A war of words erupted between NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot and the NYPD over face masks for cops — and police unions are fuming.
According to the NY Post, the heated exchange resulted in Barbot snapping, saying “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”
Dr. Oxiris Barbot made the comments during a phone call with NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan in late March and have drawn major backlash, wish some calling for her resignation.
Per IBTimes, the NYC DOH released a statement confirming the exchange between Barbot and Monahan.
“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 statement read. “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. This has always been about saving the lives of our healthcare workers, police officers and every New Yorker who is fighting through this pandemic.”
Barbot’s statement, however, has been called “despicable and unforgivable” by Patrick Lynch of the Police Benevolent Association, who also said the health commissioner should be relieved of her position.
NYPost reports New York City’s health commissioner blew off an urgent NYPD request for 500,000 surgical masks as the coronavirus crisis mounted — telling a high-ranking police official that “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops,” The Post has learned.
Dr. Oxiris Barbot made the heartless remark during a brief phone conversation in late March with NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
Monahan asked Barbot for 500,000 masks but she said she could only provide 50,000, the sources said.
“I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops,” Barbot said, according to sources.
“I need them for others.”
The conversation took place as increasing numbers of cops were calling out sick with symptoms of COVID-19 but before the department suffered its first casualties from the deadly respiratory disease, sources said.
Although surgical masks don’t necessarily prevent wearers from being infected with the coronavirus, they can prevent people from spreading it to others.
The NYPD has recorded 5,490 cases of coronavirus among its 55,000 cops and civilian workers, with 41 deaths, according to figures released Wednesday evening.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, called for Barbot to be fired over her “Despicable and unforgivable” comments.
“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,” Lynch fumed.
In the wake of Barbot’s crass rebuff of Monahan, NYPD officials learned that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had a large stash of masks, ventilators and other equipment stored in a New Jersey warehouse, sources said.
The department appealed to City Hall, which arranged for the NYPD to get 250,000 surgical masks, sources said.
Read more here.