De Blasio calls NYPD after ally’s arrest
Mayor Bill de Blasio's office confirmed on Tuesday that the mayor called an NYPD spokesperson, following the arrest last night of Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a longtime supporter who served on his transition committee.
“The mayor reached out to Deputy Chief Royster to get clarification on word that there had been an arrest of a respected local clergyman,” said de Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak.
The call was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which also noted the mayor did not ask for Findlayter to be released.
That decision was made by the commanding officer of 67th Precinct in Brooklyn, deputy inspector Kenneth Lehr, the Journal reported.
The NYPD did not immediately respond when asked if the mayor’s office has made similar inquiries in the past. A spokeswoman for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, whose swearing-in ceremony de Blasio attended Sunday evening, declined to comment on the mayor's involvement in Findlayter's arrest.
Findlayter was arrested after making a left turn without signaling. Officers on the scene later discovered Findlayter had two outstanding warrants, resulted from a protest in October 2013, where Findlayter and others were arrested in an act of civil disobedience in order to raise awareness about immigration reform.
Findlayter has been a close ally of de Blasio. On June 30, Findlayter joined a group labeled “Caribbean Clergy for Bill de Blasio,” endorsing the candidate at time when he still trailed in the polls.
On September 15, before votes from the primary a week earlier were finalized, de Blasio, his wife and daughter visited Findlayter’s church, where the bishop referred to him as the “next mayor of New York.” De Blasio told the crowd at Findlayter’s church, “This is one of the places where the victory began.” At the church, de Blasio warned that “some people” with “a lot of resources” will try stopping them from implementing his progressive agenda.
On November 30, Findlayter was named a member of the transition committee and later, he endorsed de Blasio’s preferred candidate for speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Ed Cox, the chairman of the New York State Republican Party reacted to reports of the phone call by quoting de Blasio's campaign theme and suggesting the mayor was being hypocritical.
“Now we know what Bill de Blasio meant when he said ‘a tale of two cities:’ one set of rules for Bill de Blasio and his friends, one set of rules for everyone else,” said Cox in a statement. “Under New York’s new Mayor, some New Yorkers are more equal than others.”