New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who has supported the right of protesters to flout the law without consequence and has done woefully little to stop looting during those protests, spoke out against Jewish families in Brooklyn on Tuesday, saying without a hint of irony, "We're not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands."
De Blasio's comments occurred during an ongoing row regarding the usage of the Middleton Playground in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Jewish families, incensed that the protests inspired by the death of George Floyd have been allowed to occur regularly with the mayor's blessing despite social distancing guidelines, have repeatedly broken through chains on gates to the park to allow their children to play.
Monday morning, New York City Parks Department employees literally welded the gates of the park shut to prevent Jewish children from playing there, but the neighborhood's residents responded by marching out with bolt cutters and reopening the gates, to widespread cheering.
Residents' representatives also got in on the act, sending a letter to de Blasio promising to support the neighborhood's residents in their gate-cutting efforts. According to WLNY-TV, state Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, and City Councilman Kalman Yeger put out a joint statement, which said in part: "The people have spoken and they are sick and tired of being ignored. With everything going on in the world, why is our mayor intent on making criminals of mothers and children in need of a safe space to play? If they lock these gates, we will cut them open again tomorrow, because we serve the people."
When asked about the issue, de Blasio said, "No, we're not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands. It just doesn't work. So people are not allowed to open up a playground that is not yet available to the public."
According to the current New York City guidelines, parks are not eligible to reopen until at least June 22.
This is not the first time the mayor has singled out Jewish communities for extra scrutiny during the pandemic. Even in the early stages of the pandemic, de Blasio specifically targeted New York's Jewish community in a tweet that was widely criticized and for which de Blasio eventually issued a half-hearted apology.
My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have i… https://t.co/LytWrXnvym— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio) 1588124109.0
De Blasio has also frequently been criticized for targeting Jewish schools and areas for extra scrutiny regarding social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic.