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
Local

Grimm choice: Tax fraud trial could dog NY…

Rep. Michael Grimm may be splitting his time between the campaign trail and a courtroom where he is due to face tax evasion charges.

Local

Met Opera, unions extend talks for 72 hours,…

Met Opera agreed to extend negotiations with its labor unions for 72 hours, preventing a threatened lockout, the organization said late Thursday.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures August 2…

Summer Streets, the NYC Triathlon, the Ecuadorian Parade and festivals will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on 'Calvary' and his very…

Brendan Gleeson discusses how "Calvary" began over drinks and how his priest character is the opposite of the officer he played in "The Guard."

Movies

Interview: Chris O'Dowd does funny and serious in…

Chris O'Dowd talks about "Calvary," an Irish comedy-drama about a priest (Brendan Gleeson) under fire.

Movies

'Alive Inside' and 'Code Black' are documentaries with…

Two new documentaries — "Alive Inside" and "Code Black" — portray different issues but suffer from the same problem.

Music

Caught a Ghost catches a soul/rap vibe

Jesse Nolan says Caught a Ghost's sound aims for two things everybody likes: soul music and '90s rap.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…