Mayor and congressman spar over city's handling of OWS protests
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rep. Jerrold Nadler went tit-for-tat Thursday over the tactics used by the NYPD to flush out Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, with Hizzoner calling the congressman's demand for a federal probe "ridiculous."
"Most things I agree with him. I think [in] this case, that's ridiculous," Bloomberg said at an unrelated news conference Thursday.
"If he would spend more time getting us homeland security money, maybe he'd make the streets safer."
The mayor's jab at Nadler comes after he asked Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday to investigate "credible and troubling" reports of alleged police misconduct in handling demonstrators and media covering the protests.
Nadler pointed to various incidents in September and October in which officers allegedly used excessive force, including arrests made when protesters marched at the Brooklyn Bridge. The Occupy movement had its biggest blow, however, when police cleared out the Zuccotti encampment overnight on Nov. 14.
A police spokesman this week responded to the demand for a federal probe by highlighting the "professionalism" of officers, even as some were pelted with batteries and glass, or had liquid thrown at their faces.
"The Police Department did a pretty good job, given the fact that you had a lot of people," Bloomberg said of the daily tumult that had first overtaken the park in September.
In a statement Thursday, Nadler shot back at Bloomberg and defended his past ability to win federal monies.
"It is the mayor's job, I might point out, to ensure that the Police Department, under his command, obeys the laws and respects the rights of all New Yorkers," Nadler said.