De Blasio quietly sought to put Eric Garner and other ‘loose cigarette’ vendors out of business

De Blasio quietly sought to put Eric Garner and other ‘loose cigarette’ vendors out of business
Mayor de Blasio / Source: New York Post

Tensions are rising between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Patrolman Benevolent Association, the Associated Press reports. Yesterday, Hizzoner took his case to the impartial panel of “The View,” where he grumbled about a “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” waiver that rank-and-file members of the NYPD have been urged to sign. The document effectively dis-invites de Blasio in advance from attending the funeral of any officer killed in the line of duty.

“It’s divisive. It’s inappropriate,” de Blasio said. “When an officer dies, it is a moment when the whole community has to come together in support of our police, in support of that officer.”

Ironically it was De Blasio’s open lack of support for members of the force that precipitated the rift in the first place. Following the grand jury decision not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of “loose cigarette” seller Eric Garner, de Blasio blasted the NYPD as racist, protesting moreover that Garner’s crime was a “minor offense.”

But a new revelation suggests that de Blasio is guilty not only of betrayal when it comes to New York’s Finest but of hypocrisy. The New York Post reports that the same week the grand jury elected not to indict Pantaleo, de Blasio filed a civil-racketeering lawsuit in federal court against cigarette smugglers — aka, the Eric Garners of the world. Apparently, the “minor offense” that Garner and fellow street vendors were committing was costing the city millions in lost revenues. A Bloomberg News report from May reveals that 57% of cigarettes are smuggled across state lines. Jeff Cohen, an attorney with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is quoted as saying that criminals buying 200 cases of cigarettes in North Carolina or South Carolina to sell illegally in New York can clear as much as $500,000 a year. So much for “minor offenses.”

But de Blasio’s dissembling doesn’t stop there. According to the Post:

One city official said, “City Hall knew they had screwed up, so they squashed the press release [announcing the lawsuit].

“You can’t have the mayor blabbing away that selling loosies is a ‘minor offense,’ but then have the Law Department, which represents and protects the city and the mayor’s interests, file this suit,” the official said. “It reeks of duplicity.”

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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