MANHATTAN — Mayor Bill de Blasio threw his full support behind one of his top advisors Friday afternoon, responding to a DNAinfo New York story reporting that she lives with her ex-con boyfriend who calls police officers "pigs."
"I have full faith in her," de Blasio said of Rachel Noerdlinger, his wife's chief of staff who has attended top-level NYPD meetings.
"I know what I value and she values the same things,” he told reporters at City Hall. “We don’t care what someone’s boyfriend says. We care what the public servant is about, as she is very dedicated to working to bring police and community together and that’s what we care about.”
DNAinfo reported on Thursday that Noerdlinger, the chief of staff to de Blasio's wife, dates Hassaun McFarlan, a convicted drug trafficker and killer whose most recent run-in with the law happened late last year when he nearly ran down a New Jersey police officer with her car.
McFarlan, 36, has also bashed police officers in Facebook rants.
“I cant come outside without the pigs f------ with me in the hood out the hood im a magnet to police f------ with me,” he wrote in a March 15, 2012, post.
He and Noerdlinger have been an item since at least 2010, and police and public records show the two live together in Edgewater, N.J.
Two police union heads said Friday that they were extremely alarmed by the revelation.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said Noerdlinger's relationship with McFarlan raises "serious concern because her position gives her access to critical information about police plans and strategies."
"It raises serious questions about her judgment and character and the quality of the counsel she provides to City Hall," he said in a statement. "The safety and security of our police officers and the public is far too important to risk with someone who is so closely associated with a known convicted criminal with such hateful opinions. She should not be in that position.”
As chief of staff to de Blasio's wife, Noerdlinger sits in on the mayor's daily cabinet briefings. She and first lady Chirlane McCray have also attended an NYPD Compstat meeting, where police brass comb over crime trends precinct by precinct.
A City Hall spokeswoman defended Nordlinger Thursday.
“No one at City Hall condones criminal behavior or disparagement of the NYPD, including Rachel," said de Blasio spokeswoman Rebecca Katz. "Rachel is her own person. She is a strong, independent woman who possesses a core set of values and beliefs that align with this administration.”
Louis Turco, the president of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, said in a statement that he was disconcerted to learn that Noerdlinger, a former aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton, "has an open relationship with a convicted felon who has complete animosity and disdain for all law enforcement."
"Miss Noerdlinger is in a position where she exercises incredible influence within the de Blasio administration," he said. "It is even more disturbing when Miss Noerdlinger is described by Mayor de Blasio’s spokesperson as being a 'woman who possesses a core set of values and beliefs that align with this administration.' Such a relationship can easily be interpreted as a cohesive group of people that are unashamedly anti-law enforcement. Is this really the message the de Blasio administration is trying to perpetuate?"
De Blasio's relationship with police unions has been tested since Eric Garner, a black Staten Island resident, died in July in police custody after being placed in an apparent chokehold. Sharpton and other civil rights advocates have said that Garner's race played a role in his arrest and death — a charge that police unions have denied.
Court and police records show that when McFarlan was 16, he pleaded guilty to the fatal shooting of another teen in the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem. He served six years in prison and was released in 2000. He was arrested in New Bedford, Mass., in 2003 after police accused him of being part of an interstate crack ring.
He eventually pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, drug possesion and a conspiracy charge. He was released in 2007.
Since then, he has been arrested at least three times. The most recent occurred in November 2013, when he was arrested on a charge of eluding a police officer. In March 2014 he pleaded gulity to an amended charge of disorderly conduct.