Sergeants Benevolent Association President Edward Mullins declared Rachel Noerdlinger should have stepped aside as First Lady Chirlane McCray’s chief of staff long ago–and denied Mayor Bill de Blasio’s claims that Ms. Noerdlinger was the victim of a smear campaign.
“I’m not surprised. It was a matter of time, and pretty much overdue,” Mr. Mullins, a longtime critic of Ms. Noerdlinger and Mr. de Blasio, told the Observer. “It’s been a distraction for the mayor, and with this out of the way hopefully he can move forward and govern the city.”
Ms. Noerdlinger announced this afternoon she would be taking a leave of absence from her job as chief-of-staff to First Lady Chirlane McCray to “spend more time” with her 17-year-old son Khari, who was arrested over the weekend in upper Manhattan for trespassing. She has been an increasingly controversial figure in the administration since social media posts by her recidivist ex-con boyfriend Hassaun McFarlan blasting police as “pigs” came to light earlier this year. It was later reported her son had made similar online remarks.
Mr. Mullins, who two days ago referred to the Noerdlingers as “a criminal family” while speaking to the New York Post, noted that Ms. Noerdlinger failed to properly disclose her relationship with Mr. McFarlan upon her appointment–even though a Department of Investigations probe cleared her of wrongdoing. The labor leader noted that police officers are required to divulge if they have any family relationship to a person convicted of her crime–and noted that Mr. McFarlan has been found guilty of manslaughter and drug charges, while her son has in the past been charged with grand larceny, robbery and now trespassing.
“The family does have a criminal history,” he said. “At the highest levels of government, that’s okay.”
Mr. Mullins denied he and his fellow police union leaders had unfairly opened up Ms. Noerdlinger’s personal life, arguing that her boyfriend and son were the ones truly at fault.
“I think your family should be hands-off, absolutely,” he said. “However, her family has made it very well-known that they have very ill-will feelings toward the police. And they were the ones that brought themselves into the public arena. We didn’t go out picking on her family.”
The SBA head alleged Mr. de Blasio had been “less than sensitive to the police” and accused him of coming into office on an “anti-police” platform. He also scoffed at the mayor’s suggestion that Ms. Noerdlinger was the victim of a smear campaign, noting such an allegation is inconsistent with Ms. Noerdlinger’s claim that she was taking a leave of absence to devote more time to her child.
“I think de Blasio’s being less than truthful. He’s saying she’s stepping down to take care of her son, and on the other side he’s saying it’s a smear campaign. Which one is true?” Mr. Mullins said. “Just pick one story and stick to it.”
Mr. Mullins has been an outspoken and aggressive critic of the de Blasio administration, savaging the mayor’s new no-arrest policy for small amounts of marijuana and his handling of the apparent chokehold death of Staten Islander Eric Garner at the hands of police officers earlier this year. His union is also locked in contentious contract negotiations with the mayor’s office.
The labor leader is a registered Republican and resides on Long Island, but he was quick to point out that he has backed more members of Mr. de Blasio’s party than his own.
“I’ve endorsed more Democrats than Republicans,” Mr. Mullins said.