In a speech to top NYPD commanders, Commissioner Dermot Shea gave a pointed defense of his police department, and lashed out at the New Yorkers who have pushed for police reform over the past several months.
"We're not giving this goddamn city back to criminals. We're not," Shea said in a Compstat meeting, according to video obtained by the Daily News. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a period like this where so many systems of government are literally cowards who won’t stand up for what’s right. They’re failing at every possible measure to be leaders and they throw it on the backs of the men and women of this police department. And curse them with one hand and then blame them with the other. How dare they."
He added, "They have screwed this city up so much in a short period of time, it's gonna take some time to get our arms around it."
Shea's remarks are part of a pattern of increasingly belligerent comments attacking measures designed to increase police transparency and accountability. During the protests that roiled the city following the police killing of George Floyd, Shea and his commanders spread disinformation about protesters receiving shipments of bricks, and others who allegedly carried gasoline and a firearm to a protest (those allegations were later found to be false).
Later, Shea and his commanders sought to blame an uptick in shootings and violent crime on police reforms and public health measures taken during the pandemic, but their own data contradicted these claims.
In his speech, Shea told his commanders it was his job to "tell that 1 percent of fringe lunatics that this is our city." He seemed less troubled about the City Council budget that reallocated department resources than what it meant for the police department in the future.
"We have a lot of resources. It's going to get worse with the resources, we're not there yet, well maybe we're starting to with the overtime. But we still have the cops we still have the resources. Short term, we're OK, longer term we're gonna have to fight to get our cops back."
The commissioner insisted that his department did not need any large-scale reform.
"There's things that we gotta clean up in our own shop too. Small things," Shea said. "I will 100 percent have the cops back. I'm gonna call them out when they're wrong, I'm gonna hold them accountable, but we know what our cops are dealing with today."
Shea also opposed the bill signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week banning chokeholds.
We asked the NYPD's press shop who Commissioner Shea was referring to when he spoke of "cowards," but haven't received a response.
“As shown in their hour-long press conference together on Friday, the Mayor and Commissioner are closely working together to beat back crime," mayoral spokesperson Julia Arredondo wrote in an email.