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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton Discuss NYC Pride March and Public Safety

June 23, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio: All right. Good morning everyone. Welcome. It is a great honor to be here at the Center where such extraordinary work has happened over many years. It is a joyous time in this city when we get to this point in June – tremendous anticipation of one of the great events that we have in the city each year – the Pride Parade. And as we have said before – and Commissioner Bratton and I will say repeatedly in this gathering – we expect the biggest and the best Pride Parade we’ve ever had to happen this year. I want to emphasize we expect tremendously positive – a positive day on Sunday – huge attendance – a lot of pride, a lot of energy and a very, very safe day for everyone.

I want to acknowledge and thank some of the folks who are with us, in addition to those who will speak. I want to thank our Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller; our Chief of Counterterrorism Chief Waters; Chief of Patrol Chief Gomez; Chief of Transit Joe Fox. I want to thank our Executive Director for Citywide Event Coordination and Management Michael Paul Carey, who has played a leading role in putting the parade together. You are going to hear from one of the co-chairs of NYC Pride. I want to thank the other one – Maryanne Roberto Fine, thank you for your great work. And our elected officials – Senator Hoylman, Assemblymember Glick – thank you so much for your support and your partnership in everything we’re doing.

I have a lot of pride in this city and all the communities that make up this city. And I can safely say – and I’ll challenge any mayor in the world on this point – we have the most vibrant LGBT community anywhere in the world right here in New York City. And we are the birthplace of the LGBT civil rights movement – happened not far from here at Stonewall in 1969. So when we celebrate Pride, we do it with particular passion. And this year, we have an obligation to our nation in the wake of Orlando to show what pride and inclusion looks like. And the whole city will be celebrating and standing up for and with our LGBT community.

The NYPD – I just want to credit at the beginning – the extraordinary efforts of the NYPD and thank you to the officers who are here with us and the officers outside – everything they’re doing to keep everyone safe. I was very struck and appreciative of the car you saw outside, painted in Pride colors – a real act of solidarity and a show of the NYPD’s deep connection to this community and to communities all over the city.

Now from time to time this year, we have talked about the question of New York values. So I will restate – New York values include inclusion, respect for diversity, respect for everyone’s right to speak up and express themselves, and that’s what will be epitomized on Sunday – a city that includes and embraces everyone, and that’s why this city works so well.

We know that we protect that freedom; we protect that liberty with the world’s finest police force. And I want everyone to know – whether it’s New Yorkers or folks coming from anywhere in the world to be a part of this powerful moment – you will be safe. You will be protected. You’ll see a lot of the same protections that have been in place at every Pride Parade, but you’ll see more as well. You’ll see additional measures to keep us safe – some will be visible. I know there will be other important measures you won’t see. This is because the extraordinary sophistication and capacity of the NYPD. And it’s particularly true because we now have the strongest and most sophisticated counterterror unit anywhere in the country – the Critical Response Command. So you’ll see very well-prepared officers out along the parade route, helping everyone to know that they are safe. I want to emphasize, there are no specific threats directed against this parade – very important point. There are no specific threats directed against this parade. But that does not stop us from being vigilant and from using all of our resources.

I’m sometimes asked by reporters from elsewhere whether we choose to be particularly vigilant on any given day. And my statement always is – we have been vigilant every day since 9/11. What has changed is we’ve increased our anti-terror capacity consistently since then and especially in the last year. And a reminder – the NYPD has consistently prevented acts of terror – 20 plots either directed at NYC or initiated here that were foiled by the NYPD. And that is an extraordinary track record that we are now building upon. We also know that we are one of the truly global cities. And any time there’s an attack on any one of the communities that make up New York City, we respond – whether it’s the LGBT community being attacked in Orlando, or Jewish communities, Muslim communities – any community in the world that comes under attack, we recognize the ramifications for New York City, and we respond.

We are in that vein obviously aware of the events, as we speak, in Germany. We are waiting for more information to come in. Commissioner Bratton, and Deputy Commissioner Miller, and I were speaking about that before this press conference began. We’ll have more to say on that soon as we have fuller developments. But we’re already taking steps to immediately respond to some of what we do know.

So it is important for everyone to know that attending this parade on Sunday is an act of pride by and for, and with the LGBT community. It’s also an act of pride in this city, and showing that this is a city that every time will stand up for all New Yorkers – will stand up for all our communities. I want to urge all New Yorkers – come out, show your pride, show your sense that this is a city for everyone. A few words in Spanish.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish.]

With that, I want to commend and thank Commissioner Bratton and his whole leadership team. Preparations for this parade have been outstanding. And the extraordinary work being done to deepen the connection of the NYPD to the LGBT community and all communities has been exemplary. It’s my honor to introduce Commissioner Bratton.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. This is my first visit to this center, so, I want to thank our host for the opportunity to visit and have this event here at this very significant location. We’ll talk in a moment about the parade, but I want to introduce Chief Gomez, Chief of Patrol, who will express some of what we’re doing around the parade – security – and John Miller, very well known to you as Chief of – Commissioner of Counterterrorism and Intelligence. John has had his head buried in his smartphone for the last few minutes, so, we apologize for that, but there’s a terrorism event unfolding as we’re sitting here in Germany – a mass shooting in a movie theater – and we’re watching that event very closely at it unfolds. So, many of the officers that you saw in front of the building – our Critical Response Command – will be leaving to go off and go to many of the theaters in this city so that, as we always do, with the large amount of resources that the Mayor has provided to us, in response to a terrorism incident anywhere in the world, we will immediately err on the side of caution by ramping up our police presence at similar locations. So, at this moment, we are in fact doing that around the City at major movie locations.

As to the events on Sunday, a very celebratory day – I’m personally looking forward to it, my wife and I will be marching as we have done in the past proudly behind our police band and proudly with hundreds of members of our Gay Officers Action League that includes many New York City police officers, including some who are here at this press conference with us this morning. We are very proud of them and certainly very proud of our department’s efforts to improve our relationship with that community. 

We will, out of caution, be increasing the size of the police detail this year with some degree of focus that we might not have had in years past on the issue of terrorism, certainly in light of the events in Orlando. We also are in anticipation of a larger member of attendees. We’ll be increasing the size of both our uniformed and plainclothes presence to deal with crowd management, crowd control issues for what we anticipate will be a larger attendance at this event. So, you can expect to see more police and you can expect to feel very comfortable attending this parade. It’s a great parade. My wife and I love marching in it. It’s very lively, very active. She enjoys dancing and she ends up dancing half the route as we move along – good exercise. And so, we encourage – come on down. Gay or straight – come on down. It’s one of New York’s great parade attractions and great parade events, and it will be safe. We in the NYPD, and our colleagues in the various law enforcement agencies we work with will work to ensure that. And, again – I think the weather forecast is actually pretty [inaudible]. Even better – bring your suntan location also. That’s probably going to be the most important safeguard that you can have on that day. 

