Syed Ali effectively de-escalated an incident involving five homeless assailants in a subway station with just his feet and his baton. The New York City police officer kept his cool during the nerve-wracking confrontation – and quickly became a sensation when a video of the incident went viral. He remained modest despite his newfound fame, saying that he simply focused on following his training. Most impressively, Ali said he never once thought of reaching for his gun in the five-on-one standoff.
Who's up and who's down this week?
Who's up and who's down this week?
Many of our readers took a well-deserved break this week, but the news cycle never stops. So we’re not putting our weekly Winners & Losers list on hold, either. We are scaling things back our list a bit, however – meaning one pleased police commissioner, one unhappy inmate and one Scrooge-like city councilman didn’t quite make the cut. Bah! Humbug!
It’s unclear whether the finger-pointing over the federal shutdown will hurt President Donald Trump or Democratic lawmakers – but it seems safe to say that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is coming out ahead politically. The governor had already been positioning himself as the anti-Trump for months, and he’s responding to the latest case of federal dysfunction by spending state dollars to keep the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open for visitors – and, possibly, for himself, with his big inaugural speech planned for the evening of Jan. 1.
There are still plenty of steps the state Legislature hopes to take to address sexual harassment. But the state did take one big step forward in the past week, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bipartisan bill sponsored by state Sen. Kemp Hannon and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas creating a bill of rights for sexual assault victims in New York. For Hannon, it’s yet another legislative victory that comes at the twilight of his political career, while Simotas is just starting to make her mark in the midst of the #MeToo movement.
Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz made a bad situation worse, court documents uncovered this week show, when he said in a deposition that he couldn’t remember ever hiring any black people during his lengthy tenure in the state Legislature. His lawyer denies the claim, which comes as Dinowitz is facing two lawsuits from a former Bronx Public School 24 assistant principal, Manny Verdi – one alleging that Dinowitz staffers blocked low-income kids of color from enrolling in the school and another alleging that Dinowitz defamed Verdi by saying he caused problems at the school. It’s a complicated situation, but one headline stands out above all the rest: “Bronx assemblyman … has never hired a black staffer during 25-year career.”
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development is supposed to ensure that rental units all across the city are safe to live in. But The New York Times reported Thursday that landlords whose apartments have dangerous problems – mold, mice, rats, roaches, leaks and lead – are consistently let off the hook with minor fines and then often fail to make the required repairs. It’s a bad look for HPD and its commissioner, Maria Torres-Springer.
First, the Western New York lawmaker failed to hold onto a GOP majority in the state Senate. Then, she failed in her bid to replace state Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan as the head of the shrunken conference. So was no surprise that she was just stripped of her position running the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. Meanwhile, the conference installed state Sen. Joe Griffo as deputy minority leader, state Sen. Fred Akshar to run its campaign efforts, and state Sen. James Seward as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee – an all-white, all-male group that reflects the trajectory of the Republican Party in the Trump era.