Earlier this week, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg breathed fire and brimstone at a plethora of politicians for failing to support his law-and-order agenda, some police reform advocates reacted harshly and said Mr. Bloomberg was deflecting from the real issues.
But not Joe Lhota. In fact, Mr. Lhota, a Republican vying to replace the term-limited Mr. Bloomberg, thought the speech was better than anything he’s ever heard from a mayor.
“Bravo! Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg for that speech,” Mr. Lhota exclaimed in a radio interview with Brian Lehrer this morning. “It was probably the best speech I’ve ever heard a mayor of the City of New York give in the 59 years I’ve been a resident of this city.”
Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis believes “a robot” could soon end the debate over the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, he said last night.
“The stop-and-frisk law is going to go away by itself,” Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire business executive, said at the New York Observer-sponsored event. “There’s new technology for the 21st century. It’s going to be a robot or a handgun that identifies if somebody is carrying a concealed weapon. And that’s going to happen, so the stop-and-frisk law over the next year or two will go away by itself.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn may be allies, but they thoroughly disagree on Quinn-backed legislation that would install an inspector general to oversee the city’s police department. Accordingly, before speaking at an unrelated event this morning, Mr. Bloomberg delivered a lengthy speech blasting the bill.
“That’s not an Inspector General; that’s a policy supervisor, and I don’t think any rational person would say we need two competing police commissioners,” Mr. Bloomberg said, according to a transcript provided by his office. “There would be questions in the ranks of police officers about who is really in charge – and whose policies they should follow. That kind of breakdown in the chain of command would be disastrous for public safety.”
In his final State of the City address this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a number of new policies he’ll implement in the last of his twelve years in office. In addition to banning Styrofoam in restaurants and an expansion of electric car parking space, among other initiatives, Mr. Bloomberg notably announced the city will simply ticket and release New Yorkers caught with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana, rather than holding them in custody.
“There’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record,” Mr. Bloomberg declared. “Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. And we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But I’ll tell you, we won’t wait for that to happen.”
Ray Kelly tends to stay out of politics, much to the dismay of some, but the city’s police commissioner fired a rhetorical shot at President Barack Obama while discussing gun violence with the Daily News yesterday.
“Maybe the city most affected (by guns) is Chicago,” Mr. Kelly said. “The President’s hometown. But barely a peep out of him.”
Earlier today, Talib Kweli spoke before a raucous police reform rally just outside City Hall, and he let the crowd know what he really thinks of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the way he encourages the NYPD to treat some New Yorkers as “second-class” citizens.
“I wrote some things down but I just want start by telling y’all that I came here today because I love this city,” Mr. Kweli said to begin his speech. “This is the greatest city in the world, that’s why I’m here today. But I’m here today because this city could be greater.”
Earlier today, the Associated Press reported an eighth grader confessed to an incident of vandalism where windows were smashed at the campaign headquarters of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm. Over the weekend, when the vandalism first occurred, Mr. Grimm claimed it was a “politically-motivated” attack that also included hard drives being erased on computers in his office. He further condemned the attack as “an assault on democracy.” After the news broke that a child admitted he and a friend committed the crime, Mr. Grimm issued a calmer statement, declaring he was “very relieved to know this is not politically motivated” and said he assumed the broken windows were connected to a “consistent pattern” of his lawn signs being damaged and the computer problems at his office. He also slammed the media for what he described as “shameless spin” in the reporting on the situation.
“It is unfortunate that these young kids would commit such an act of vandalism, yet we are very relieved to know this is not politically motivated. At the time, when we saw three large window panes broken, following a consistent pattern of lawn sign thefts and after several locations with Grimm signs and posters were barraged with eggs, it was not hard to come to any other conclusion,” Mr. Grimm said. “In addition to that, the gentleman in charge of operating the main computer system, found the computer not functioning and a new operating system installed. Again, under the circumstances, it could very easily lead one to believe that this was all connected, which is why we contacted the NYPD.”
Congressman Michael Grimm and his campaign made a big deal about an alleged break-in at his headquarters last weekend, calling the incident “politically motivated” and “an assault on democracy,” claiming hard drives in the office were erased and comparing the situation to the deadly shooting that left former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords critically wounded last year.
According to the Associated Press, the explanation for the smashes windows at Mr. Grimm’s office is actually something far more innocent.
“Police say a teenager has admitted vandalizing the campaign office of New York Congressman Michael Grimm,” the AP report said. “NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says the eighth grader told a school counselor that he and a friend had broken a window over the weekend at the office on Staten Island.”
Law & Order
On Sunday, someone claiming to be affiliated with the hacker activist group Anonymous, released a two minute clip containing footage of last November’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park that they said was obtained from the NYPD’s Technical Assistance Response Unit. While the clip has widely been covered as having been “leaked” from the police, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne told Politicker the clip was ‘not ‘leaked” and may have been a combination of footage from television news cameras, public court records and even possibly from the occupiers themselves.
Republican Congressman Michael Grimm’s campaign office on Staten Island was allegedly vandalized and burglarized overnight. According to an email sent to reporters shortly after 2 p.m. by Mr. Grimm’s spokeswoman, Carol Danko, workers arrived at the office this morning to discover multiple windows that had apparently been broken.
“Overnight, cement blocks were thrown through the windows of his campaign HQ located at 2582 Hylan Blvd. between the New Dorp post office and the Hylan Shopping Plaza on Staten Island,” Ms. Danko wrote.
Politicker just spoke with Ms. Danko on the phone and she said Mr. Grimm is communicating with police and that he said, upon further investigation, the NYPD discovered computers inside the office had their hard drives erased. According to Ms. Danko, police believe the broken windows may have been a “cover up” to distract from the compromised computers.