Mayor: Amen.

Commissioner Bratton: If I could, Mr. Mayor, introduce Carlos to talk somewhat about what the uniformed side of the parade is going to do, and then John Miller can speak to some of what he will be up to. 

Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez, NYPD: Good morning. As the Commissioner has said, this Sunday’s parade, as well as other festivities and celebrations, will see a significant increase in the police personnel in the various aspects of – the various ways that we will be implementing. Speaking of the parade itself, it kicks off at noon – noon, sharp – at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street. It goes southbound to Eighth Street, and then proceeds westbound through Christopher and Greenwich. There will be over 20,000 participants, including 85 floats, numerous bands, vehicles, and a continent of 200 motorcycles. [inaudible] we estimated the crowd to be 1.6 million – that’s amazing – 1.6 million spectators, and, this year, we anticipate an increase in that spectatorship. There will be thousands of uniformed officers assigned along the route in the surrounding areas – those are officers that you will see. There will also be police officers that you will not be able to see – those are officers that will be attained in civilian clothes. They’ll be mixing in with the crowds to detect any possible suspicious behavior or activity. 

We have greatly increased our counterterrorism efforts to act a visible deterrence, as well as a quick-response capability. We have added more [inaudible] teams – those are heavy-weapons teams. They are comprised of highly-trained individuals from our SRG – Strategic Response Ground – from our CRC – the Critical Response Command – and from our Emergency Services Unit. Those units, and the creation of the CRC and the SRG a year-and-a-half ago have certain greatly increased our counterterrorism efforts here in New York City. 

We will also have counterterrorism personnel equipped with radiation detection devices assigned to the route and surrounding areas. We will deploy explosive detection canines and utilize a network of cameras to monitor the events in the adjoining areas. We will also be patrolling from above. We will have our aviation helicopters monitor rooftops, monitor crowd sizes, monitor traffic. And, this year, we are also assigning officers on rooftop observation posts, again, to look down at the crowds and try to detect any suspicious activity. Harbor vessels will be assigned to patrol the waterways on the West Side. We have several events at the piers that afternoon and that evening. We anticipate traffic to be adversely affected on Sunday, so we strongly encourage the use of public transportation. And, because of that, we’ve increase the presence of our transit officers both at our transit stations, as well as riding trains leading to the West Village. 

We are not neglecting the other four boroughs. There are several other events on Sunday, and actually throughout the weekend – sporting events and concerts. We are policing those accordingly and, in some cases, we have also increased our deployment at those locations. We always seek the assistance of the public. As I said, there will be at least 1.5 million eyes – sets of eyes – pairs of eyes and ears viewing this event on Sunday. Certainly, if you see something, if you hear something, I encourage you obviously to report it. You can tell an officer and you won’t have to look far to find an officer. There will be so many along the route and surrounding areas. And certainly you can always call our hotline – the Counterterrorism Hotline – which is 888-NYC-SAFE. 

Lastly, I’d like to thank the organizer. They worked very closely with our borough commander – Chief Bill Morris, here in Manhattan South – to prepare for this event. And I look forward to a safe and festive Sunday, and, really, the entire weekend. 

Thank you.

Mayor: Thank you very much, Chief. And my accommodation to Chief Morris, who is always cool in the saddle – deals with a lot in this city, but does it very, very well. Thank you, Chief. It’s now my pleasure to introduce the co-chair for NYC Pride, who’s been a leader in organizing a variety of events this week that means so much to the community – Co-chair David Studinski.


Mayor: Thank you very, very much David. We’re going to take questions on the Pride weekend and anything related to policing. And then we’ll open up for other types of questions as well. Yes?

Question: Commissioner Bratton, how do you think the relationship is between the NYPD and the LGBT community and what programs are in place to improve upon it?

Commissioner Bratton: The relationship is constantly improving – numbers of gay officers in the Department who are out are increasing. There are many efforts that we are engaged in with political leadership, leaders in the community to address some of the issues of concern they have relative to Department policies, practices, and procedures that might impact on the multi-faceted community. I think that where we are versus where we were is a lot of progress. My involvement with this community goes back to 1975, ‘76 when I believe I was assigned as the first liaison for an American police department to the gay community in the City of Boston. So I’ve had a lot of exposure to the issues of concern of this community through the years and that helps inform me and during my current time here as Commissioner of New York. And as evidenced by all the collaboration that’s involved in this event, I think that’s reflective of just how far we’ve come over that period of time.

Mayor: Just a quick follow – I think it’s very much related to everything the administration is trying to do to deepen the relationship – not just between police and community, but between all of City government and all of our communities. So for example, we’ve put a real focus on the needs of transgender New Yorkers. And you know, there’s been some really horrible legislation around the country trying to exclude and discriminate against transgender people. In this city, we’ve done the exact opposite. We’ve made very clear how people’s rights must be recognized and protected – in fact we’ve gone and advertised on the subways to make the point that this is a city that respects all people. Same point could be made, for example, about homeless and runaway youth – so many of whom are members of the LGBT community and many of whom are transgender. We’ve put much more investment in providing space to protect homeless and runaway youth – to give them a safe space and a place where they will be respected; to give them beds they can sleep in. So many of these young people – I’ve said this many times as a parent – it fundamentally disgusts me that any parent would put their child out on the street. That’s what happening around this city sadly for too many LGBT youth and particularly transgender youth. The City of New York sends the opposite message – we embrace you, we respect you, we want you to be safe, we have a place for you. So I think it’s all connected to a different approach to deepening respect for the community. Yes?

Question: Will there be a policy about enforcement with a significant police presence or increase the presence on low-level offenses, open container, disorderly conduct, public urination, marijuana at the parade? [Inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: We’ll be seeking cooperation from the public on this issue. It is a huge event, and in terms of the issues you raise – are ones of concern. But this is one, where to as great a degree as possible, we would seek public cooperation with us. Some of the actions that you talk about – public urination, etcetera – are offensive to anybody – and so issues that we need to be mindful of. We are, over these last several years – as you are well aware in the Department – attempting to, wherever possible, modify our enforcement action to use the lowest level necessary to deal with an issue – verbal admonishment, warning, civil enforcement, summons, arrests where appropriate. So in terms of policing of this event, it will be very similar to policing of any other event in the city – whether it’s the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Irish Parade, St. Patrick’s Parade – that the idea of we will attempt to work with the public to the best of our ability – everybody has a safe and enjoyable day.

Mayor: Azi?

Question: [Inaudible] issued a report yesterday that said, among other things, that there was a concentration of quality-of-life enforcement in areas where the residents are predominantly people of color. And he said that there were more summonses issued than expected in those kinds of police precincts. I’m wondering – what’s your understanding of the racial disparity of enforcement actions in those communities?

