Mayor de Blasio on Thursday waved aside New Yorkers’ fears over a recent spate of shocking subway crimes — including the concerns of NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, claiming that the top cop never sounded the alarm, as he sat just feet away.
The denial of reality came in the wake of several high-profile crimes on the rails, including a straphanger being randomly shoved onto the tracks this week in what Shea said has become “too common” an occurrence.
Shea went on to say in a Wednesday NY1 interview that part of the problem was cops being restricted in interacting with the mentally ill in the subway system since the city’s push to use trained workers, not the Finest, for such calls — though not to de Blasio’s recollection.
“Any suggestion that the NYPD can’t do what it needs to do to stop an incident like that in the subways is absolutely false, and the commissioner never said that,” de Blasio chided CBS 2 reporter Marcia Kramer, who broached the subject during a City Hall briefing Thursday. “Don’t put words in his mouth, with all due respect.”
After a brief response from Shea — who did not address the mental illness issue, instead vowing increased NYPD visibility underground as a deterrent — Kramer fired back by directly quoting the commissioner’s Wednesday remarks.
“It’s not easy but we need to talk about it because, at the same time we’re saying, take the police out of mental health illness,” Shea said Wednesday. “In appropriate circumstances we support that, but there’s got to be follow up. This person is a danger, unfortunately, and he’s not alone.”
De Blasio then tried to dismiss the line of questioning as fearmongering.
“We can talk about facts and encourage the people to understand the facts, or we can just create fear for the sake of fear,” he said. “We choose the former. We choose to tell people that the NYPD is out there every day, protecting their safety, that subways have been made much safer over time.