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Queens Council Member Calls for Mayor to Fire Police Commissioner Shea

CM Rory Lancman and Dermot Shea (NYC Council and Mayors Office)

July 7, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Council Member Rory Lancman has called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fire Police Commissioner Dermot Shea for blaming the recent surge in violent crime on criminal justice reforms and measures that aim to combat police brutality.

Lancman, who represents the 24th Council District in central Queens, said that Shea’s statements are an admission of failure and a complete surrender to lawlessness.

The councilman penned a letter July 6 to the mayor calling for Shea to be sacked.

Lancman took exception to comments by Shea, where the commissioner attributed the recent surge in violent crime to bail reform, the reduction of inmates at Rikers Island and legislation banning chokeholds. Shea also said that police were short on resources to do their job effectively.

“Look at the Rikers population over the last year… ask a sane person, it’s about half,” Shea told NY1 Monday.

“And where is that other half right now? We’ve transplanted the general population to the streets of New York City and it’s extremely frustrating,” he said.

Shea said that a council bill that will ban methods of restraint–like chokeholds and kneeling on a suspect’s back–is preventing cops from doing their jobs effectively.

“We have to change that diaphragm [chokehold] bill that came out of the city council, it is insane and it is crippling police officers,” Shea said.

Lancman refuted the commissioner’s claims and said that those laws were drafted to protect residents from police brutality and a biased criminal justice system.

Lancman also said that it made no sense for Shea to blame the city council’s chokehold bill since it has yet to become law.

The council bill, which was introduced by Lancman and passed by the council June 18, will make it a criminal offense for cops to use chokeholds in all situations. It goes further than state legislation – which was signed by the governor last month – by also banning cops from sitting, kneeling or standing on a suspect’s chest and back during an arrest.

“Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s blaming a violent weekend on no longer jailing people too poor to pay bail and on officers soon no longer being allowed to choke suspects with impunity is a stunning admission of failure and a complete surrender to lawlessness,” Lancman wrote in the letter.

“If he won’t resign, you need to fire him and appoint a Commissioner and a senior police leadership committed to, and capable of, obeying civilian authority and enforcing the law,” he wrote.

Lancman’s letter came after a weekend of bloodshed on New York City streets that saw 63 people shot from Friday, July 3 to Sunday, July 5 resulting in 10 fatalities, according to the NYPD. There was also one fatal stabbing.

Over the same three-day period last year there were 21 people shot and 6 murders, police said.

However, de Blasio has ignored Lancman’s appeal for Shea’s firing and said today that he is sticking with the NYPD’s leadership. The mayor said that the police department has taken steps to improve and said that the recent uptick in crime was an aberration due to multiple factors.

“The answer is no,” the mayor said at a press briefing when a reporter referred to Lancman’s letter and whether Shea should be fired.

“This is now a majority people of color police department… a police department that has reduced arrests intensely, got rid of stop-and-frisk… and reduced the amount of arrests to the tune of hundreds of thousands while keeping the city safe,” he said.

Queens Council member Robert Holden also rejected Lancman’s calls to remove Shea.

Holden said that some elected officials are determined to bring the city back to the “bad old days.”

“We should listen to veteran law enforcement experts like Commissioner Shea, not call for their removal because they disagree with bad legislation that will make us all less safe,” Holden told the Queens Post.

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16 Comments

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Police Academy.. Special Edition

Big Cop Little Cop

Disclaimer: this has not been edited
For perfection, whose got that much time on their hands??

Can you imagine Rory and JVB playing cop for a day and pretend they encountered that peaceful criminal who
Murdered the 17 year old high school graduate from the Bronx.

Rory: There’s the suspect we better try and arrest him.
JVB: let’s do it. I’ll ask him nicely if he will give us permission to cuff him
Since he is a nice murderer.
Rory: I concur, I think he’s very respectful.
JVB: hey murder suspect, yes u,stop,
We need to arrest you
Suspect: WTF man, I’m not cooperating.
Rory: that’s not very nice Jimmy, what should we do, he’s got a gun pointing at us, we are not supposed to taze or shoot or even choke him
JVB: how about I tickle him and You Rory will
Use your big well fed body to hold him down ever so gently.

