NEW YORK CITY - Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the NYPD's attempt to arrest without a warrant a Black Lives Matter protester, then championed the force for doing "a damn good job" protecting freedom of speech.
"This city, this police department, is never going to do anything to interfere with New Yorkers' right to protest," de Blasio said. "These kind of things often send the wrong message."
De Blasio applauded Commissioner Dermot Shea's decision to call off the Friday arrest of Derrick Ingram, 28 - who live-streamed officers banging on his door, sending dogs into the hallway and flying helicopters overhead - and chastised Ingram for his offense: blasting a bullhorn into an officer's ear.
"Anything that constitutes an assault on an officer, there will be consequences," de Blasio said. "The underlying offenses, they're still offenses."
The mayor assured New Yorkers a lower-level officer was responsible for the decision to besiege Ingram's Hell's Kitchen home. While he did not confirm if the sergeant or lieutenant would face disciplinary action, de Blasio said there would be "structural changes."
"That's the kind of thing that needs to be addressed structurally," de Blasio said. "I know the commissioner has put additional measures in place to make sure that kind of thing gets looked at by higher level leadership."
During his press briefing, de Blasio announced two initiatives to help New York renters facing financial straights: the Commercial Lease Assistance Program and a new tenant helpline.
The Tenant Resource Portal will help renters facing eviction and is accessible online or through 311 by requesting the "tenant helpline," de Blasio said.
But the mayor said his capacity to provide assistance was limited by lack of federal and state funding.
"There's so much more we need to see done in Washington and in Albany to protect tenants," de Blasio said. "But if you need help this is the place to go."
The second initiative is a $1.5 million investment to refund the commercial lease assistance program, provides legal representation to small businesses in disputes with their landlords, which can be reached by calling (888)-SBS-4-NYC.
New York Jobs Council, an association comprised of the city's 30 largest employers, has committed to hiring 100,000 employees by 2030, de Blasio added.
The mayor announced applications will launch this week for 100,000 spots in the city's free childcare program and fielded questions from reporters about Monday's blended learning announcement, during which he declared 74 percent of public schoolfamilies had decided to send their kids back to school.
Reporters, noting about 586,000 children had been enrolled automatically in blended learning and could opt for remote at any time, asked if it was too soon to add those kids to a list of about 131,000 students who've said they'll return.
"That is social science, that is not assumption," de Blasio said. "If the health situation is what it is now, I think you'll see what we see now."