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Was it a race for mayor -- on city streets? TV report shows NY mayor on speedy trip

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 10:48 PM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • On Tuesday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to make streets safer
  • On Thursday, a New York TV station shot video of a trip by the mayor
  • The video showed his two-car caravan apparently speeding and violating other traffic laws
  • The NYPD says tactics are sometimes used when transporting any "protectee"

New York (CNN) -- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio must have been in a hurry to get somewhere Thursday, according to a local media report that featured video of the mayor's two-car caravan speeding on city streets, blowing through stop signs and violating other traffic laws -- just two days after he announced a traffic-safety initiative.

The report by CNN affiliate WCBS, accompanied by the station's exclusive video, said the mayor's car was being driven by a member his security detail, with de Blasio in the passenger seat.

If the driver had been cited and convicted for the apparent violations witnessed by its news crew, he could have racked up enough points to have his license suspended, WCBS said.

The New York Police Department came to the mayor's defense Thursday in the wake of the WCBS report, releasing a statement.

"The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment," the NYPD said.

"At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections," the statement said.

The alleged traffic violations came just two days after de Blasio unveiled his "Vision Zero" plan, an approach that combines "education, smarter streets, and strong enforcement to reduce dangerous and illegal behavior on our streets," according to the mayor's official website.

"We've put a very bold plan before you and we want the public to know we're holding ourselves to this standard," the mayor said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"The likelihood of a fatal crash drops significantly for speeds below 30 miles per hour. So we get those speeds down it will be the difference between losing a life and saving a life," de Blasio said.

The mayor's office released a statement Thursday in response to news reports about the mayor's speedy trip.

"We believe public safety is everyone's responsibility. We also recognize NYPD's training and protocols, and refer questions related to security and transportation to them. With that in mind, Mayor de Blasio is firmly committed to the traffic safety policies outlined this week," De Blasio press secretary Phil Walzak said in a statement.

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