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OpinionColumnistsLeonard Levitt

Bill de Blasio makes news, but 'no big deal' to Commissioner Bill Bratton

New York Police Police Commissioner William Bratton shakes

New York Police Police Commissioner William Bratton shakes the hand of Mayor Bill de Blasio at a swearing in ceremony for new NYPD recruits at Queens College on Jan. 9, 2014. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said last week that he "was not overly concerned" by what he saw after Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed to his NYPD security detail when it was caught speeding and blowing through a couple of stop signs in Queens by a WCBS-TV camera crew.

It was the second embarrassing incident involving de Blasio and the NYPD this month. Two weeks ago, de Blasio contacted a deputy chief without Bratton's knowledge to inquire about the arrest of a political supporter, Bishop Orlando Findlayter. Bratton called de Blasio's call to the deputy chief instead of to him: "No big deal." When the deputy chief inquired, the bishop had already been released, police said.

Just as police spokesman Steve Davis said the department would not question the decision by 67th Precinct commander Kenneth Lehr to release the bishop, Bratton said he would not question the police officer assigned to drive de Blasio.

The media, however, citing a speech by de Blasio on Feb. 18 earlier that detailed a city-wide initiative to rein in traffic fatalities, went wild.

Going especially wild was Fox News' Greg Kelly, who cited de Blasio's "hypocrisy" in having just made traffic safety an issue.

Nowhere did Greg mention that he is the son of former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whom de Blasio fired.

But driving wildly seems to be standard operating procedure for some of the city's biggest officials.

Back in 2004, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen was caught speeding up the West Side Highway, lights and sirens blazing, by none other than Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg notified the police.

Paul Browne, who succeeded O'Looney as Kelly's spokesman and is known to readers of this column as "Mr. Truth," said then that Cohen's speeding was authorized.


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