A book from the top aide of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, alleges that former Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio intentionally did not deploy enough police officers during the Black Lives Matter riots in 2020.
The New York Post reported that De Blasio had concerns about the possibility of further embarrassment, stemming from violence that could have ensued between the New York City Police Department and BLM protesters after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, DeRosa claims in an excerpt from “What’s Left Unsaid: My Life at the Center of Power, Politics & Crisis.”
“We learned that a high-ranking member of the police union had reached out directly to the governor that morning with disturbing information: he believed that de Blasio, fearful of more police clashes with protesters going viral on video, was purposefully not deploying additional bodies,” DeRosa writes, adding that police were “unwilling to take on the looters” because they knew “they were outnumbered.”
Cuomo and de Blasio learned in a conference call with former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea that there were “only 4,000 officers on duty” at a demonstration of 5,000 BLM protesters, the outlet reported.
“The governor’s eyes widened in disbelief at what, to him, amounted to a staggering admission of malpractice. Shea had just confirmed what the governor had been told and feared; the city had deliberately minimized deployment,” DeRosa writes.
DeRosa alleges that de Blasio was influenced by the “far left” who promoted the “defund the police” movement. The former mayor had previously announced that “he would cut $1 billion from the NYPD operating budget and another $500 million from its capital budget.”
“In the city, de Blasio made clear that, despite the deteriorating situation, he neither needed nor wanted support from the state police or the National Guard. The governor kept the channels of communication open, speaking directly with rank-and-file members of the NYPD and their union officials to get their perspective on what was going wrong,” DeRosa wrote.
“I told [DeBlasio deputy mayor Emma Wolfe] that, based on conversations the governor was having with law enforcement on the ground, he believed strongly that the NYPD didn’t have enough police officers on the street,” she said.
De Blasio eventually doubled police presence to 8,000 officers, imposing a curfew, which Cuomo recommended, after he realized “the chaos was doing more damage to him than offending the Far Left would,” the outlet reported.
“Arrests and looting dropped dramatically,” DeRosa wrote. “That mattered far more than any bruised egos or negative press about the ‘feud’ between the governor and the mayor.”
Peter Ragone, de Blasio’s former adviser, told the New York Post that Cuomo’s team had prioritized politics, but allowed public safety to fall to the wayside.
“It was clear to everyone that the Cuomo folks were in cahoots with SBA (Sergeants Benevolent Association) President and Trump guy Ed Mullins. They shared an interest in putting politics over the interest of New Yorkers,” he alleged.
“The NYPD had all the resources it needed to handle difficult situations despite having no support from the state,” Ragone told the Post, adding the aftermath of George Floyd’s death was one of the “most difficult periods in New York history.”
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