NEW YORK — An NYPD officer has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation after he criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio during a traffic stop.
The officer did not know he was being recorded. A Bronx man, who wants to remain anonymous, said he was pulled over Saturday evening by the officer. The driver said the officer pulled him over for having his radio on too loud.
During the 11-second clip later posted on YouTube, the officer can be heard saying, "Mayor de Blasio wants us to give out summonses, OK? Alright? I don't know if you voted for him or not. I wouldn't have voted for him because this is what he wants, he wants us to give out summonses."
The driver told PIX11 News he was afraid to be interviewed on camera. He said he installed a surveillance camera in his vehicle because he "got tired of the cops pulling him over."
PIX11 News spoke with members of the Bronx community Monday night. Some felt the traffic stop was overreaching by the police.
"I think cop watch is a very useful tool especially in communities of color where the NYPD is over policing," Lydia Cabral said. "It's a means to monitor our public servants."
"I honestly believe if you're playing music in a car you shouldn't be pulled over that's my opinion," Argenis Rivera said.
But, Rivera added, "at the end of the day cops are people, too. They have their own opinions."
Another Bronx resident, Mildred Smith agreed. When told the officer was suspended, Smith said, "Why? He's just doing his job."
de Blasio has called for stepped-up traffic enforcement and fines under his Vision Zero initiative. The plan launched in 2014 strives to reduce traffic-related deaths in the five boroughs.
In response to the caught-on-camera incident, de Blasio's office released the following statement:
"Vision Zero is saving lives. Traffic fatalities are down 22 percent since Vision Zero started, making 2015 the safest year on city streets since recordkeeping began.
The suspended officer has not been identified.