De Blasio fends off critics after police release Orlando Findlayter, political ally

de blasio Orlando Findlayter
Mayor Bill de Blasio, right, with his daughter Chiara, center, and Bishop Orlando Findlayter, left, at a campaign event last year. On Thursday, de Blasio defended a phone call he placed to police after Findlayter was arrested earlier this week.
Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Mayor Bill de Blasio defended a phone call he placed to police after an ally was arrested earlier this week.

The campaign supporter, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, was pulled over Monday night after making a left turn without signaling, police said.

He was spared a night in jail despite two outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court after prior arrests at protests.

The mayor received a report of the arrest from a staff member, prompting him to call NYPD deputy chief Kim Royster, who later informed him “the situation had been settled,” de Blasio said Thursday.

The mayor said the decision to release Findlayter, who would have otherwise spent a night in jail because the arrest was too late for him to be arraigned, was up to the local precinct commander.

He said the NYPD handled release “100 percent appropriately.”

De Blasio would not say if he had made similar calls previously or if similar calls would be made in the future, referring to the situation as “unusual.”

“A case-by-case basis literally means that. It’s a case-by-case basis,” de Blasio said.

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY said in a statement that the call set a “terrible precedent.”

“It is inappropriate for the Mayor to exercise favoritism, regardless of the Pastor’s prominence,” Lerner said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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