Mayor: Let me just jump in and begin because I think there’s been some misunderstanding about that report from the beginning, so I just want to start and pass to the Commissioner. The report looked at a particular issue regarding quality-of-life enforcement and how it related to other types of crimes. Was there a correlation? It looked at a particular period of time, and it looked at only some factors. Still, obviously, I respect the Commissioner of Investigation and the Police IG. But I want to be clear – they made clear this was not a broader analysis of the entire strategy of Broken Windows, for example. And it wasn’t an attempt to look at all issues of how we police all communities. It was a fairly narrow time frame, looking at a very narrow question. Our view is that what we’re doing in terms of making the communities of this of city increasingly safe, but also bringing police and community increasingly together is an updated version of the Broken Windows strategy – the same strategy that helped make us the safest big city in America is still making us the safest big city in America. It’s constantly an evolution. And we obviously want it to be fairly applied in all neighborhoods.

So this is a work in progress and it connects also to neighborhood policing, which is an area I just want to make one sort of programming note. I do think – we’re going to be talking a lot more about neighborhood policing and the impact it’s going to have on improving the relationship between police and community. I hope all of you will look at it and go out and visit precincts and see because this is one of the best kept secrets in New York City – the on-the-ground approach to policing is changing, and I think you’re going to see a lot of positive ramifications from that. Please.

Commissioner Bratton: You’ve identified what is the fatal flaw in that analysis and what makes it basically useless. In its narrow focus on a five-year period of time and focusing on only two issues – it doesn’t take into account that in dealing with quality-of-life issues, in dealing with crime – you need to look at the multi-dimensional aspects of the problem as this Mayor and as this Commissioner have done, these last two-and-a-half-years, and I’ve done over 45 years. So that report is basically of no value to the NYPD in terms of – because of its flawed methodology.

Quality-of-life enforcement, or Broken Windows as it’s sometimes referred to, is an essential component of policing. Its essentiality, however, is dependent on how it is implemented. And the Mayor and I have made a great deal of effort over these two-and-a-half years to modify it to reflect the changed city. This city is very different than the city I first experienced in 1990. Some of you were around in 1990. Most New Yorkers who live here now were not, so they have no remembrance of how bad things were when there was no attention paid to quality-of-life enforcement. Like dealing with a serious illness, it took a lot of enforcement to change behavior. The City of New York 2016 is a changed city in many ways. And it’s changed because the police, over time, have adapted its enforcement strategies – more so in the last two-and-a-half years I’d argue than in the previous 20 years. We are making, as evidenced by the bills that were signed by the City Council last week – efforts to ensure that the medicine, like a doctor who [inaudible] dealing with a cancer; the cancer patient’s a lot better; I don’t need to use as much radiation or chemo; maybe now I can just basically use other less threatening medicines – that’s effectively what we’re doing.

So that report was not needed. It is deeply flawed and will impact not at all on the practices of the NYPD because of its fatal flaw. It was too narrowly focused and by focusing on too narrow a time frame, it did not take into context 25 years of my experience dealing with that issue. I think I have a lot more expertise than the IG and in this case the Department of Investigation, which I fail to see what role they have in this incident at all. The IG exists as an independent entity to monitor the Police Department. The DOI does not have a role in this matter. So for the DOI to basically issue the report – I just don’t understand that aspect. In any event, we respect the IG, we respect their role. But in this instance, this was a flawed report that was not necessary. The Mayor and I are committed to changing the practices of this Department so that we effectively do no harm to the best of our ability as we enforce the law in this city.

Question: I just want to ask if you agree with the assessment that the Commissioner just gave about the IG and the DOI report. And what you see as the role of the IG at this point in evaluating Broken Windows policing?

Mayor: Look – I agree with the Commissioner’s assessment of the substance of the report 100 percent. As a matter of statute, obviously, there’s a role for DOI. There’s a role for the Police IG. That’s all still being worked through in practice because this is a brand new reality of having a Police IG. So I think we have a work in progress here. But the bottom line is – as with any report, we’ll look at is respectfully, we’ll see if there’s something to learn. I think in this case, I commend the Commissioner’s point that we are confident that the path we’re on gets to the core theoretical issue that was being raised. Are we doing something that’s effective? Yes. Is it being done increasingly in a fair and balanced manner towards all communities? Yes. Are we in a constant effort to reform and improve? Yes. So I’m very comfortable where we are. Yes?

Question: Respectfully, it doesn’t sound like you and the Commissioner are on the same page if you think that the report –

Commissioner Bratton: [Inaudible] we’re on the exactly same page – exactly the same page.

Question: The Mayor said we’ll look to see if there’s something to learn and when you spoke you said that – 

Mayor: I said that of all reports. That was literally about two minutes ago – I said any report. Grace – let’s try and respect the fact that if a government entity puts out a report, we’re going to look at it. But I agree with the Commissioner. The core findings we don’t see merit in. And by the way – to be fair, it is in writing and I’ve heard this directly from the DOI Commissioner and from the Police IG – they were not attempting an overall assessment of Broken Windows. They were looking at a more narrow set of issues. But my view is – those issues are being addressed. Yes?

Question: I just want to jump back to something you said before in regards to quality and inclusion. Now, up on Capitol Hill, the Democrats are conducting a sit-in in regards to gun control.

Mayor: Yes.

Question: Here in New York City, there’s around 37,000 individuals who have gun licenses. Now that amounts to a number of retired police officers, as well as individuals who have a lot of money and a lot of celebrity. And even though there have been a handful of individuals who are going to – who have already been arrested for bribery in regards to gun permitting in the NYPD – this is for both you – over a number of years, we have seen the NYPD giving out gun licenses to the wealthy, and the famous, and elected officials. Is this essentially saying that if you’re wealthy and famous and –

Mayor: I hear the question.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I got it. I got it. No, I want to speak to the overall situation. First of all, the Democrats in the House are doing something very, very important. I just want to take the first part of the question. The Commissioner has spoken about this for years and years – that the NRA’s lock on the legislative process in Washington is unacceptable for this nation. This is one of the moments where that NRA power is starting to break down. And what the House Democrats are doing in a very vivid fashion is saying no more. We’re not – 

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Excuse me – I’m going to answer your question. If you want a respectful answer, let me finish what I’m saying. The – so my point in that is I believe we are seeing the beginning of fundamental change on the national front. Obviously all government policy should be about fairness and no one should be treated differently because of their wealth level. The Commissioner has already said, and I’ll turn to him, that we’re looking at the work that was done by that unit and obviously some mistakes are made, so we want to make whatever reforms are necessary to make sure it is being done fairly, equitably. And no one who shouldn’t have a gun should ever get a permit. Commissioner?

