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Chirlane McCray Becomes Only First Lady to Attend NYPD Crime Stats Meeting

By Murray Weiss | September 22, 2014 7:34am
 Chirlane McCray (L), Bill de Blasio (C) and Dante de Blasio (R) wave to supporters.
Chirlane McCray (L), Bill de Blasio (C) and Dante de Blasio (R) wave to supporters.
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Bill de Blasio Campaign

MANHATTAN — The city's first lady Chirlane McCray and her son, Dante de Blasio, have quietly attended NYPD Compstat meetings at which top brass grilled supervisors and detective commanders about criminal activity in their precincts, DNAinfo New York has learned.

The mayor’s wife sat through a three-hour session last Thursday at Police Headquarters where NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks and other top officials quizzed supervisors from Brooklyn South, which includes Crown Heights, Borough Park, Coney Island and Flatbush.

The first lady was joined by several aides, including her chief of staff Rachel Noerdlinger, who previously served as chief spokesperson for the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“The first lady has been wanting to learn more about policing in the city and how the NYPD is structured,” a city official told “On The Inside,” without elaborating.

McCray did not participate in the discussions or ask questions as precinct and detective bosses detailed shooting incidents, gang activities, burglary and robbery patterns and what they were doing to control crime and identify suspects.

It is believed McCray is the only first lady to attend a Compstat session since it was created 20 years ago under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has made it clear that the first lady is his closest adviser and partner, attended a Compstat meeting a month ago that brought Queens commanders to police headquarters.

Dante de Blasio, the mayor's son, has also attended a Compstat meeting — his focused on The Bronx and occurred while he was interning with Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris during the summer.

City officials would not say what impression the Compstat session had on McCray or her son. 

The timing of McCray’s appearance caught the attention of NYPD insiders since it comes in the wake of the tragic death of Eric Garner, which is being probed by a Staten Island grand jury.

Garner died while resisting arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a busy Staten Island commercial street.  The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide caused by a combination of factors, primarily a “police chokehold,” which is barred by NYPD guidelines.

The Garner death heightened concerns about de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s reliance on supporting the “Broken Windows” theory of policing, where cracking down on so-called “quality of life” offenses prevents more serious crimes.

Some observers question whether the NYPD has been too aggressive in arresting these offenders as the number of arrests in the Big Apple has reached record numbers even as overall crime has hit record lows.

And the Compstat system itself has come under fire from some people inside and outside the NYPD. They say numbers-driven brass put excessive pressure on commanders to make arrests and stop-and-frisks.

Bratton has vowed to end overly aggressive policing practices.

Overall crime in Brooklyn South is down 4.57 percent through Sept. 7, but shootings are up 6.7 percent. By comparison, serious crime citywide is down 3.57 percent through the same period, with shootings up 6.8 percent.

A police official also pointed out that numerous officials have attended Compstat sessions as guests over the years, including foreign dignitaries.