceptable. There's some people in this city pursuing a violence agenda. That's unacceptable, but overwhelmingly vast majority of New Yorkers, they're not only about peace. They're about justice and fairness and decency and compassion. This is actually not only one of the toughest places in the world, it's one of the most compassionate places in the world. I honor and love the people of this city because of the goodness in this city. So look, this is our city. These are our neighborhoods. We will take back our city from anyone aims to do us harm. Look at those young people in the Bronx. That's our future, right there. Look at them. They saw violence. They saw an attack on their neighborhood and they came out to make things right. It just makes me so appreciative and so moved that there are so many good people who say we will take back our neighborhoods, our city. You're looking at our future right there on our screen and it's a good future. Thank you.