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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio accused of favoritism after springing buddy from jail

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Coincidence? New York City's newly seated mayor, Bill de Blasio, made a telephone call to the police department to ask how his freshly arrested friend, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, was doing. A few hours later, Mr. Findlayter walked free.

Mr. Findlayter heads up Brooklyn's New Hope Christian Church and helped bring out the black vote for Mr. de Blasio's mayoral win, the New York Post reported.

He was arrested late Monday evening for making an illegal left turn, police said, in the paper. After running his information, police found that Mr. Findlayter had two outstanding warrants for failing to appear for previous arrests at various protest venues. So Monday, he was then taken into police custody and charged with the new traffic violation, and for driving without a license, the New York Post reported.

He was put behind bars, mostly because the near-midnight hour was too late for him to receive an immediate arraignment. His friends subsequently called on a higher power — the mayor and key police officials — to intervene, the New York Post reported.

A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio doesn't deny the mayor made a phone call. Mr. de Blasio called police spokeswoman Kim Royster to "get clarification on word that there had been an arrest of a respected local clergyman," his spokesman, Phil Walzak, told the newspaper.

Mr. Findlayter later appeared before a judge — and his warrants were thrown out, the New York Post said.

Some tied to law enforcement see favoritism at play.

"If a guy has a warrant, you don't let him go. Period," said Sgt. Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, in the New York Post. "There is no 'discretion.' What if you release him [and] he drives a block, blows a red light and runs somebody over and kills him? As a [police] supervisor, you have a lot to answer for [and de Blasio] just confirmed that it really is a 'tale of two cities.' "

The reference was a play on Mr. de Blasio's campaign mantra, when he called out police who were caught up in a ticket-fixing scandal but nonetheless pressed for their own tickets to be tossed.

Officials with City Hall insist that Mr. de Blasio did not request Mr. Findlayter's release, the New York Post reported.

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