Questions surrounding the release of Bishop Orlando Findlayter after an East Flatbush traffic stop are nagging at Mayor Bill de Blasio like a rock he can’t get out of his shoe.
He needs to resolve this imbroglio and move on.
Unfortunately, he’s doing the opposite. By appearing to stonewall requests for details about his role in the incident — filed under the state Freedom of Information Law — the mayor is raising a flurry of new questions.
What we know is this: When the bishop, a prominent figure in Brooklyn, was taken into custody on Feb. 10, de Blasio called the NYPD deputy chief of public information.
De Blasio says he only asked about the bishop’s status and never suggested special treatment for him. The NYPD officially backs him up on that.
But the story doesn’t end there.
The NYPD says it initially took Findlayter into custody because — in addition to turning left without signaling — he was driving with expired insurance and had failed to show up in court to answer a civil-disobedience charge.
So the bishop could have faced a night in jail.
Yet at some point that evening, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct, who also knows Findlayter, ordered him released.
Did de Blasio’s call play a role in the decision to free Findlayter? Or — as the official story goes — did the mayor and the commander act independently?
Two media companies — the Capital New York website and the New York Observer — have filed FOIL requests for records relating to the Findlayter stop.
The mayor’s office told Capital New York it could find no record of email or written correspondence between City Hall staffers and the NYPD. It told the Observer that no emails were sent between the mayor’s staff and the NYPD related to the bishop’s stop.
News coverage at the time indicates email was sent. The longer this flap continues, the more questionable de Blasio’s position seems. If he’s innocent of meddling in the case, he should be able to explain what happened in detail.