NY health commissioner who said she doesn’t give “two rats’ asses” about cops gets to keep job


NEW YORK, NY – Many of the New York Police Department, specifically the union leaders, have spoken out often regarding the lack of support by their mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Late last week, Law Enforcement Today told you about Department of Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot denying PPE resources to the NYPD, and using crass comments about it.

Several of those officers and unions that speak out against de Blasio also called for Barot’s firing over the comments.

De Blasio, however, has made his stance on the comments made once and for all.

On Sunday, de Blasio said that he spoke with Barbot to “clear the air on some of the recent issues.” He also said that she would be retaining her commissioner role.

The mayor announced that he has “a lot of respect for Barbot.” He also said:

“We’re going to move forward together. I look forward to her doing good and important work.”

Here’s the original report we brought you last week.

The New York Post has discovered some disturbing information coming out of the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Departments commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, was issued an urgent request by NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan in late March for 500,000 surgical masks during the height of the coronavirus spread in the city.

Wednesday, a source “familiar with the matter” told the Post that Barbot’s response was:

“I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”

She said she could only spare 50,000 masks for the police department.

“I need them for others,” she reportedly said.

It was reported that the conversation occurred prior to the first NYPD COVID-19 death, but after a rapidly increasing number of officers were calling out sick. 

The NYPD Unions are understandably unhappy about the comments.

The president of the Police Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, said that her comments were “despicable and unforgivable.” 

Lynch also said:

“Dr. Barbot should be forced to look in the eye of every police family who lost a hero to this virus. Look them in the eye and tell them they aren’t worth a rat’s ass.”

In a tweet responding to the Post’s article, the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) said:

“Again the NYPD fails to comment. Why did it take 2 months for it to be made public. Why did Monaghan sit silent? He should of (sic) exposed her to the media.”

Hours after the report was published, the SBA issued a statement. In a tweet sharing the statement, the SBA said:

“The following press release was sent out this evening, within an hour of a NY Post article being published online. The comments made by Dr. Barbot, an appointee of Mayor de Blasio, are despicable, and will not be tolerated. Stay safe and remain steadfast and vigilant.”

In the statement, SBA President Ed Mullins said:

“I’m not surprised by such vile words coming from an appointee of Mayor de Blasio, whose disdain for law enforcement is legendary. But Dr. Barbot’s comments make it clear that she has no personal or professional regard for the police.

The primary concern of a medical professional in such an important position should be the safety of all people, and her attitude places police officers in great jeopardy and makes her unfit for the job.”

The Detective’s Endowment Association said in a series of tweets:

“The DEA is calling on @NYCMayor de Blasio to immediately fire Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot for not only her despicable remarks, but for endangering our men and women in blue who are tirelessly protecting New Yorkers during this pandemic.

“A so-called city leader, Dr. Barbot showed her true colors as a cop-hater. Brave NYPD Detectives died as the DEA searched for protective equipment to purchase for our members while we waited for the city to distribute masks.

“Dr. Barbot’s shameful behavior likely contributed to the further spread of this deadly virus. She has brought great shame to NYC government and every medical professional who is courageously fighting the Coronavirus pandemic alongside our cops.” 

The Post also reported that after the conversation took place, it was discovered that the DOH had a “large stash of masks, ventilators, and other equipment” in a warehouse in New Jersey.

After her alleged rebuff, NYPD reached out to City Hall, who was able to get 250,000 masks for the department.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency also got wind of the shortage and provided the department with Tyvek suits and disinfectant, according to sources who spoke to the Post.

Even de Blasio apparently isn’t to blame for the departments treatment and lack of provided supplies.

It was reported, again, by “a source,” that Chief of Department Monohan said to de Blasio (in front of Barbot):

“For weeks, we haven’t gotten an answer.”

The source told the Post that de Blasio then said to Barbot:

“Oxiris what is he talking about?”

De Blasio also reportedly said to Monohan:

“You definitely need it.”

And to Barbot:

“Oxiris, you’re going to fix this right now.”

Last week, de Blasio announced that a testing and tracing program being implemented by the City would be overseen by the city’s public hospital system and not by Barbot and the DOH as had been done previously.

Barbot was reportedly “noticeably” absent from that daily coronavirus briefing. 

PIX11 reported that a spokesperson from the DOH spoke on the clashing between Monohan and Barbot.

The spokesperson said:

“Dr. Barbot and Chief Monahan have a good working relationship. During the height of COVID, while our hospitals were battling to keep patients alive, there was a heated exchange between the two where things were said out of frustration, but no harm was wished on anyone.

“The commissioner apologized for her contribution to the exchange, the apology was accepted and agreement was arrived between the two to ensure that respirators were delivered to members of the force.”

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The spokesperson also clarified that the exchange took place over the phone “during an urgent time in the coronavirus crisis, when the city and state were rapidly trying to increase hospital bed availability, ventilators for patients in need of intubation, and PPE for health care workers.”

The DOH spokesperson also said:

“This has always been about saving the lives of our healthcare workers, police officers and every New Yorker who is fighting through this pandemic.”

City Councilman Joe Borelli had previously doubted de Blasio for transferring the testing and trace program to the public hospitals. After hearing of the comments, he reportedly said:

“I judged the mayor incorrectly for shifting duties away from her if this is how she feels about her job.”

Likewise, Congressman Max Rose said in a tweet on Wednesday:

“This kind of attitude explains so much about City Hall’s overall response to this crisis. Dr. Barbot shouldn’t resign, she should be fired.”

The Post said that the NYPD had declined to comment on the topic.

De Blasio was very busy on Twitter Wednesday with several topics such as the Democrats newly announced stimulus package, but nothing was said about Barbot.

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