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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks on New York City's Response to the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

October 27, 2018

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Mayor Bill de Blasio: Rabbi, thank you. I want everyone to recognize that Rabbi Schneier is one of the great faith leaders in this city, in this nation, and his voice is one of conscience and harmony. And we wanted to gather here to send a message to all New Yorkers and especially – a message to all New Yorkers, and especially to Jewish New Yorkers, that we stand with you. We are here to keep you safe. We are here to make sure that this city is a city that always protects our own. 

Rabbi Schneier you know from your whole lifetime of experience what happens when hatred is allowed to grow. We will not allow hatred to grow in New York City. We will not allow the voices of hate here. We will not allow acts of violence here. And the best way to ensure that this remains a place of peace is to make sure that houses of worship are protected, that the entire Jewish community is protected. 

And I want to thank the community, thank all the leaders of the community for all they are doing. I want to thank Borough President Gale Brewer and Senator Liz Krueger for being here and for all they do on behalf of  the community. You’ll hear from Chief Monahan in a moment but I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Critical Response Command, the CRC, the NYPD’s elite anti-terrorism unit, for the extraordinary work they do and for all the work that the men and women of the NYPD do to protect not only this whole city but to protect those who are most vulnerable in these times when we see terror raise its head.

And attack on the Jewish community anywhere is an attack on our Jewish community as well. That’s how we see it. When we see an attack anywhere in the world, the NYPD swings into action. We need to send a message that we will never tolerate anti-Semitism, that we don’t take it lightly, that we don’t look the other way, that we don’t sweep it under the rug. 

We need to understand that anti-Semitism is tragically alive and well in this country and it must be stopped. And it’s a very painful time right now in this country. After this week we went through in New York City, where we saw letter bombs going to people simply because of their beliefs and then the week ends with an attack on a house of worship during a religious ceremony. 

It’s a painful time and it’s a time when hatred has been allowed to spread too far but we as New Yorkers have a chance to be a part of the solution because this city has always stood for understanding and for mutual respect. We have an opportunity to be a beacon to this nation right now by showing what it means to actually embrace each other and support each other. And that begins with supporting this Jewish community, the largest Jewish community of any city on the Earth, showing them today, with a strong NYPD presence, that synagogues will be protected, community institutions will be protected, that we stand with them shoulder to shoulder. 

I want to emphasize to everyone, despite this tragedy there is no credible and specific threat directed at any Jewish institutions in New York City at this moment but we do not take this situation lightly nonetheless.

We will be having a strong presence at community institutions in the days ahead and it’s important for people to know that we regard this as part of a solemn duty in this city. And this is how we should react in a moment like this but I have to take exception to something that was said earlier today. 

I have to be very clear that it’s no time for politics but it is a time to talk about our values. We should never blame the victims in an attack like this. We should never suggest that a house of worship has to have an armed guard for people to be able to go about their religious observance. That’s not America. That’s certainly not New York City. We do not require houses of worships to have an armed guard. We as a community, as a city stand for each other. We protect each other.

And we rely on, and we depend on, and we believe in the NYPD. That is what a peaceful, functioning society is supposed to look like, not a society where everyone has to be armed or has to fear they won’t get through their worship service. 

So, we’re going to keep building that society here in New York City. And I want to say our hearts go out to the people of Pittsburgh, to all the members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, to the whole community that is mourning right now. We mourn with you. Our hearts are with you. Our prayers are with you. 

With that I want to turn to Chief Monahan to give you a quick additional update.

Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, Rabbi. First off, on behalf of the NYPD I want to extend my condolences to the victims, family members, and congregants of today’s shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, and also to the hero police officers that responded and were wounded out there.

Based on the information we received, there is absolutely no nexus to New York. There are no credible threats to New York at this time. Out of an abundance of caution the NYPD has deployed officers from the Critical Response Command and Strategic Response Group to houses of worship. These officers, who are equipped with heavy weapons, have been deployed to locations throughout the city. 

In addition, NYPD officers in every precinct throughout the city are visiting sensitive locations to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers. Thousands of officers, many of them active-shooter trained, are vigilant and patrolling our city. 

We want to take this opportunity to remind all New Yorkers that public safety is a shared responsibility and to remember if you see something, say something. Anyone who observes suspicious behavior should call 888-NYC-SAFE or dial 9-11. Thank you very much.

Mayor: Thank you, Chief. Just one last word. Again, all New Yorkers are so appreciative to the men and women of the NYPD. To all specialized units – the CRC, the SRG, the ESU, and everyone at the precinct level who is defending and protecting houses of worships right now – we thank all of you. 

And our hearts go out to the members of law enforcement in Pittsburgh. They helped to save a number of lives today but they came under fire too. This atmosphere of hatred – think about it. When it leads to attacks on houses of worship, attacks on our media, attacks on law enforcement – this is not acceptable. This is not the America we’ve known. This is not the America that we will accept. 

We, together, will create something better, something safer, something more peaceful, something respectful. Rabbi, thank you again to you and to all of your congregants. We stand with you. Thank you and God bless you all.

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