De Blasio says police call was ‘appropriate’

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Mayor Bill de Blasio said today he thought his phone call to a police official regarding the arrest of Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a close political ally and friend, was "appropriate."

“I think all this is case-by-case, and this is an usual situation, where a very prominent member of the clergy was obviously experiencing a very unusual situation," de Blasio told reporters after a storm briefing in Brooklyn today. "So, I thought it was appropriate to make an inquiry. And I got a response. And that’s the end of the story.”

“It’s appropriate to make an inquiry when you think there’s a reason to make an inquiry," he added.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the mayor had called a police official to ask about the arrest of Findlayter, whom the officers pulled over for a moving violation, and subsequently arrested, after they found he had two outstanding warrants. Findlayter, who served on de Blasio's transition committee, was later released from custody.

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“It’s very simple,” the mayor said when asked a detailed, four-part question from a Journal reporter. “I receive a report. I made an inquiry. I received a report from Emma Wolfe, on my staff. I made an inquiry with Chief Royster she came back with an answer that the situation had been settled, and I thought that the precinct commander handled it well and that was his choice to make obviously."

Asked if the police handled Findlayter’s arrest and release appropriately, de Blasio said, “A hundred percent.”

Asked if he planned on regularly intervening, the mayor said such decisions were made on a case-by-case basis.

De Blasio said he was not surprised by the coverage the story received in the media, and continued to defend that his involvement was appropriate.

"Leaders within the NYPD make decisions every minute … every day based on a lot of factors and this was done appropriately."

In Brooklyn, a reporter from Bloomberg News told the mayor it was “still impossible” to get the arrest report for Findlayter, and de Blasio said he was unaware of how such a report is normally distributed, but pledged to have an aide follow up.

De Blasio also rebuffed the notion the incident was in any way analogous to the ticket-fixing scandal where police officials were found to have dismissed tickets for themselves and others.

“Ticket fixing is illegal,” de Blasio said.

Bill Bratton, the New York Police Department commissioner, was not in attendance at de Blasio’s press conference. He did not have any public events yesterday, nor today.