Maya Wiley, civil rights activist and attorney, has made her candidacy official, announcing it Thursday with a play on a frozen video call that she’s officially running for mayor of New York City.
Wiley came out swinging against her former boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio (Wiley worked as de Blasio’s counsel for two years), telling a group of supporters gathered outside the Brooklyn Museum that she doesn’t have any experience being afraid to make decisions, an obvious shot at de Blasio, who’s indecision has widely been criticized by New Yorkers.
“I don’t have experience accepting bad deals. I don’t have experience campaigning across all boroughs of this city but only showing up when it’s convenient,” Wiley said, Politico reports. “I don’t have experience being so afraid to make a wrong decision that I make no decision at all.”
Wiley provided legal guidance to the mayor when his fundraising activities were the subject of multiple investigations. “She also devised a workaround to public disclosure of emails between the mayor and his external advisers that was eventually struck down in court,” Politico reports.
While Wiley didn’t call de Blasio out by name, she was clearly referring to the father of Dante (Bill de Blasio has a Black son named Dante) unhappiness with being mayor and his disastrous run for the White House last year.
“If I’m mayor you will never have to wonder who’s in charge. You will never have to question whether anyone is listening, whether the mayor even wants the job,” Wiley said. “You will never have to ask yourself whether you matter. You will never have to wonder whether I’m in Iowa.”
After two years in City Hall, Wiley chaired the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board — a police accountability panel — until August of 2017. During her tenure, the officer responsible for killing an unarmed Black man in 2014 remained on the force and wasn’t fired until 2019, two years after she left the board. Wiley claimed she used her perch to put in place a process by which he would eventually be let go, even though it did not happen on her watch.
She also indicated she would have handled the matter differently than de Blasio, who said he could not take action against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, until federal authorities completed a drawn-out investigation into the death of Eric Garner. And she said she disapproved of the mayor’s handling of a state statute that his administration reinterpreted to protect law enforcement officers from disclosure of their disciplinary records.
Asked what she did to fight those battles from her prominent position, Wiley said, “As an attorney who worked for the public, I am obligated to keep the confidences. But I will tell you what I would have done and what I would have done would have been to take aggressive action much sooner.”
Politico notes that while Wiley may be a first-time candidate, she’s already receiving big-time support from political mainstays including: New York State Sen. Mike Gianaris, the deputy majority leader; City Council Members Steve Levin and Helen Rosenthal; and Assembly Member and former Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Michael Blake.
Rumblings around Wiley possibly considering a run for mayor began being whispered around July when she left her post as a legal analyst for MSNBC. If elected, Wiley would become the first woman to become mayor of New York and only the second Black person to hold that position.