Mayor de Blasio attended a police-statistics briefing Tuesday detailing the city’s gang-driven murder spike, and invited two fellow pols — who blindsided the NYPD’s top cop with gripes about crime in their districts.
Just as Police Commissioner James O’Neill opened up to media questions about his department’s latest stats — including an 8.1 percent rise in slayings — de Blasio interrupted to turn the mic over to his guests.
“Wait, wait, wait, we’re jumping ahead,” de Blasio quietly chided O’Neill. “We’ve got some elected officials.”
O’Neill — who, according to a high-ranking police source, wasn’t expecting the statements — asked, “Oh, really?”
First to sound off was City Councilwoman Diana Ayala, representing East Harlem as well as parts of the South Bronx covered by the crime-ridden 40th Precinct — whose station house played host to the meeting.
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“I . . . have been to too many shooting responses in the last few weeks,” said Ayala, seated at the far end of the dais that also included de Blasio and O’Neill. “That is unacceptable. We should not live as a community in fear.”
Ayala admitted that enforcement was trending in the right direction, but said it hasn’t gone far enough for the minority communities she serves.
“While crime has significantly gone down citywide — and I agree that it has — it hasn’t been reduced enough in communities of color,” she said.
Councilman Rafael Salamanca, whose Bronx district is also covered by the 40th Precinct, added that he had written letters “time and time again” requesting more cops to patrol the “ground zero for the opioid crisis.”
Salamanca expressed optimism that the planned 2021 opening of a new 40th Precinct station house just blocks from the area — announced at the start of the meeting — would bring that enforcement.
After the meeting, a high-ranking police source blasted the impromptu town hall as “unhelpful and unnecessary.”
Another insider railed against the evolution of the monthly crime briefings into a soapbox for the mayor and his invitees.
“When did it morph into not being a crime briefing, but to be a general [availability] for the mayor?” the source said. “It’s getting to be a road show.”
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Both Ayala and Salamanca denied trying to stir the pot, and stressed their gratitude for the NYPD’s enforcement efforts. They also confirmed they were invited to the briefing by de Blasio.
“The mayor’s glad people speak frankly, even if they shed light on challenges that remain in America’s safest big city,” a de Blasio spokesman said.
Among the challenges the NYPD highlighted was a citywide 8.1 percent spike in murders, with 147 slayings through the end of June compared to 136 at the same point last year.
Gang violence has accounted for roughly one-third of murders this year — and spilled over to the mainstream last month with the mistaken-identity slaying of 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz by a band of blade-wielding Trinitarios gang members.
Much of the bloodshed — including the murder of Guzman-Feliz, an aspiring cop — has come in The Bronx, which has notched 51 homicides in 2018, up 64.5 percent from last year’s 31 to the same date, stats show.
To combat those trends, the department is deploying additional officers to two of the borough’s most troublesome precincts: the 40th and the 48th, where Guzman-Feliz was killed, officials said.