June 01, 2020
The Sergeants Benevolent Association posted a police report on the arrest of Chiara de Blasio during a protest on Saturday night.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he did not know of the arrest of his daughter, Chiara, left, until he was notified by a reporter. Credit…Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
By Dana Rubinstein and Jeffery C. Mays | The New York Times
Among the hundreds of protesters arrested over the four days of demonstrations in New York City over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, only one was highlighted by name by a police union known for its hostility toward Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The name of that protester? Chiara de Blasio, the mayor’s daughter.
The union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, used Twitter to post a police report documenting the arrest on Saturday night of Ms. de Blasio, 25.
The Police Department does not normally release internal police reports, and Ms. de Blasio’s contained personal details, including her height, weight, address, date of birth and driver’s license information.
The post was removed for violation of Twitter rules, and the union’s account was suspended Monday morning.
“The account is temporarily locked for violating our private information policy,” a Twitter spokesman confirmed.
Citing safety concerns, Twitter prohibits users from posting other people’s “private information” without their consent, a practice known as “doxxing.”
The practice has been used as a social-media weapon in culture wars, but the publishing of someone’s physical address, for example, could endanger that individual’s physical safety.
In the post, the union asked how police officers could protect New Yorkers from “rioting anarchists” when “the mayor’s object-throwing daughter is one of them.”
There was nothing in the police report that suggested Ms. de Blasio had thrown any object, and the mayor said she was protesting peacefully. The report said that the police had advised her to leave the street, at 12th Street and Broadway, and she had “refused to do so.”
Edward D. Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said the intent of his tweet was to question the mayor’s strategy toward policing the protests, particularly what he described as the mayor’s refusal to allow mounted units on the street.
“The message was that cops are being pelted with rocks, cars are being set on fire and our police department is being held back,” Mr. Mullins said.
“Is that why you’re tying our hands, because your daughter is out there?” Mr. Mullins added. “This needs to be looked at.”
During his Monday morning briefing, Mr. de Blasio expressed love and support for his daughter, and criticized Mr. Mullins’s actions.
“The S.B.A. did something unconscionable, and it’s not just because it’s my daughter,” the mayor said. “They do this all the time with people’s privacy.”
“When they leak information on someone, it’s absolutely inappropriate,” Mr. de Blasio added. “But I’m not going to tell you that it’s only happening to my child, it’s happening to people every single day.”
The incident was the latest flash point in a bitter feud between the mayor and the union; in February, after two police officers were wounded by a gunman, Mr. Mullins used Twitter to proclaim that “the members of the N.Y.P.D. are declaring war” on the mayor.
“We do not respect you,” he wrote. “Do not visit us in hospitals. You sold the N.Y.P.D. to the vile creatures, the 1 percent who hate cops but vote for you.”
Two and a half weeks ago, Mr. Mullins used an expletive to describe Mr. de Blasio’s health commissioner, a Puerto Rican woman.
Mr. Mullins said he did not leak the report about Ms. de Blasio, but rather copied a screenshot of the report from a since-deleted tweet by a Daily Mail reporter.
The mayor said he knew his daughter had been protesting on Thursday night, but had not heard back from her afterward.
“The only reason I found out she had been arrested was there was a media inquiry,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The media knew about this before I knew about this.”
“I think many many parents can appreciate this: She’s 25 years old, did not inform Chirlane and I of her intention to get arrested. I knew of some of her views. I knew she believed in peaceful protest.”
Ms. de Blasio, who did not respond to a request for comment, has mostly maintained a low public profile while her father has been in office. Her struggles with substance abuse and depression, which she disclosed not long after Mr. de Blasio’s election in 2013, helped give rise to the city’s mental health initiative, ThriveNYC, which is overseen by her mother, Chirlane McCray.
But this was not the first time that Ms. de Blasio had been at the center of tension between her father and the police. Last summer, The Daily News reported that the mayor’s security detail had moved Ms. de Blasio out of her apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The story featured anonymous sources “close to” the mayor’s police detail grousing about the move.
On Monday, Mr. de Blasio suggested that nothing about Ms. de Blasio’s presence and arrest at the police protests set her apart from her peers. Hanging in the air was the obvious exception: her last name.
“She was acting peacefully,” the mayor said. “She believes that everything she did was in the spirit of peaceful respectful protests.”
“I admire that she was out there trying to change something she thought was unjust.”