De Blasio Admits He Ignored Permit Process to Paint Black Lives Matter Murals in NYC
Mayor's administration faces allegations of First Amendment violations
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted officals ignored the application process needed for proposed public art projects in the city to paint Black Lives Matter murals.
The news comes as the Mayor's administration faces allegations of First Amendment violations for declining to green-light other proposals.
During a City Hall press briefing, de Blasio said, "We haven’t said ‘no’ to people, we’ve said, ‘If you want to apply, you can apply, but there’s a process.'"
Women for America First sued the City Hall for blocking a mural of their slogan “Engaging, Inspiring and Empowering Women to Make a Difference!” while permitting BLM paintings throughout the city.
But Hizzoner claims he didn't block the move; he just referred groups like Women for America First, and the pro-police Blue Lives Matter to the Department of Transportation’s permitting process.
There was, however, no approval required for the BLM movement.
“That is something that again transcends all normal realities because we are at a moment of history when that had to be said and done, that’s a decision I made,” de Blasio said.
“But the normal process continues for anyone who wants to apply,” he added.
But Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was vague about the application criteria.
“Anyone can apply through our public art program," Trottenberg said.
"As the mayor has said, the city does have discretion as well on painting those projects."
De Blasio argued that the BLM protest movement “transcends any notion of politics," despite politicizing the movement by painting the mural directly in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
Civil liberties lawyer Norman Siegel predicted the Mayor's argument would fail to stand up in court.
“Once you open the door and allow Black Lives Matter murals to be on the streets of New York, you can’t now turn down Blue Lives Matter," Siegel said.
"That would be a violation of the free speech provision of the Constitution,” he added.
Last week, de Blasio vowed to sue President Donald Trump if he tried to stop the massive spike in violent crime in the city.
The Mayor blasted Trump’s threat as “bluster” during his daily press briefing.
“If he tried to do it, it would only create more problems,” the mayor said.
“We would immediately take action in court to stop it.”