De Blasio phones NYPD after supporter’s arrest

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called police to inquire about a political ally who was arrested for two outstanding warrants but ended up avoiding a night in jail, the Wall Street Journal reports.

De Blasio, a Democrat, placed a phone call early Tuesday morning to an NYPD deputy chief on behalf of Bishop Orlando Findlayter, who heads the New Hope Christian Fellowship in Queens.

The clergyman, who is also the chairman of Churches United to Save and Heal, a group of over 100 city clergy members, was also part of a group that provided de Blasio with a crucial political endorsement last June in his race for mayor.

Findlayter was pulled over for an improper turn shortly before midnight on Monday, the day on which de Blasio gave his first State of the City address.

The clergyman had two outstanding warrants stemming from failure to appear in court last month to answer for charges for his arrest at a pro-immigration rally in October.

Following Findlayter’s Monday arrest, a local clergy council called both the NYPD and de Blasio, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Besides calling the NYPD himself, de Blasio’s staff sent emails to the police department, inquiring about Findlayter’s status.

Findlayter was released after an NYPD deputy inspector who reviewed the arrest, but required to answer to court on Tuesday.

A police department spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that officers have some discretion to release people with outstanding warrants if they pose no danger to the community.

Findlayer did not report to court on Tuesday as instructed, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In June, as a member of the group “Caribbean Clergy for Bill de Blasio,” Findlayter gave the then New York City Public Advocate a ringing endorsement.

“Bill de Blasio has proved that he is the only candidate willing to stand up for outer-borough, immigrant communities and people of color,” said Findlayter in a statement with other Caribbean clergymen.

“De Blasio’s vision for public safety will maintain our advances in crime reduction by utilizing technology and smart anti-crime tactics, but he will also mend the divisions between police and communities that cripple neighborhood safety,” continued the endorsement.

After de Blasio defeated Republican Joe Lhota in November, Findlayter was appointed to the mayoral transition team and inaugural committee.

Findlayter was also a panelist last month at a round-table immigration discussion which featured de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, as a special guest.

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