Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by New York City’s health commissioner over the weekend after police unions called for her firing once reports emerged that she gave an emphatic rejection when the NYPD sought more face masks for officers.
“We’re going to move forward together,” the mayor said Sunday, adding he has “a lot of respect for Barbot,” and that she would remain in her role.
“During the height of COVID, while our hospitals were battling to keep patients alive, there was a heated exchange between the two where things were said out of frustration but no harm was wished on anyone,” a statement from the Health Department said. “The Commissioner apologized for her contribution to the exchange, the apology was accepted and agreement was arrived between the two to ensure that respirators were delivered to members of the force. This has always been about saving the lives of our healthcare workers, police officers and every New Yorker who is fighting through this pandemic.”
“A so-called city leader, Dr. Barbot showed her true colors as a cop-hater. Five brave NYPD Detectives died as the DEA searched for protective equipment to purchase for our members while we waited for the city to distribute masks,” a union statement read. “Dr. Oxiris Barbot’s shameful behavior likely contributed to the further spread of this deadly virus. She has brought great shame to New York City government and every medical professional who is courageously fighting the Coronavirus pandemic alongside our cops.”
The Sergeants Benevolent Association used even stronger language on Twitter, saying “Truth is this (expletive deleted) has blood on her hands but why should anyone be surprised the NYPD has suffered under DeBlasio since he became Mayor.”
SBA President Ed Mullins said that he was “not surprised by such vile words coming from an appointee of Mayor de Blasio, whose disdain for law enforcement is legendary … her attitude places police officers in great jeopardy and makes her unfit for the job.”
De Blasio nodded at the SBA’s language in particular in responding to questions about the confrontation.
“I have not seen all the comments from different unions, and I want to caution that if people are concerned about this issue they need to express their concern in an appropriate manner, and two wrongs don’t make a right,” De Blasio said, adding the SBA’s language was misogynist and unacceptable.