Commissioner Bratton: In America today, it is estimated there are more guns than people. There are 350 million of us, and it’s estimated that there are more than 350 million firearms in the possession of Americans. In this city of 8.5 million people, New York has consistently over the years sought – to the best of our ability, with our various laws and regulations – controlled the licensing of firearms in this city for a variety of purposes – a license to carry a concealed weapon, a license to have a weapon at your home, a license to have a weapon possibly on your premise. We have approximately 150,000 licenses of all types for a city of 8.5 million people. So we’ve worked very hard over the years to keep the number of firearms to a very low level – legal, authorized firearms.

The current investigation that the Internal Affairs Division is engaged in has indicated quite clearly that some members of this Department were behaving inappropriately in a criminal way. And working in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney, we have a continuing investigation. There have been a number of arrests. There may be more. In the meantime, we are thoroughly reviewing all of the licenses that we have issued, our licensing practices to improve on that. We will continue to the best of our ability – with the laws in this city and the laws in this state, and the unfortunate very limited laws in the United States – to try to keep the number of firearms in this city – pistols, long guns – to a very small number. That is the policy. Unfortunately, there’s some in the Department who chose to engage in criminal acts that violated the trust that you should have in how licenses are applied for and how they are granted. And Larry Byrne is my Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters – Deputy Commissioner Reznick are working very closely within the Department to reorganize our systems of accountability. And we’ll be working very closely with the US. Attorney to ensure prosecution of any member of this Department who violated the law relative to how those licenses are issued.

Mayor: Thank you. Marcia. Marcia. Go ahead, Marcia.

Question: [Inaudible] if you’d share with us your thinking about why you decided to allow Deputy Chief John Sprague and Inspector Peter DeBlasio to come off of modified and to retire with so-called ‘good guy’ letters. And what your thinking is about the remaining people in the Department who have either been modified or transferred in terms of their desire to retire and if they will be able to retire [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: I’ll ask Larry Byrne to join us at the table to give a more detailed answer. So, on this – under current laws, etcetera, they are entitled to file for retirement and retire. If, in fact, as the investigation between Internal Affairs and the U.S. Attorney, as it goes forward, that those officers who are retiring are found to have engaged in some type of action that would require criminal action by the U.S. Attorney, and, if, upon conviction, those guns, etcetera, licenses, would in fact be revoked and returned. But we are in the early stages of a very extensive federal investigation. Some individuals have already been arrested, as you’re aware. Others are the subject of investigation, but until charges are filed by the U.S. Attorney, effectively they remain just that, they remain not under criminal indictment and are entitled to effectively file for retirement. In terms of – I’ll be quite frank with you that these investigations go on for years, as you know. They’re not wrapped up within days or weeks. So, I would just as soon – members of this Department who are in fact now in positions where they cannot perform the full duties of a police officer. If they opt to retire, retire now rather than keeping them on the payroll where I can only use them in modified assignments for, in some instances, years. So, I’m very comfortable with the actions that we have taken, that we will be taking, and that being done with the full awareness of the U.S. Attorney. As you know, in these matters of criminal investigations, we always defer to the investigating entity – in this case, the U.S. Attorney. That criminal investigation is comprehensive. I’m very content with it. I get briefed on it every day. It is not something that is going to be done in the near-term, so the actions that I’m allowing to be taken are a reflection of my awareness of the investigation, the timelines of it. Larry Byrne can be a little more specific about some of what officers are entitled to do under State retirement laws. 

Question: [Inaudible] if charges are brought against them, you could revoke their guns? You can take their guns away?

Commissioner Bratton: Let Larry speak to that in the sense of, right now, there are no criminal charges against them, no Department charges against them. I’ll let Larry speak to these issues. He, like myself, is briefed on this every day – the current investigation with the U.S. Attorney.

Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Larry Byrne, NYPD: The short answer, Marcia, is we can revoke their pistol licenses and good-guy letter at any point in time. So, hypothetically – and we do this all the time with officers who have retired. About half of the outstanding gun permits in New York City fall into two categories – retired law enforcement – not just police, but marshals, FBI agents – and rifles and shotguns – people are using them principally for target shooting or hunting. Any time a law enforcement officer is charged with a crime, we revoke their pistol permit if they have it. That’s our standard practice. That’s always been our standard practice with respect to our retired members. So, we have the ability to do that and we monitor the situation very carefully. The Police Commissioner has many powers, but he does not have the ability to prevent someone from retiring. If you want to put in your papers to retire, you can retire. We can’t stop that. One of the newspapers said that these guys were allowed to retire with full benefits. There’s no ability to deny them their pension or medical coverage absent to criminal conviction. And they not only have not been convicted of any crime, they haven’t been charged with any crime. 

Question: [Inaudible] 

Deputy Commissioner Byrne: That’s exactly the Commissioner’s point. We can’t have them in an operational position – why should we pay them a full chief’s salary to sit in an office and do nothing. It’s better for the public for them to retire, take their reduced pension –

Commissioner Bratton: There’s something else I [inaudible]. By taking this early retirement, if you will, which is their choice, I am not allowing them to run their time – the expression, run their time. Most of these chiefs have built up what is called accrued time, working holidays, etcetera over now 20-30 years. Most of them are now leaving behind anywhere from one year to two years of accrued time, which, if they were to stay in the Department and start running that time, it means they would not come to work for a year or two years and receive full pay and benefits. That is the practice of the Department. They are not being allowed to retire with that accrued time. So, at their salary levels, those that are retiring, that I’m basically encouraging to go, right off the bat they’re paying anywhere from a $200,000 to $300,000 penalty as they go out the door because they cannot take that time with them.

Mayor: Okay, let’s get some other people in the mix. Andrew?

Question: The Build It Back program –

Mayor: Wait, let’s stay on policing and we’ll get to you. Absolutely, you’ll get number-one on the new set, but on policing-related issues – Jillian?

Question: To the Commissioner – I’m just wondering if you could comment on the acquittal of another officer in that Freddie Gray case in Baltimore? I feel like the prosecutor [inaudible]. 

Commissioner Bratton: Well, in light of the fact, if I understand it, the officer who was most severely charged by the prosecutor, which was found not-guilty by the judge in Baltimore – that’s the information I have within the last five or 10 minutes. We’ll let the district attorney down there speak to the charging. As I’ve been watching that trial, the questioning by the judge of the prosecutors was very probative, very probing in the sense of how did you arrive at these charges, and they weren’t able to justify it, and now there’s been a not-guilt finding. So, I stand by my comment.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: That’s a lot of questions together. Why don’t we start at the beginning with –

Commissioner Bratton: You would have no detail on that, Your Honor, but Bob Boyce would in fact be able to respond to that. 

Mayor: Is Bob here? Come on over, Bob.

Commissioner Bratton: As always.

Mayor: There he is.

Commissioner Bratton: Come on down.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, NYPD: That female that was talked about – we did find her not in Brooklyn – in Bayside – and she was a runaway from New Jersey. We are assisting the Port Authority Police Department in regards to that, and that’s where it stands right now.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: That was in Bedford Stuyvesant – the 8-1 Precinct. There was a 20-year-old female overdose, yes.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: It was. Again, this is a Port Authority case. It was their case. We assisted them. So, I would refer the question there. But there was an overdose that we took and right now we don’t know. There’s an autopsy being done right now. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: She was a minor. She was missing from [inaudible] – reported missing. She was returned to her mother in New Jersey.

