When New York City’s police sought help to protect themselves in the early days of the city’s COVID-19 crisis, its health commissioner denigrated the NYPD in rejecting the request, according to a published report.
According to the New York Post, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan asked Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot for 500,000 surgical masks for the rank and file. The request took place during a late March phone call, the Post said, attributing the information to sources it did not name
Monahan asked for 500,000 masks; Barbot reportedly said she could give the police 50,000 masks.
“I don’t give two rats’ a—s about your cops,” Barbot said, according to the Post’s sources. “I need them for others.”
Although the NYPD did not offer an official comment, Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said Barbot must be fired over her “despicable and unforgivable” comments.
“Dr. Barbot should be forced to look in the eye of every police family who lost a hero to this virus. Look them in the eye and tell them they aren’t worth a rat’s a–,” Lynch said.
Department of Health press secretary Patrick Gallahue tried to downplay the incident.
“During the height of COVID, while our hospitals were battling to keep patients alive, there was a heated exchange between the two where things were said out of frustration but no harm was wished on anyone,” he said in a statement.
“The Commissioner apologized for her contribution to the exchange, the apology was accepted and agreement was arrived between the two to ensure that respirators were delivered to members of the force. This has always been about saving the lives of our healthcare workers, police officers and every New Yorker who is fighting through this pandemic,” the Health Department statement added, according to WNBC.
However, the Detective’s Endowment Association slammed Barbot.
“A so-called city leader, Dr. Barbot showed her true colors as a cop-hater. Five brave NYPD Detectives died as the DEA searched for protective equipment to purchase for our members while we waited for the city to distribute masks,” the group’s statement said. “Dr. Oxiris Barbot’s shameful behavior likely contributed to the further spread of this deadly virus. She has brought great shame to New York City government and every medical professional who is courageously fighting the Coronavirus pandemic alongside our cops.”
“The DEA is calling on @NYCMayor de Blasio to immediately fire Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot for not only her despicable remarks, but for endangering our men and women in blue who are tirelessly protecting New Yorkers during this pandemic… https://t.co/i5Px84dGJ0
— Detectives’ Endowment Association (@NYCPDDEA) May 14, 2020
Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said he was “not surprised by such vile words coming from an appointee of Mayor de Blasio, whose disdain for law enforcement is legendary.”
“[H]er attitude places police officers in great jeopardy and makes her unfit for the job,” he said, according to WNBC.
This kind of attitude explains so much about City Hall’s overall response to this crisis.
— Max Rose (@MaxRose4NY) May 14, 2020
The Post reported that police were able to get about 250,000 masks from the Health Department, which had them in storage in a New Jersey warehouse.
Through Wednesday, the NYPD recorded 5,490 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 41 deaths.
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