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NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot apologizes for NYPD comments

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Embattled New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot apologized Monday for arguing with a top NYPD official over a request by cops for more face masks and other personal protective equipment early in the coronavirus pandemic.

Barbot's apology came after she reportedly told Chief of Department Terence Monahan in March that she didn’t “give two rats’  asses about your cops” when the chief put in a request for masks and other PPE. 

After the remarks attributed to Barbot leaked out last week, demand for her firing or resignation came from police union officials, notably Sergeants Benevolent Association president Edward Mullins and Police Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch.

Barbot, who was noticeably absent last week from some of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily updates on the pandemic, issued an eight-line statement Monday in which she acknowledged that the conversation “regrettably led to an argument in which words were exchanged between a police official and myself."

Barbot said she “apologized to that police official then and today,” and also “apologized to the NYPD for leaving any impression whatsoever that I don’t have utmost respect for our police department.”

The argument occurred when the NYPD made a request for a half-million N-95 masks as well as other PPE, Barbot said.

In a telephone interview, Mullins expressed “disappointment” that Barbot wasn’t fired, adding that he questioned her sincerity.

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He said that in the early days of the pandemic, cops were frantic to get enough PPE. Eventually, the supply chain opened up and there is now enough equipment for city police officers, Mullins said.

A spokesman for the PBA didn’t return a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the NYPD said the department would have no comment.

On Sunday, de Blasio said he had spoken with Barbot “to clear the air on some of the recent issues” and she would remain in the role she has held since 2018.
“We’re going to move forward together,“ the mayor said.

With AP 

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