NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea joked Monday that he might get fired by Mayor Bill de Blasio – but swatted down rumors that he was resigning from the department.
“Not imminently, but give me a few days,” said Shea with a playful grin when asked by Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto whether he thought Hizzoner might give him an ax amid unrest and calls for reform police spurred by the death of George Floyd. .
“I think we have a great relationship,” Shea continued of herself and de Blasio. “Like any good New Yorkers, we have some differing opinions at times, but we all want the same thing, and let’s work solidly together to take New York City out of this as quickly as possible.
“He [de Blasio] is a Red Sox fan. I’m my biggest gripe, as a Mets fan. “
For a second time on Monday, Shea strongly dismissed speculation that he was on his way out as a top cop, just over six months after he took the reins from former Commissioner James SoonNeill.
“Judging by my emails, I certainly have a lot of people who would like me to resign,” he told Cavuto, referring to the criticism he has received. “Let me be as definitive as I can: There is no way on Earth that I would resign, especially in this crisis.
“There is no way I would walk out on the men and women in this police department, or the people of this city during this time.”
Shea and the department as a whole have faced intense scrutiny amid protests demanding justice for Floyd, a black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis cop knelt on his neck.
De Blasio on Sunday reversed an earlier position by vowing to shift an unspecified amount of the NYPD’s funding to youth and social services, a plan which Shea again endorsed during a Fox interview.
“I probably surprised everyone,” said Shea, of his supporting the cutbacks, and their potential benefits to programs keeping kids out of trouble. “I think it’s crime-fighting, it’s just crime-fighting in a better way.
“The devil is always in the details, but when you’re talking about giving kids something to do, when you’re talking about mentoring kids … I think we’d be foolish not to spend the money on that. We will find the money. ”
Shea pushed back, however, on calls to defund the wholesale department.
“Lord help us if that ever came to pass,” he said. “If you’re having a talk about defunding the police, again, I think we need saner, calmer people to sit around the table and really talk about going on.”