NEW YORK (PIX11) -- She has close access to the man ultimately responsible for the security of New York, yet Rachel Noerdlinger, the chief of staff for New York City First Lady Chirlane Mcray, is in a long-term, live-in romantic relationship with a man convicted of a killing and drug dealing, who also has a history of making anti-police public statements.
It's a situation to which Mayor Bill de Blasio will not directly respond, even while the union that represents 50,000 current and former police officers is calling for Noerdlinger's resignation.
As former communications director to Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, and currently as the first lady's chief of staff, Noerdlinger has been close to New York political power for the better part of two decades.
But now, it's become public that she has been dating and sharing an apartment with Hassaun McFarlan, 36, for at least two years. DNAinfo first reported the story of Noerdlinger's relationship to McFarlan.
In 1993, when he was 15, McFarlan was convicted for fatally gunning down an 18 year-old in a dispute over a jacket. He ended up serving seven years in prison on a manslaughter conviction.
Then, in 2003, McFarlan was arrested in Massachusetts on drug trafficking charges. He was convicted, and served three years behind bars.
He has also been convicted since then for driving with a suspended license and other crimes behind the wheel, including an incident in Edgewater, New Jersey in which McFarlan drove Noerdlinger's Mercedes toward a police officer, forcing the cop to have to move out of the car's path in order to not be run over. The Mercedes was damaged, possibly in a motor vehicle accident that McFarlan had caused. He ended up paying a fine in the 2013 incident.
"[Police officers] are not allowed to associate with known criminals, whether family, friend or foe," said Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the union for New York City police officers. "We're saying, 'Hold the same standard for staff members that are at the right hand of policy makers in City Hall,'" Lynch told PIX11 News. "Now she should be fired when we find this out."
Lynch did not mince words, and members of the public are chiming in, as well, on City&State, a political reporting website and media partner of PIX11 News. On Friday, City&State placed Noerdlinger on its list of political losers for the week. Readers can vote for the biggest loser on the list of five people, and for most of the day Friday, Noerdlinger led in the voting.
"It's certainly not going to affect her job," said Nick Powell, City&State's City Hall reporter, "but it shines a bad light on her and the administration, by proxy."
None of the mayor's inner circle would comment about Noerdlinger's situation, and Mayor de Blasio and the first lady were both unavailable to media on Friday despite, in the case of the mayor, having an active public schedule.
A spokesperson for the mayor said in a statement that "no one at City Hall condones criminal behavior or disparagement of the NYPD, including Rachel. [She] is her own person. She is a strong, independent woman who possesses a core set of values and beliefs that align with this administration.”
McFarlan has also posted a number of comments on his Facebook page in which he refers to police officers as "pigs." His Facebook page has been taken down, and photos of him with Noerdlinger, 49, on her Facebook have also apparently been removed.