Mayor: Behind – yeah.

Question: Can I ask the Commissioner about Police Officer Joel Edouard, who was found guilty of stomping of a suspect’s head in 2014. The [inaudible] is that he has to resign [inaudible].

Commissioner Bratton: If he has been found guilty, he will be terminated from the Department – that’s correct.

Question: Do you think the sentence was appropriate?

Commissioner Bratton: In terms of – quite obviously the court did, so I will support the court’s finding on that.

Mayor: In the back.

Question: Commissioner, returning to the Inspector General’s report, it seems like the core finding is that they found no evidence that arresting, summonsing people in quality of life [inaudible] leads to a reduction in crime. Do you disagree?

Commissioner Bratton: I disagree very strongly with that, and every day – every day you and media report when my officers make a fare evasion arrest and find a gun on that individual, make a fare evasion arrest and find they’re wanted on warrants for murder. So, I disagree strongly with that element of their report. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I think I have a lot more expertise than they have on this issue. It is a foundation of policing that those small issues oftentimes lead to more significant issues. Is it the single most significant cause for the reduction of crime in this city? No it is not, and I stated that from the beginning. It is an essential element, but I have never said that, that is the primary reason for crime down in this city. It is a significant contributing factor, but not the sole reason.

Question: The complaint that was brought with the arrest of the two chiefs the other day included statements that indicated that Reichberg and Rechnitz had some role in the promotion of one of them to a better assignment and that this was something that they thought could be done because of the clout that the Ultra Orthodox community has in the city. What do you do to make it clear that there’s not going to be that special kind of treatment to tray and dissuade police officers from doing things that they [inaudible] being doing that are outside the ordinary in terms of benefiting –

Mayor: Let me just start on that. I think it’s happening as you see before your very eyes. Remember that the events in question began in 2012 and 2013 – that’s what was made clear this week by the U.S. Attorney. Before Commissioner Bratton held his office, before I held my office, this problem was already happening. But it was the police, it was the Internal Affairs Bureau, and the ultimately the U.S. Attorney that acted to stop it. Now, the consequences, as we just discussed in the previous question – the consequences for the officers – the senior officers who broke the law, who broke their trust of – you know, their oath of trust – they’re going to experience very real and public consequences. And the individuals who undertook the bribery or whatever other charges, they’ll get – they’re going to receive very real consequences. So, in that vein, the system is working and is sending a very powerful message up and down the line that no one deserves special favoritism, that any acts of illegality of violations of ethics will be very severely treated. So, I want to emphasize, nothing speaks more powerfully than actions, and we’re seeing actions right now. 

Commissioner Bratton: As it relates to that issue, as you might expect, that, that part of that investigation – inferring that an individual received a transfer or a promotion because of [inaudible] influence, if you will – that is very disturbing to me. It is a significant part of the investigation, one of great interest to me in that, if that occurred, who was involved with it? This is something that we do not condone, tolerate, or practice in the NYPD. The promotions in the Department, the transfers are controlled by me and my executive staff who I rely on to make recommendations, and I rely on them that their recommendations are based on their understanding of the performance and capabilities of the people they’re recommending, not somebody that is basically calling in a favor. These men and women work too hard to get these promotions to have that promotion demeaned by the fact they got it not because of their experience and commitment to the City, but because of a favor. So, that element of the investigation – I’ll be very interested as it continues and we week to identify if, in fact, it occurred, and who may have been involved – either former officers or current members of the Department. So, again, it’s ongoing and one of great concern to me, because that has certainly not been my practice [inaudible] my relationship with this Mayor. One of the great satisfactions working as Commissioner in this city at this time is I have been free of that undue influence, if you will, political or otherwise in making my promotion selections.

Mayor: Yes?

Question: Commissioner, does the NYPD owe LGBT an apology for Stonewall in 1969, given that it was the NYPD that raided and [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: Well, there’s no denying that out of that terrible experience came so much good – that it was the tipping point, if you will. So, I think we should all celebrate that out of that terrible experience that a lot of good came, going forward. An apology – I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s necessary. The apology is all that has occurred since then in the sense that we have sought – some of my predecessors – certainly, I can speak to my time in policing, going back to 1975 when I was appointed to deal with the community – that we’ve come a long way as evidenced by the officers who are sitting in the front row here – that times have changed and are continuing to change because of the events of back then.

Question: Mr. Mayor –

Commissioner Bratton: [Inaudible] radio stations –

Mayor: There you go.

Question: [Inaudible] perception that there are high-ranking officers under arrest of under investigation that are allowed to [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: I’m sorry, what’s the question?

Question: They’re allowed to collect a pension – that they can, you know, put in for retirement and collect pension when they are accused of breaking the law.

Commissioner Bratton: If I may speak, that is the current law in this State. It’s under great discussion currently up in – or has been, I guess, in the Legislature for a number of years. My own perspective on pension is that a pension is earned certainly by the person that is working for the City, but the pension is also earned by the family – the family from – while that person is at work – is away from that family. So, it’s a pension that’s earned by and for the family. So, we have to think long and hard about taking a pension away, because, effectively, you may be depriving the individual of the benefit of it, but you’re also depriving the wife, the children, family members, family members who may be significantly ill, needing medical attention and care. It’s a much more complex issue than it would seem on its surface. And I look at it in its total complexity rather than just narrowly – that we’re punishing the person that abused their position. 

Question: I’m just wondering if we could get an update on the City’s reaction on what’s happening in Germany with –

Commissioner Bratton: John Miller can probably give you a update on that as it’s been evolving. John?

Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism John Miller, NYPD: As the Police Commissioner often says, the first story is never the last story. So, we’ve been monitoring that minute by minute as it started off as a report of a gunman with 25 to 50 injured. What we are getting now – and we’re still verifying this throughout foreign posts overseas, as well as through open source – is there is no apparent nexus to terrorism —A. B: the gunman appears to be someone who may have been emotionally disturbed; we are looking for more depth on that. C: it appears that the gun may not have been a real gun and that the injuries may have been from people trying to get out of the theater as opposed to being wounded by any kind of gunfire during the confrontation between the gunman and police. So, I think that is going to significantly ramp down our posture here. We’ll continue to look at it as it develops but it appears to be less serious now as that information comes in than it started. I will say the way our [inaudible] fire here, they fire very quickly on the idea that we tend to react in terms of shifting protection around and sorting through it as we go than the opposite, which would be to wait a number of hours and then assess protection simply because in the event that a terrorist group like ISIL or al-Qaeda that has a global posture decided to do simultaneous attacks in multiple cities, we want to be able to move very quickly towards those things. So, today I would consider while we watch this story evolve and change, one of our normal drills.

