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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio now sorry after singling out Jewish community in Brooklyn amid COVID-crisis


'I'm sorry about that'

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) says that he's sorry for singling out the Jewish community in a previous warning against spreading COVID-19.

What was his warning?

The mayor blasted mass gatherings across the city over the last week, and specifically pointed to a Jewish funeral that took place Tuesday night and saw at least hundreds of Hasidic Jews take to the streets to mourn Rabbi Chaim Maertz, who died of the coronavirus.

New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea later said that the crowd grew to include "several thousand people."

What's this apology all about?

In a Wednesday news conference, de Blasio said, "If in my passion and in my emotion, I said something that in any way was hurtful, I'm sorry about that. That was not my intention. But I also want to be clear: I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying we're going to deal with it very, very aggressively."

Initially, de Blasio tweeted, "Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus."

He later added, "My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period."

He concluded, "We have lost so many these last two months + I understand the instinct to gather to mourn. But large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning. We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance."

The mayor drew the ire of many for singling out the community, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and more.

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