Bratton on the ‘real’ rules for driving a mayor

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Bill Bratton with Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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Police commissioner Bill Bratton said he would not question the police officer assigned to drive Mayor Bill de Blasio who was filmed yesterday driving over the speed limit, changing lanes without signaling and ignoring two stop signs.

“I am not overly concerned with what I saw,” Bratton told reporters as he left City Hall after his regularly scheduled meeting with the mayor.

CBS yesterday aired footage showing the mayor’s motorcade speeding and changing lanes without signaling on the Grand Central Parkway, and ignoring two stop signs. The incident comes just days after the mayor announced plans to reduce speeds on most city streets, and to increase enforcement of traffic rules in order to decrease pedestrian fatalities.

“The officers assigned to the security detail have dual concerns,” Bratton said.

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One is security and the other, he said, is “traffic conditions. And they are constantly evaluating and making decisions.”

“They were moving with the traffic flow, which they’re trained to do,” Bratton said of the mayor’s motorcade. "If you get up on the Grand Central Parkway and that’s going 55 miles per hour, you go 55 miles per hour.”

As for the stop sign, Bratton said the second car in a motorcade like the one the mayor travels in needs to stay close to the lead vehicle.

“It’s principal function is to stay with the first vehicle," he said.

Asked whether de Blasio had set up a double standard for obeying traffic rules, Bratton said, “He’s the mayor of New York and his security is paramount. It’s the same as the president of the United States, the governor or, for that matter, the security that’s provided to me. I’m sorry. That’s the way it is.”

I asked Bratton if the motorcade’s exception to the some traffic rules violates the mantra he’s told his officers, which is that you “can’t break the law in order to enforce” it.

“It is not,” Bratton said. “Let’s get real. Let’s get real. Security issues are going to be paramount.”

He went on to say, “We are not going to be questioning those officers as to the decisions they made. They make these decisions all the time, every day, as they attempt to provide security.”

A television reporter asked Bratton if the officer filmed yesterday will continue driving the mayor.

Bratton said, “certainly,” and walked away.