On April 28, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, D-N.Y., singled out Jewish communities for targeted enforcement of New York City’s stay-at-home order and issued a threat for summons and arrest.
The New York City mayor wrote on Twitter, “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
The threat was in response to thousands of mourners who gathered in the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a funeral following the death of a Jewish rabbi.
Prior to de Blasio’s threat, he also tweeted that he had personally visited the funeral to verify its occurrence. “Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonight,” de Blasio posted. “A large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”
Since posting the threat on Twitter, de Blasio has attempted to walk back his remarks. “If in my passion and in my emotion I said something that in any way was hurtful, I’m sorry about that. That was not my intention,” de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday. “But I also want to be clear, I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying we’re going to deal with it very, very aggressively.”
One Democrat member of the New York City Counsel blasted de Blasio’s remarks on Twitter. Councilman Kalman Yeger wrote, “Mr. Mayor, your words are unacceptable. To condemn our entire community over one group of people is something you would not do to any other ethnic group, and I know you long enough to know that you know this.”
Despite de Blasio’s threat singling out the Jewish community for gathering outside, earlier in the day hundreds of New Yorkers packed the streets to watch the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels fly over New York City to pay tribute to the healthcare workers. An article in the New York Post covering the even was titled, “NYC ignores social distancing for Blue Angels, Thunderbirds flyover.”
It’s unclear why de Blasio responded so strongly to the Jewish funeral but did not respond with the same kind of furor against those who had congregated outside to watch the military flyover.
This is not the first time Mayor de Blasio has landed in hot water during his efforts to curb the coronavirus in New York City.
On April 1, The Daily Citizen reported on de Blasio’s threat to “permanently” close churches that defied his stay-at-home order. “Our enforcement agents will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently,” de Blasio said at the time.
Additionally, on April 2 The Daily Citizen reported on de Blasio’s accusation that the nonprofit Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse would discriminate against LGBT individuals and offer “substandard care” in their field hospital set up in Central Park. Samaritan’s Purse set up the field hospitals to help New York City deal with the coronavirus and offered their services for free to the city.
Also in a recent video, de Blasio came under fire from a New Yorker who was angry at the Mayor for violating the mandatory stay-at-home order. The man was upset that de Blasio was walking in a park 11 miles from his home. “Seriously, you guys have a park. You live in the middle of a park. You don’t need to nonessentially travel to Brooklyn,” the man told de Blasio. “This is selfish behavior.”
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Photo by BICAD MEDIA