Bill de Blasio: New York Mayor misused security detail and NYPD covered it up, report says

Investigators say NYPD official in charge of detail sought to ‘destroy his NYPD-issued phone after he was informed that he must surrender it’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 07 October 2021 18:32
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Investigators have found that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio misused his security detail for personal and political use and that the NYPD covered it up.

A report released on Thursday reveals that the NYPD official overseeing the detail obstructed the investigation into the reported ill-usage.

The investigation, measuring 47 pages, was released almost two years after allegations first surfaced that Mr de Blasio used his security detail to take his son to college in Connecticut, as well as other reports of misuse.

City Hall pushed back on the report, arguing that it was “inaccurate”, “unprofessional”, and “naive”, as well as claiming that it was based on “illegitimate assumptions”.

The report by the city’s inspector general found that the detail from the NYPD Intelligence Bureau’s Executive Protection Unit (EPU) was improperly employed for his children’s personal use or for political reasons during his short-lived 2020 presidential campaign between May and September 2019.

The report states that there were “numerous instances when EPU members transported mayoral staffers to various locations, including to their homes, and assisted them in running errands for the Mayor”.

There were also “several instances when the security detail was asked to transport guests of the Mayor, at his direction, without him present in the vehicle”, the report says.

The city racked up $319,794 in expenses, according to investigators, for the detail’s travel during Mr de Blasio’s presidential campaign – funds that have not been reimbursed.

“EPU members occasionally transported Mayor de Blasio’s campaign staffers while driving the Mayor. Both reflect a use of NYPD resources for political purposes,” the report says.

“The security detail has been conducting frequent security checks at houses owned by the Mayor in Brooklyn, where neither he nor his family members currently reside,” investigators added.

“In addition to the misuse of EPU staff and resources, DOI’s investigation identified several vulnerabilities in the EPU’s policies and procedures,” the city’s Department of Investigation said.

The report adds that the NYPD official managing the detail, Inspector Howard Redmond, “actively obstructed and sought to thwart” the investigation into the allegations of misuse.

“Inspector Redmond sought to obstruct this investigation by refusing to provide his City-Hall-issued phone for production, deliberately seeking to destroy his NYPD-issued phone after he was informed that he must surrender it for production to DOI, and deleting all communications from both phones before they could be provided to DOI,” the report said.

“These actions are a continuation of his conduct during his sworn DOI interview, in which he demonstrated a lack of candour, repeatedly claimed he could not recall the facts around matters under his direct supervision, and gave multiple answers that were not credible in light of the objective evidence and the sworn statements of other witnesses,” the report added.

The allegations that prompted the investigation started in 2019 when NBC New York reported that law enforcement officials were alleging that Mr de Blasio had his detail drive his son to Yale on several occasions.

NBC reported at the time that on some of those occasions, the mayor himself was not there for the ride and that in some instances, there was no specific threat to Mr de Blasio’s child. The investigation also reported that NYPD staff at one point moved a futon for the mayor’s daughter.

The mayor’s office said that Mr de Blasio “did not order members of his security detail to do anything for his children” and they rejected the results of the investigation as inaccurate.

In a statement to The Independent, the mayor’s press secretary Danielle Filson said: “Intelligence and security experts should decide how to keep the mayor and his family safe, not civilian investigators. This unprofessional report purports to do the NYPD’s job for them, but with none of the relevant expertise – and without even interviewing the official who heads intelligence for the City.”

“As a result, we are left with an inaccurate report, based on illegitimate assumptions and a naïve view of the complex security challenges facing elected officials today,” she added.

Mr de Blasio pushed back on the report during a press briefing on Thursday, saying it contained “many, many, inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and argued that the use of the detail was necessary amid a higher threat level.

When The Independent reached out to the NYPD, they referred to statements made during the briefing by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller who said that he had recorded 308 separate threats against Mr de Blasio, including 33 threats against his family.

“We take the protection of the mayor and the mayor’s family seriously,” he said.

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