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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Impromptu Gaggle Following Appearance On "This Week With George Stephanopoulos"

December 7, 2014

Unknown: Good morning. How are you? 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good — how are you doing?

Unknown: I am multitasking. 

Mayor: Alright, I’m impressed. [Laughter]

Question: Let’s do this. Okay so, five days into the protests, how do you think — 

Mayor: Peter is going to help you out. Peter is helping you do that. A little team work here. 

Question: That’s good. I like that. So, five days into the protests, how do you think is the state of the city now? 

Mayor: I think the city is very peaceful. I think the NYPD has done an extraordinary job. We’ve had protests for a number of nights but the protesters, by and large, have been peaceful and the NYPD has acted, I think, in a very intelligent and agile manner. And that’s helped to bring us to the result we’ve had now, and last night was particularly good. And I think it’s an example of what the professionalism of the NYPD allows to happen in this city, where peaceful protest can occur. People have a right to raise their concerns, but it’s done in a nonviolent fashion. 

Question: What do you say to the people that criticize the traffic? I mean, is there any other way for the common man to get heard in this day and age? 

Mayor: Look, you know, the first amendment is a pretty sacred thing. You know, the right to free speech is a pretty sacred thing in this country. We’re going to respect it. And we always try to avoid disruption. The bottom line is what we’ve achieved here in this setting, because of our police, is a situation where people did get a right to be heard, and violence was avoided, conflict was avoided. And I think that’s a real model. 

Question: So, is it because of the rain or because the anger is going away — that the protests are —

Mayor: No, I think the underlying issue certainly isn’t going away. And people are going to be talking about this for years to come as we try to move police and community closer together and address these challenges. I think it is the fact that when protest is respected and treated properly, it helps to diffuse things, and the NYPD did that. And that’s why I think you see a better situation with each day. But the underlying issue is not going away. We have to address them. That’s why we’re retraining our police force. That’s why we’re moving towards body cameras and a lot of other reforms. Okay? Anyone else? Good?  

Question: [Inaudible] targeting police officers and are you concerned about the safety of police officers at all? 

Mayor:We take every threat seriously, and I am always concerned about the safety of police officers. But we have no specific information to back that threat. So, nothing that proves it is credible at this point.

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