Question: About the numbered train in the Bronx, a young kid was severely attacked, could we get an update on that? And is there any update on [inaudible] where a Latino family [inaudible] storeowner and I think a number of people were arrested – classified as a hate crime.

Chief Boyce: Start with the first one. The first one, we have a 15-year-old who was stabbed several times on the north-bound 4 train in the upper Bronx in the 52 Precinct. He was there with another male, they get off the train and they see another five or six males attack them immediately. This is a gang fight. That victim is a member of a gang. He is a 15-year-old but he has been arrested a couple of times. He was just coming from a probation meeting with a probation officer, so it looks like it was not random, this was purposefully done. He was being followed. That’s what we have right now. He’s uncooperative, he won’t help us but through other witnesses, some people with him, we were able to identify three of them and we are seeking them now. So he is a member of the G Sides, which is a local crew up there. The persons who attacked him are a member of MOB— M-O-B. And we have three identified and we are moving to arrest them today. That other incident you are talking about Dean I will have to get back to you and get you an update because I don’t have an update.

Question: Mayor, on the arrest of the [inaudible] earlier this week, the two at the center of that corruption probe [inaudible] and they were donors to your campaign, were you aware of their connections to the department and how close they were to the department? Were they introduced to you through those connections?

Mayor: No. No and no, is the answer – not aware of the depth of their connection. No, they were not introduced to me through the police department. What they did was horrible and it’s important to note that these actions again go back to 2012, 2013 even though I think in some cases before. And as the U.S. Attorney said very clearly, yesterday that none of the actions taken by some of the individuals in the Police Department or by these two individuals who broke the law had anything to do with the Mayor’s Office or with me. Just introduced by other supporters, I don’t remember all of the tick tock of it but that is how it happened.

Question: Mr. Mayor, when is the last time you spoke with Phillip Banks and what did you two discuss?

Mayor: From the best of my memory: it was either the day he resigned or something right around then and I will be straightforward and say I express my disappointment in his decision and the way he handled it.

Question: On that topic, excuse me, were you aware of any allegations around Inspector Banks when you were making a decision about [inaudible]?

Mayor: No, not at all. Last call on policing topics, or Pride Parade obviously. We started out with Pride Parade and then it became policing, there you go.

Question: Has Commissioner Bratton ever met the two businessmen involved in the federal probe?

Commissioner Bratton: Not to the best of my knowledge, being quite frank with you, if they walked in front of me right now I probably wouldn’t recognize them either despite their pictures in the paper. But to the best of my ability, fortunately, I don’t think I have ever encountered them in any way, shape or form.

Question: Commissioner can you tell us about the methodological concern [inaudible] you mentioned anecdotes, can you tell us what you know about the Inspector General [inaudible]?    

Mayor: Yes he can. [Laughter] I think he’s already said but he’ll say it again.

Commissioner Bratton: It’s now our focus but the complexity of dealing with this is something the Mayor and I, I think have been dealing with joined at the hip and shoulder throughout our time together. It’s a complex issue and we both agree and during my time advising him in his run up to his election and then after my appointment in the issue of Stop-Question-Frisk as a vivid example of that. A very essential tool of policing but overused. And as you know clearly that my predecessor began to reduce it. I reduced it even more significantly and crime has continued to go down fairly significantly even with that reduction. Similarly, the efforts by the City Council, the Mayor and I after a year and a half of negotiation which I fully support that legislation is intended to give my offices more discretion than they might have had back in the 90s when we were mandating that they make certain arrests rather than summonses because the situation was so bad. Now the situation is such that we feel we can do an admonition a warning – a civil summons rather than a criminal. It goes to the other gentleman’s question about the [inaudible] maybe they question the parade this weekend. The idea of how would we intend to enforce quality of life issues such as public urination, etc. The idea is that officers use the minimum amount of their enforcement powers to correct the condition and if it’s necessary to escalate, well then, they are trained to escalate. So in terms of the report itself, I fail to understand the need for it at this particular time and I question has the IG even been reading the newspapers. Is he aware of all that this administration and this police department has been doing, because they seem to be questioning a period of time before we came into office.

Mayor: I want to say, let me just add to that very quickly. Again, absolutely respecting and being fair to DOI and to the police IG. In black and white they say this is not a fuller analysis of the Broken Windows strategy but I share the concern. It’s still a narrow look at the question of quality of life crime enforcement. I want to just put into a very quick context; we are safer than we’ve ever been first and foremost. I will give credit to the Commissioner and to Jack Maple, first and foremost because of CompStat. To me, as a layman but a layman who has now been steeped in this for the last two and a half years, the foundation with change was CompStat.  But Broken Windows plays a crucial role in the equation. I think some misinterpretation was going on in the question of was the concern that Broken Windows policing specifically and always led to a reduction in other violent crimes. Well the Commissioner just spoke to that. There are times when there is a direct correlation, a fair evasion where someone has an illegal gun on them. Well that’s a direct impact on reducing violent crime. There is other times where there is just quality of life enforcement because we have laws and the police enforce our laws. And if you look at what brought down violent crime, you have to look at the whole almost 25 year time frame. You have to look at the role of CompStat, the role of Broken Windows, the number of police officers -- a variety of forces. It’s a variety of factors I should say. So those are the things I think need to be put in perspective here. But, I really want to emphasize, the Commissioner is making very clear. There are lots and lots of individual cases where quality of life enforcement specifically stopped violent crime. He’s not claiming, I am not claiming but that is the totality of quality of life enforcement.

Question: Are you concerned that you have one Commissioner Inspector General who has commissioned a report that your Police Commissioner believes is fatally flawed and useless?

Mayor: No. Its democracy – checks and balances. Look, DOI has a role to play. We have a police inspector general, maybe everyone remembers the vibrant debate in 2013 over what types of safeguards we should have and reforms we should have. By the way, again, we pull back the camera a little and remember the discussion of 2013. We have a police IG. Does anyone expect a police IG and the police commissioner to always agree? I don’t think that’s the nature of it.

Commissioner Bratton: You don’t hit a home run every time you come to bat. This time they filed out. [Laughter] It’s that simple.

Mayor: But the other point is, if you look at the reduction of Stop and Frisk, look at the summons reform, look at the reduction of marijuana arrest. There is a really extraordinary pattern going on here. And, I agree with the Commissioner that all needs to be looked at in discussing where we are going. Last call on police-related or parade related issues? Got two – David and Jillian, and then we will go to other topics. Go ahead.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: No I didn’t.

Commissioner Bratton: Sorry, I didn’t hear the question.

Question: I heard you requested that the DOI Commissioner insert a graph clarifying the report [inaudible].

