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Queens Chronicle

Did Bill give pal get out of jail free call?

Mayor denies using influence to spring cleric arrested on warrants

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 2:00 am | Updated: 11:22 am, Thu Feb 20, 2014.

Mayor de Blasio’s press office is denying that he wielded any influence whatsoever this week when he called top NYPD brass following the arrest of a member of his transition team.

What is known is that the Rev. Bishop Orlando Findlayter, head of the New Hope Christian Church in Brooklyn, was pulled over after 11 a.m. on Monday night by officers in the NYPD’s 67th Precinct when he made an improper turn.

But a routine computer check during the traffic stop turned up a pair of warrants as a result of his arrest during an immigration protest back in October.

Normal routine is for police to hold a person with active warrants overnight if the arrest has taken place too late to bring them before an arraignment judge.

Findlayter, however, appears to have been released on a desk appearance ticket after de Blasio made a phone call to NYPD Deputy Chief Kim Royster.

Numerous sources also have reported that Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr, commanding officer of the Brooklyn precinct, personally returned to the station house to review the matter; and that he has had a working relationship with Findlayter in the community.

“The mayor reached out to Deputy Chief Royster to get clarification on word that there had been an arrest of a respected local clergyman,” according to an email sent to the Chronicle from the mayor’s press office on Tuesday night.

Whether he had the matter in mind or not, de Blasio on Wednesday, after delivering his preliminary budget for next year, said he would take questions only on the budget until Thursday.

Findlayter could not be reached for comment, but myriad published reports state he was an early supporter of de Blasio during the Democratic mayoral process at a time when he was trailing former Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The email from City Hall came in response to an email from the Chronicle on Tuesday evening.

While it addressed a question regarding the nature of the conversation between the mayor and Chief Royster, the press office did not address questions regarding how and when de Blasio became aware of his arrest; if Findlayter still is working with the transition team or the de Blasio administration in deither an official or unofficial capacity; and whether de Blasio has intervened with city, state or federal law enforcement on behalf of anyone else since taking office on Jan. 1.

The NYPD did not respond to an email sent on Tuesday night to an email seeking confirmation as to why the bishop was pulled over; confirmation of the nature of the warrants; and police department policy governing the release or detention of arrestees who are the subject of outstanding warrants.

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