Oct. 7, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The New York City Council has come out in support of Councilmember Tiffany Cabán after the progressive legislator received a barrage of threats for her unwavering stance on policing and public safety.
The City Council issued a statement Thursday condemning the alleged threats that were called in to Cabán’s office last weekend — days after she had advised local businesses to refrain from dialing 911 in conflict situations and saying that the media was overstating subway violence.
The alleged threats also followed the fatal stabbing of an EMS lieutenant in Cabán’s 22nd Council district last week.
The callers, according to New York Post sources, spewed vile threats including telling Cabán they hoped she got “beaten up on the subway” and that her “eyes fall out.” “I hope you get your a– kicked,” one of the callers said.
The City Council condemned the intimidating rhetoric that was being directed at Cabán.
“Violent threats against elected officials, their offices, or any resident is unacceptable, and has no place in New York City,” the statement reads.
“The overheated rhetoric needs to be immediately dialed down and de-escalated. The public servants who dedicate themselves to serving our city deserve respect and safety, regardless of whether you may disagree with them.”
Cabán, an advocate for defunding the NYPD, has faced an avalanche of criticism over the last few weeks for several public statements she has made on public safety in the wake of a series of major crimes in the borough.
Early last week she encouraged local business owners to get trained in de-escalation tactics as means to address conflict. She tweeted a poster online that advised workers to use words like “no, “stop,” or “this is not okay” rather than calling the cops.
Two days later EMS worker Alison Russo-Elling was savagely stabbed to death in the Ditmars section of Cabán’s district.
Last month — and days after a woman was violently assaulted at the Howard Beach/JFK Airport station — she took to Twitter to say that subway violence is a “one-in-a-million event” and to not let “fear-mongering politicians and corporate media outlets scare us into thinking we have a dangerous, scary public transit system.”
Subway violence is a one-in-a-million event.
As a believer in a violence-free NYC, I still think that’s one too many, but let’s not let fear-mongering politicians and corporate media outlets scare us into thinking we have a dangerous, scary public transit system. pic.twitter.com/NEzvDLCH19
— Council Member Tiffany Cabán (D22) (@CabanD22) September 26, 2022
The victim of that attack criticized Cabán’s response and said the lawmaker was out of touch, insisting the subway is dangerous.
Last week, she also doubled down on her position to abolish the NYPD’s gang database saying that it is a dragnet to surveil and criminalize Black and brown New Yorkers, especially youth.
The Fox News late-night show “Gutfeld” had a segment dedicated to Cabán Thursday night where contributors attacked her public safety positions given the rising crime in the city.
Much of the discussion centered around a New York Post report that Cabán’s office had called the police about the alleged threats – leading to the media figures calling her hypocritical.
However, a spokesperson for Cabán said that her office didn’t call the police but instead reported the alleged threats to officials with City Council security. It was council security that reported the calls to police.
“Our office reported the large volume of hostile, violent, and threatening voicemails and emails to Council security, who, given the intensity of the harassment campaign, determined that the situation warranted law enforcement involvement,” the spokesperson told the Queens Post in a statement.
“As an office, we take our cues on security protocols from Council security. We will be offering no further comment.”
The Council also said that its security had taken steps to “support” Cabán although it did not provide any further details as to what that involves.
The Council’s support of Cabán led to one lawmaker to ask whether there is a double standard when it comes to threats against certain elected officials.
Councilmember Vickie Paladino, a Republican, took to Twitter Friday to ask why the Council had not publicly backed her with a supportive statement in June when she faced threats after criticizing Drag Queen Story Hour in schools.
Paladino had said that tax dollars should not be used to fund the program, labeling it as a form of “grooming.”
“Hey @NYCCouncil, I had violent threats made against myself and my staff too — the NYPD spent ten days in front of my office because of it,” Paladino wrote. “Why didn’t Council tweet in support of us at that time?
The Queens Post asked the City Council why it issued a statement for Cabán and not for Paladino but has yet to receive a response.
Hey @NYCCouncil I had violent threats made against myself and my staff too — the NYPD spent ten days in front of my office because of it. Why didn’t Council tweet in support of us at that time? https://t.co/eNjnTqColM pic.twitter.com/zxb3Ny8Bf6
— Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (@VickieforNYC) October 7, 2022