Commissioner Bratton: No but we will be responding within 90 days in a very comprehensive way –might not be 80 pages but it will be comprehensive and I suggest if you want a more thorough report that you review the one that many of you reported on when we issued it several years ago. That’s the world of quality of life enforcement from the Police Department perspective. I don’t know if this was looked at by the IG during his review. But again, in all due respect to the IG. We work well with him, closely with him. He has issued a number of reports that we oblige to comment on. His role is to have oversight over the department. We respect that. We have been working with IGs for years and inspector generals in the LAPD and this one – we respectfully disagree.

Mayor: And David, you know what did Sigmund Freud say, ‘sometimes the cigar is just a cigar.’ The IG is a very experienced and sophisticated guy as is the DOI Commissioner. I believe they fundamentally wanted to tell the world that this was not a holistic look at broken windows and because they wanted to avoid that misunderstanding and that’s why they did what they did. Jillian, and then we will go to other topics starting with Andrew, go ahead.

Question: Going to bring it back to Pride –

Mayor: Thank you Jillian.

Question: Well, wait [Laughter]

Mayor: Okay, wait we are going to Andrew now.

Question: Stonewall last week [inaudible] dissent within the crowd. I just wanted to know what you thought of that.

Mayor: Listen Jillian, I really respect that people report on what they see, but I also always say put things into some context. First of all, I think the crowd at the vigil was concerned very early on that they wanted to hear the names of those who were lost, read. And I think that was a very legitimate concern and there were a lot of speeches for a lot of people and I think that we happened to be the lucky ones to go last, I think some people were just frustrated. I don’t take that personally. Second of all, there were people with different viewpoints at that vigil. I think some people who happened to disagree with some of our policies had come up to the front to make their views known. Again, that’s called democracy, but when I look at the totality of the community and all of the things we are doing with and for the community I am very confident that a real majority of people think we are on the right track and want to see this deep collaboration between the NYPD and the community grow. I mean I want to just a historical moment to say outside it’s symbolic but it’s very moving symbolism to me that the NYPD vehicle is painted in the Pride colors. In 1969, not that long ago, a lot of people in this room who were around in 1969 that would have been so inconceivable there are no words in English for it. We have traveled in the space of just a few decades to a point now where this NYPD not only has hundreds of LGBT officers but regards itself as here to protect the LGBT community from any discrimination or hatred or hate crimes. That is a sea change. So I am very satisfied we’re on the right track, but anytime any of us show up in public, we are going to hear people disagree with us. That’s hardly a news flash to me. Alright, Andrew –             

Question: [Inaudible] Build it Back – how convinced are you that you’re still on the right track there and how concerned are you about the house that collapsed on [inaudible] yesterday? And you know the [inaudible] how suspended that contractor’s rebuilding efforts. Are you concerned that you promised too much in guaranteeing that all construction would be finished in 2016?

Mayor: It is the right thing to do. I made that pledge believing it was necessary in every sense, including pushing the government to go farther faster. And I think you can see from some evidence in our administration – pre-K is a great example, the affordable housing plan is a great example – sometimes the only way you move government is to put up a high bar and a very clear one. I think we are on the right track. I think we got a lot of work to do on a tight time frame. But we are throwing in the kitchen sink to get it done. The collapse obviously concerns me – thank God no one was hurt. And from everything I know – it was an isolated incident. But we’re going to look at it very carefully to make sure that nothing like that happens again. Yes?

Question: The Staten Island Yankees are planning to rebrand over the next year. And they’re asking fans to come up with names. So as a baseball fan – you went last year – I was with you. I was wondering if you had any suggestions or what you think they should name themselves?

Mayor: I’m going to get to work on that.


Mayor: I’m going to offer my first suggestion because of the importance of the ferry as a symbol of Staten Island – maybe the Captains? Okay? That’s my first offering. But I’m going to probably put most of my time into this issue from this point on because I am that much of a baseball fan. Yes?

Question: Mr. Mayor, this week during a debate among the Democratic candidates for the 13th Congressional district – some of the candidates indicated they believe Commissioner Bratton should resign or should consider resigning or you should look at the issue [inaudible].

Mayor: I would say they’re out of their minds. This is the most effective Police Commissioner we’ve ever had. He’s been an agent of reform and progressive change. And he ain’t going anywhere.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I believe we’re going to prevail in that case. We are appealing immediately. Let’s be very clear – this one was the landlord lobby trying to interfere with an effort to provide 660,000 New Yorkers with a credit on their water bill. 660,000 households were going to benefit because it was time to stop charging people for – on their water bill – for things that weren’t water. And it’s a major reform I’ve been working on since I was Public Advocate. We finally got there. And we’re trying to do something good for homeowners. And it was the RSA – the landlord lobby – that stepped in to try at stop it. If I were a homeowner – I am a homeowner I should say – if I were any other homeowner, I would be pissed off at the RSA right now because they are standing in the way of fairness for homeowners. We believe we are on very strong legal ground, and we believe we’re going to win that case in the near term and get right back to providing that credit for homeowners. Yes?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Say again.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: It’s horrible. I think the President was right all along. What the President’s executive action aimed to do was to help as many as five million of our fellow residents of this country to protect their families and have a decent life. I have no idea how the Supreme Court’s reasoning led them to their decision. I think it’s a defeat for the American ideal of embracing all people. And it’s going to have to be overcome. And the same time, I will say – I believe we will get to comprehensive immigration reform in the near term because I think the public will demand it. And that will help to resolve the issue. But it’s a horrible defeat for millions of people in this country and for our values. [Inaudible]

Question: [Inaudible] one-year of mayoral extension of schools. [Inaudible]

Mayor: I don’t know how he’s counting. We had a vote last year and a vote this year in the Assembly for a three-year extension – by an overwhelming margin. I believe that’s a fact. It’s an obvious fact. So I don’t know why he is denigrating the majority of the Assembly who voted that way.

Question: [Inaudible] Was it a mistake to do that a year ago – A? And B – do you think he is using his leverage of State government now to undermine New York City business?

Mayor: The first answer is no. I said the truth. I stand by it. And as I’ve said many times, when the Governor does something to help New York City, I’ll thank him and commend him. When he does something to hurt New York City, I’ll call him out and I’ll work against it. That was certainly the case – I thanked him when he moved the minimum wage bill and the paid family leave bill. I opposed him when he tried to put huge cuts on CUNY and on Medicaid that would have harmed this city fundamentally. And I’ll stick to that pattern. Look – I think the Governor should think very carefully about the fact that this city represents 43 percent of the population of the state and is worthy of respect. He should respect this city. He should not try and undermine the efforts of this city. We are the economic engine of the state. We are the number one contributor to the revenue of the State government. We would like to work cooperatively with the State. But the people of New York City demand respect. Yes?

Question: When you look at the path ahead now – do you have any plans to try to fix that relationship?

