New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted on Monday, that the New York Police Department should not have towed legally parked cars to make room for a police flag football game.
The mayor’s admission comes after news broke that about 30 cars were towed away so that police officers could park their personal autos to attend the department’s game at Baker Field, the New York Daily News reported.
“Yeah, that can’t happen again. That was wrong,” de Blasio said of the incident.
“Commissioner O’Neill knows I feel strongly on this matter and that is not something we can see happen again because it undermines the faith we’re trying to build between police and community,” the mayor added.
“You know, people shouldn’t have their cars towed because someone wants to play football. I like football as much as the next guy, but that’s just not appropriate, it’s not fair, and it cannot happen again,” the mayor concluded.
The police department was excoriated for abuse of power for towing cars so that police officers could more easily find parking spaces.
However, Police Commissioner James O’Neill defended the department’s actions noting that cars were not ticketed nor were they hauled off to an impound for what he called a “special event.”
“This was the flag football championship. There were cars that — they were relocated. Nobody was towed. Nobody got a ticket,” O’Neill insisted.
O’Neill also pointed out that signs were posted warning people not to park in the area several days ahead of the event.
The towing was complicated by the fact that cars were relocated only a few hours before a snowstorm hit the Big Apple and people could not find out where their vehicles were”relocated” unless they spoke to the local district or called 311.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.