NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea insisted Thursday that the NYPD did not officially sign off on the rabbi’s public funeral that drew thousands to the streets of Williamsburg this week — but prepared for it in the event that such a gathering would happen.
The top cop said on “Good Day New York” that the NYPD was notified of the COVID-19-related death of Hasidic Satmar Rabbi Chaim Mertz around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, a few hours before mourners flooded the streets.
“There is no way a large assemblage like that is supposed to happen,” Shea said on the program. “I think every New Yorker knows that. What we did is plan, knowing that in the event of this happening — which it did — we have a little bit of a history here. Some similar things have happened before — so [it’s] the difference between planning and approving. The best plans we put in place in a short period of time.”
Shea made the comments after it emerged that Moses Weiser, a longtime liaison between the Satmar community and the NYPD, said Wednesday that he “personally spoke” with Capt. Mark Vazquez, commanding officer of the 90th Precinct, which covers Williamsburg, ahead of the gathering.
So the commander sent dozens of cops with barricades and light towers — only to see them overwhelmed by thousands of mourners.
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