Mayor: I am always happy to. But again, what I said a year ago wasn’t off the cuff. It was after a year-and-a-half of experience, where I saw so many initiatives undermined for unfair reasons that really hurt the people of New York City. A year-and-a-half-ago, we thought we were going to get something done on 421-a that would have helped us to achieve affordable housing. We thought we had every right to a longer extension of mayoral control just as my predecessor had – a number of examples where the State government didn’t serve us. He’s the head of the State government. And so it was right to call that out, and I’ll keep doing that. I’m always ready to improve any relationship. There’s plenty of people who I have real disagreements with, but I still [inaudible]. I talk to Leader Flanagan. I talk to folks in the Republican Party here in this city – Council members for example. I’m always willing to sit down with people and try and find common ground. But my job as Mayor is to stand up for the people of New York City. And if our interests are affronted, I will call that out. Marcia?

Question: I wonder going back to the corruption [inaudible]. Did you have time to read [inaudible]? And is your assessment of the kind of [inaudible] is different given the fact that these were chiefs – these were brasses as opposed to rank-and-file police officers that might have been involved [inaudible]?

Mayor: Yes, look – first of all, I haven’t read it. But I do certainly – your question is very pertinent. I think anyone who takes an oath an office – whether an individual police officer, or chief, or elected official – has an obligation to the people. A small group of people violated that oath – that’s what we know so far and obviously there could be others. Now, again, a very small number in a department of 36,000 – a very small number even among the senior members of the NYPD leadership. They are bad apples, and they’re going to pay the price, but, I agree entirely with the notion the higher up you go in the food chain the more responsibility you take on and the more you’re supposed to be an example to others. So, I don’t know how someone gets to the [inaudible] we’re talking about and does something so stupid and so [inaudible]. It’s just not even close. And all of us are trained on [inaudible] for example. Anyone who says, oh, I didn’t know I couldn’t take a trip to Las Vegas is lying. So, it’s very troubling, but, I’m going to emphasize, and thank you for noting it too – these instances began before Commissioner Bratton and I were in office, and the U.S. Attorney said very affirmatively it had nothing to do with City Hall, it had nothing to do [inaudible].

Yes, in the back.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I don’t know about this case, and we’ll certainly look at it and get back to you. Obviously I’m very troubled if anyone’s been a victim of violence. The broad concept – anything like that supervised release is for people who have not committed violent crimes. That’s the whole concept – to try and not have someone who is a low-level offender, a non-violent offender end up going through the penal system [inaudible] Rikers Island. That’s a fair notion. That’s a notion that’s been proven to be effective many times over. God forbid there’s ever an exception to that, so I want to know the facts of this case and then [inaudible].

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Look, I think it’s quite clear, the chokehold is not acceptable under NYPD rules and it hasn’t been for decades. The question is obviously always enforcement – we’re going to enforce that very, very vigorously – we have been. But the minute you legislate, there is a slippery slope, and this is about respecting – we’ve already made very clear our obligation to the public is to reduce the use of force. There should never be an inappropriate use of a chokehold and any officer who engages in that will have very serious consequences. We’re doing a lot more training to help officers not fall into that situation, but I also fundamentally believe that a law that may leave open the possibility – that’s how I see it with this law – that an officer can be prosecuted criminal for defining their own life appropriately – I’m not comfortable with that.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Because it’s a criminal charge. It has a whole set of other ramifications and penalties. 

Okay, yes?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Again, you know, like I said earlier about the folks who claim they don’t know the ethics law – I’ve been working in public life for, you know, 20 years-plus in different ways, I know that there are very clear and appropriate standards. You can, in any instance – for example, if someone’s raising a concern to a government agency, you want to make sure they get a right to raise their concern – that’s fine. You don’t have a right to intervene inappropriately. I feel I’ve stuck to that standard 100 percent.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Every one of us is – who does this work right has received a lot of training – formal training, ethics training – over the years, and I borrow from that all the time, but if there’s ever an area where you need guidance, turn to your counsel, which I do all the time as well, and I’ve done it in previous roles. That’s how you’re supposed to do it.


Question: [Inaudible] 

Mayor: That’s a good phrase – the ongoing deadness.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I don’t want to project who [inaudible] fault or not fault. It’s not time to revise it. We believe in the plan. It is absolutely on schedule. By the way, something worthy of examination is we didn’t actually believe with our 200,000 units planned that we could hit ideal numbers in the first year or two. I want to give immense credit to Alicia Glen, and Vicki Been, and [inaudible] – everyone who’s been involved. We’re ahead of pace right now on a plan that normally you’d think you’d ramp up the first two years and your bigger numbers would be in later years. So, we’re on pace even with the delay on action on 421-a. We’re going to continue to be on pace this year. I’m astounded that Albany didn’t act. This is one of the number-one tools for creating affordable housing and, again, a very slippery slope was started by the Governor last year in holding it back, and, now, you know, the pause that has lead to inaction and it’s going to ultimately hurt this housing market a lot if it’s not addressed soon and it’s going to lead to a lot less affordable housing. I can tell you something, when the people of this city start to recognize that Albany is holding them back from being able to afford to live in New York City, there will be a rebellion, and people in Albany will hear that loud and clear. There’s still absolutely an opportunity to fix it, because even though it was a rather unusual methodology to leave the negotiations in the hands of [inaudible] trades, that still can be done, and, if completed, then it would be activated immediately. What is the good news – you know, I’m an optimist by nature, or I wouldn’t do this work – so, I’ll find some good news in this equation – there’s one piece of objective good news. 421-a as we know it is dead, meaning the 421-a that subsidized luxury condos; the 421-a that didn’t create enough affordable housing; the 421-a that was a bad deal for the taxpayer; that’s dead and gone, that’s never coming back. So, at least we got rid of the negative. I’d sure as hell like to see the positive and our leaders in Albany have to take responsibility for that.

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: The question is well-informed. Let me clarify what I’m saying. This year was the way I think it was phrased. We are content, we are convinced that this year we have a sound pace because so much has been started and because, remember, preservation is most of the plan – it’s 60 percent of the plan – and the preservation can keep going regardless of 421-a. You’re absolutely right if you say, next year, or the year after, will it start to affect our plan. It’s not only going to affect our plan, it’s going to affect a lot of other things. It’s going to affect the housing market. It’s going to affect employment. It’s going to affect the availability of affordable housing for New Yorkers. If I was anybody in Albany right now, I would get to work quickly on fixing this issue and resolving 421-a. And again, if not, they will hear from their constituents and the constituents will be very angry. 

David, you get one more.

Question: [Inaudible] 

Mayor: Damn that Eric Phillips, always trying to contain me from saying what I want to say. Yes?


Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I have a lot of respect for her and really appreciate all Karen did for us. I respect her – obviously her right to give her view. We’re going to do things the way we think make sense. We do this kind of format. We do town hall meetings. We do the weekly call-in show. And it’s always our endeavor to communicate better, and I’m going to be spending – focusing a lot more time out in the communities of this city, which I really look forward to.

Thank you. 

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