Lhota slammed after calling Port Authority police ‘mall cops’

(Emily Anne Epstein/Metro)
Credit: Emily Anne Epstein/Metro

Former MTA chairman and mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota is under fire for comparing Port Authority police to “mall cops” at a forum Tuesday night.

Lhota was asked a question about improving airport security when he began to express his reservations about the quality of Port Authority police officers, the New York Times reports.

“Quite honestly, and I know I will get in trouble for saying this, they are nothing more than mall cops,” Mr. Lhota said at Pace University in Lower Manhattan.

Lhota issued an apology Wednesday morning, but his comments had already sparked anger among police groups.

“I’ve had 9/11 widows call me this morning,” Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, told the Times on Wednesday. “They are not pleased at all.”

Thirty-seven Port Authority officers died at the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

PBA spokesman Patrick J. Lynch said, “New York City police officers have worked side by side with Port Authority police officers for many years, and we have found them to be well-trained and highly experienced professional police officers.”

The comment comes as a surprise. The mayoral candidate is the son of a New York City police lieutenant, and as a former deputy mayor of operations, Lhota suffered from health complications after he, too, rushed to the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11.

“I regret my unfortunate characterization of the Port Authority Police Department,” Lhota said in his apology. “It was an inappropriate answer that does not accurately reflect the hard work of its officers.”

But his apology may be too little, too late.

“I don’t think he has a chance to be mayor of New York City, and I would certainly be out there campaigning against him if he ever got close,” Nunziato said.

Rival Republican mayoral contender John Catsimatidis quickly took advantage of the blunder and issued the following statement: “It’s sad that the son of an NYPD lieutenant would take verbal shots at the Port Authority police or any law enforcement organization. As mayor, I would support law enforcement, not knock it down.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…