It’s good to be friends with the mayor of New York City. Soon after police arrested Brooklyn pastor and prominent de Blasio supporter Orlando Findlayter on Monday for two outstanding arrest warrants, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the NYPD’s press office to inquire about Findlayter’s status. According to Pervaiz Shallwani of the Wall Street Journal, the pastor was allowed to go home.
It’s not yet clear what exactly de Blasio said to the NYPD press office, which confirmed the mayor’s call to the Journal and other outlets. (A spokesperson denies that he asked for the clergyman’s release.) Still, why is the Mayor of New York City personally calling the police when one of his friends is arrested? Was one of his many aides not available to place a phone call?
After all, the mayor doesn’t and can’t call the police about every arrestee. And it’s obvious that he owes a lot to Findlayter, a prominent church leader whose June endorsement, as the mayor was trailing far behind Christine Quinn, boosted de Blasio’s support in the city’s black community. De Blasio later appointed Findlayter to his inaugural committee.
Police initially pulled over Findlayter’s sedan in East Flatbush after the pastor performed a left turn without signaling properly. The arresting officers later discovered that Findlayter failed to appear in court after being arrested at an October 29 immigration reform protest in the West Village. (He also failed to pay the required fine.)
In an unusual move, the nearest precinct’s deputy inspector, Kenneth C. Lehr, allowed Findlayter to go home instead of sitting in jail until Brooklyn’s arraignment court opened the next morning. Both police and the mayor’s office say Lehr intervened at his own discretion—not the mayor’s—because Lehr did not consider Findlayter a threat to the community.
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