Police unions call for ouster of NYC health commissioner

Several unions that represent police officers are asking the mayor to fire Dr. Oxiris Barbot after comments she made about the NYPD during a heated exchange with Chief of Department Terence Monahan at the height of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Dr. Barbot, who regularly appears with Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily coronavirus briefings, reportedly told Monahan: "I don't give two rats' asses about your cops," after he requested 500,000 surgical masks for the NYPD, reported the NY Post. The exchange occurred during a brief phone conversation in late March.

Barbot reportedly said she could only provide 50,000. "I need them for others," added Barbot. The city eventually gave the NYPD 250,000 surgical masks.

No officers had died when the exchange occurred but the number of officers calling out sick had risen.


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"If what is being reported is accurate, the commissioner needs to apologize to the men and women of the NYPD unquestionably," said de Blasio during his briefing Thursday.

The Detectives' Endowment Association, the Police Benevolent Association and the NYC Sergeants Benevolent Association want Barbot out.

"The Detectives' Endowment Association is calling on Mayor de Blasio to immediately fire Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot for not only her despicable remarks but for endangering our men and women in blue who are tirelessly protecting New Yorkers during this pandemic," said Detectives' Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo. 

The health department did not deny Dr. Barbot made the comment. 

"Dr. Barbot and Chief Monahan have a good working relationship. During the height of COVID, while our hospitals were battling to keep patients alive, there was a heated exchange between the two where things were said out of frustration but no harm was wished on anyone. The Commissioner apologized for her contribution to the exchange, the apology was accepted and an agreement was arrived between the two to ensure that respirators were delivered to members of the force. This has always been about saving the lives of our healthcare workers, police officers, and every New Yorker who is fighting through this pandemic."

The NYPD declined to respond to the report.

Barbot was named the city's health commissioner in 2018.