City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other city officials blasted a Hunter College women's group that booted the NYPD’s top sex and hate crimes official from a panel on sexual harassment against women in the subway system.
Deputy Chief Michael Osgood, the commander of the NYPD’s Special Victims Division and its Hate Crimes Task Force, was dumped from the panel just a day before the Dec. 5 event, which also included experts from the Manhattan Borough President’s office, the National Organization for Women, Hollaback! and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Osgood’s ouster was the result of a complaint by the Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition that the NYPD was a violent organization whose members rape women and brutalize New Yorkers, DNAinfo reported last week.
"It is unfortunate that the Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition missed an opportunity to learn something from Deputy Chief Osgood, his valuable insight and experience would have made a better informed panel discussion," Quinn said in a statement to "On the Inside."
"[Osgood] is an extraordinary public servant and has been enormously helpful to the City Council," Quinn said, adding that last year she was “proud to honor Deputy Chief Osgood and the rest of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force for their exemplary service to New York."
Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the public safety committee, said he could barely contain his anger when he read the "On the Inside" column, which appeared on the same day slain NYPD officer Peter Figoski was laid to rest.
"This group did not deserve the presence of the NYPD," Vallone said. "A hero officer, a father of four daughters, was killed protecting New Yorkers just days after these nursery school brats took this position."
Vallone said the uninviting of Osgood was "sickening," adding that the women's group "should probably just wait until the next emergency when they call 911 to speak to an officer."
The panel discussion was organized by the Manhattan Young Democrats to highlight sexual aggression on the city’s sprawling mass transit system. They argued that Osgood would have been a valuable addition to the panel and that there was a First Amendment issue raised by silencing his voice.
But the Hunter Women's Rights Coalition was unmoved and insisted Osgood be removed from the panel. They cited NYPD’s recent action at Baruch College during anti-tuition demonstrations as proof of the department’s violent nature, as well as the way police handled the Occupy Wall Street protesters. They also pointed out that two NYPD cops earlier this year were accused of raping an intoxicated woman in her East Village apartment.
Calls and emails to the Hunter Women's Rights Coalition seeking comment were not returned. Osgood also did not return calls, as did the press offices of the NYPD and Hunter College.
Ironically, Osgood would have been the only speaker with the authority to influence the deployment of police resources to combat sexual violence on the subways that was being discussed.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly placed the Special Victims Division under Osgood’s control last year, leaving him with the unique authority over the city’s five Special Victims Units and the department's Hate Crimes Task Force.