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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Friday, May 15, 2020
NYC’s COP-BASHING Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot has GOT TO GO
NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot William Farrington
In these extraordinary and scary times, we need our cops. Now more than ever.
It should go without saying, but say it I must. The men and women in blue risk their lives and their health every day, daring to leave their own homes and hit the streets of New York City when so many of us won’t. The overwhelming majority perform their herculean jobs with kindness and grace.
In return, they ask for almost nothing — perhaps just a modicum of respect — as they selflessly march to the front lines of this global pandemic, unsure if they’ll ever return to their families alive.
It’s all part of the job.
And then comes the city’s commissioner of health and mental hygiene, blasting the cops ferociously. Denying their humanity. Callously wishing them sickness and pain. Or worse.
These words should by now be imprinted on every decent New Yorker’s soul: “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”
Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the health commissioner, spat this ugly statement in a brief phone chat with NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan in late March. She unleashed the vicious rant after Monahan urgently requested 500,000 face masks to help shield his troops from coronavirus, as well as to help prevent members of the public from catching it, sources told The Post exclusively.
But the phrase she hissed next shakes me to the core.
“I need them for others,” she said. Yes, Barbot ranked the living beings she believed were most deserving of potentially health-saving protection. And in her mind, police rated dead last, along with vermin.
A health department spokesman attempted to shrug this off, saying that during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, “there was a heated exchange” between the chief of department and the health honcho “where things were said out of frustration but no harm was wished on anyone.”
Barbot, he insisted, “apologized for her contribution to the exchange.”
Contribution? More like a curse.
In the end, the doc agreed to provide just 50,000 surgical masks to a force that numbers 55,000 cops and civilian workers. Unsurprisingly, as of Wednesday evening, these heroes and heroines suffered 5,490 cases of COVID-19, and 41 virus-related deaths.
Now Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose time in office has been poisoned by his own repeated, infuriating condemnations of cops, needs to step up and play a real leader. Show us you care about not just the police, but about the welfare of the ordinary people of this city. Fire the health commish — now.
Show us you give a damn about anyone other than yourself.
“Dr. Barbot showed her true colors as a cop-hater,” said Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.
“Five brave NYPD detectives died as [cops] searched for protective equipment to purchase while we waited for the city to distribute masks,” the union chief added. “Dr. Oxiris Barbot’s shameful behavior likely contributed to the further spread of this deadly virus. She has brought great shame to New York City government and every medical professional who is courageously fighting the coronavirus pandemic alongside our cops.”
On Friday, city lawmakers are to get a shot at grilling the bad doc, who’s scheduled to answer questions about the city’s contact tracing program at an oversight hearing — if she even shows up. The mayor has shifted the program from Barbot’s agency to be run by the NYC Health + Hospitals system (I wonder why?), and I urge officials to use the opportunity wisely, and demand she’s forced to resign, or bounced from our midst.
There is no place in city government for an unabashed cop-despiser. Especially in these awful days, when folks are struggling for their lives.