Russell Simmons reportedly used some colorful language on a radio show June 18 to describe New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. According to Capital New York, the hip-hop mogul and activist called de Blasio a "bitch" for failing to stand up to the city's police commissioner, William Bratton, and governor, Andrew Cuomo, over criminal investigations of the police.
Members of New York's progressive community continue to fume over the police union's influence in the failure to indict a white police officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner last year.
"Our police commissioner is bullying our punk mayor that we worked so hard to put in office," Simmons said, according to Capital New York.
Simmons added that without a video, a New York City grand jury would not even indict a police officer for shooting the mayor's child. (The mayor's two children are biracial.) "And that's because there are no special prosecutors. There should be independent prosecutors who don't work for the police who have to look at these cases individually," he stated.
As the New York Observer reports, progressives continue to urge Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor to oversee police indictments. Simmons says that Cuomo has failed to keep his promise to do that, "and Mayor de Blasio has not said a word because he's a punk," Capital New York reports.
Simmons continued: "He [de Blasio] got the police commissioner pushing him around like he's a bitch. And it's shocking to me that he's not stood up for the people of New York."
Simmons pointed to the mayor's failure to respond when scores of police officers disrespected him by turning their backs on de Blasio when he spoke at a slain officer's funeral. "He should have told them, turn around or go home," Simmons said, according to Capital New York.
The mayor's spokeswoman, Karen Hinton, rejected the criticism and said the "facts are contrary to Mr. Simmons' remarks," according to Capital New York.
Simmons endorsed de Blasio's mayoral campaign, but he and other black leaders are now openly expressing doubt about the mayor. Capital New York reports that Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) is publicly criticizing de Blasio over what he sees as a failure to reform the Police Department adequately.
Hinton defended the beleaguered mayor: "At Mayor de Blasio's direction, Commissioner Bratton has retrained officers and stopped excessive stop and frisk, which the mayor believes led to unconstitutional searches of innocent people of color but did nothing to reduce crime overall."