However, Suspect fires towards our very brave but totally clueless councilors, they both start to turn and run as they are now very scared.

JVB: Rory, lets never speak of this ever again
Rory: agreed, no one must know what Big and in your case, little chicken we really are.
JVB: Jesus, this playing cops is much harder than I thought
Rory : agreed, I might have to rethink the no chokehold ban I sponsored,
I really thought all these nice murderers and criminals would just obey our orders
Since we were so nice to them
JVB: me to, how could we be so wrong.
Rory: Jimmy is that tears in your eyes
JVB: I ’m just a bit upset cause I thought that was a really nice murderer and criminal
Rory: me too, how about we just go back to our easy life of telling everybody else what they should and shouldn’t do
And collect our $140k plus a year
JVB: Rory I couldn’t agree more

Note; No useless politicians were harmed in the making of this skit

To be continued …. or not!

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Reggie

This isn’t about chokeholds. If the NYC Department of Corrections banned chokeholds, and you can’t figure out how to restrain a person under arrest without choking him/her, then you probably shouldn’t be a cop.

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#dumpdeblasio

Thank goodness for term limits. The people will get rid of the whiny out of touch Lancman, who has his own security, but not fast enough as far as I am concerned. Remarkable how liberal politicians seem to have warm cozy feelings towards criminals while the rest of us live in fear.

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BKS40

I would like to preface my comments by stating that I am a left of center Democrat that supports BLM and some form of police reform.
I grew up in Sunnyside during the 70’s and 80’s, as did Commissioner Shea and his brother James ( Director of Public Safety in Jersey City) and vividly remember the sense of lawlessness. At that time Sunnyside was a tough working class neighborhood but not nearly as dangerous as other parts of the city, yet there was a feeling that you could be a victim of violence at anytime anywhere. No one wants to go back to living like that.
I will admit that Commissioner Shea comes off a little whiny. Blaming a law that has not gone into effect undermines his argument somewhat but the idea of going too far in our quest to make the NYPD more accountable to the community can have dire consequences.
Shifting funding away from the NYPD to agencies that may be better equipped to handle certain situations is a no brainer. Police chiefs across the nation have complained for years that the police are often times called to deal with situations that would be better handled by others. All city agencies are going to take a hit to their budgets due to Covid-19 but we must guard against making the NYPD ineffective as those most affected would be people of color living in high crime economically challenged neighborhoods.

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Shelia

The NYPD needs to respect the community. No mother should have to worry about her child getting hurt or killed during an arrest. We are all innocent until proven guilty.

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Patrick

Sheila: you are ignorant. At one time there were 2,000 murders per year in NYC. Guess who were most of the people being murdered? Hint, not white people. Most of the murders were in minority communities. Last year under 400 people were murdered. Guess who’s lives were saved. Hint not white people. The NYPD has it faults. Excessive force, racism and probably corruption. That has to be dealt with. Oh and guess what? The majority of the NYPD is minority.

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Carbie Barbie

Totally agree. NYC should do a Full Camden: Fire all the cops and make them reapply for their jobs, reimagine & redesign what public safety means from the bottom up. The NYPD should budget should be slashed and policing needs a root-and-branch overhaul.

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Roberto

I agree and when they fire them just let me know your address so I can call in and discuss the situation with you.

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Carbie Barbie

“Fire all the cops and make them reapply for their jobs, reimagine & redesign what public safety means from the bottom up”

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Guest

Seriously, we are fewer cops in the area than even before the increased number of questionable characters began roaming in Sunnyside.

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John

It’s time for decent people in this city to stand up to these liberal frauds that are going to destroy the city.

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Patrick

Lanceman is a gutless phony liberal and a fraud like the black lives matter movement. Fraud.

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My life matters too

Speaking the truth in a time of great deceit can get you fired and much worse.

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Dave

This just goes to show how out of touch the once great Democrat party have become.Does lancman understand that Sheas directives come from deblasio .

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