Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s blue blood boiled when he called City Hall leaders “cowards” who “who won’t stand up for what’s right” and “don’t have a goddamn clue what they’re talking about” at a meeting of Police Department brass last week.
“They are failing at every possible measure to be leaders, and they throw it on the backs of the men and women of this police department, and curse them with one hand and then blame them with the other,” Shea said Thursday at a weekly CompStat meeting, at which top police officials discuss crime data.
“How dare they. How dare they,” the commissioner said.
Shea’s speech — recorded on video obtained by the Daily News — employed emotional language delivered in an even tone to slam City Hall efforts to reform police practices and slash the department’s budget by nearly $1 billion, to about $5 billion.
He said political leaders need to “get their heads out of the sand” and tell anti-police protesters — “the 1% fringe lunatics” — “No, this is our city.”
Without naming names, Shea said New York political leaders “have screwed this city up so much in a short period of time, it’s going to take us some time to get our arms around it.”
He began by recalling Jack Maple, a legendary cop who during the 1980s led the development of the CompStat program, which helped drove down crime rates in the 1990s and undergirds police crime-fighting policy today.
Seeing a memorial to Maple in police headquarters “talks about times we don’t want to go back to. It talks about a time when we pulled the city out,” Shea said.
He also mentioned the memorial wall at 1 Police Plaza that names every officer killed in the line of duty.
“We have a wall full of names down on the first floor that paid for this city with their blood and we are not giving this god damn city back,” the commissioner said.
Courts “have been shut down for months,” Shea said. “You have political pressures pushing everyone out of jail and putting systems in place to keep people from going into jail.”
He said “resources” available to the department have been “chipped away,” including a cuts to its overtime budget.
“People that don’t have a clue about how to keep New Yorkers safe suddenly think they know about policing,” Shea said. “I have another thing to tell them — they don’t have a goddamn clue what they are talking about. But we are not going to let them destroy this city.
Shea already publicly slammed a series of police reform bills signed by Mayor de Blasio Wednesday, claiming they would adversely impact public safety as the city has suffered a massive uptick in shootings over the last month.
The new reforms make it unlawful for NYPD cops to put suspects in a chokeholds, which are already banned in the department. It is now also illegal for cops to sit, kneel, or stand on someone’s chest or back in a way that could obstruct their breathing. If police are caught doing so, they could face misdemeanor charges.
The changes have brought pushback from police departments outside the city. Yonkers city police and the Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk county police departments have directed officers not to take enforcement action in the five boroughs, fearing they could get into legal trouble.
Asked for comment on Shea’s speech, a spokeswoman for de Blasio said: “The Mayor and Commissioner are closely working together to beat back crime.”
Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens), who drafted the chokehold bill, said Shea should look in the mirror before he blames others for the department’s problems.
“It’s frightening that Commissioner Shea is part of the lunatic fringe who thinks it’s acceptable to choke or stand on a suspect, and it’s dangerous that the mayor still has his back,” Lancman said in a statement.
Lancman last week demanded that de Blasio fire Shea over the skyrocketing shootings. But de Blasio has continued to support his police commissioner, and on Tuesday called him “one of the people who made this the safest big city in America.”
During his speech at the CompStat meeting, Shea said he plans to stick around.
“No, I’m not going anywhere short term,” he told his officers. “You’re stuck with me for awhile.”
Shea also made a pitch to start holding grand jury procedures again, claiming that just 20 people — which he considered “high value targets” — are responsible for at least 100 shootings in the city in recent weeks.
“Sixteen of them have open cases right now. These 20 people touch 100 shootings,” Shea said.
“These god damn 20 people need to go to jail,” he said.