Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a supporter of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, was released from jail after de Blasio called a top police official.
Findlayter is part of de Blasio’s so-called Transition Team, which is helping manage the transition from the previous mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Findlayter, pastor of New Hope Christian Church in Queens, was arrested after two police officers pulled him over for failing to signal while making a left turn late Monday night.
Kim Royster of the NYPD’s press office told the New York Daily News that Findlayter had an aggravated suspended license because of a lapse in his auto insurance.
After taking him to the 67th Precinct stationhouse, they discovered two outstanding warrants from when the pastor was arrested during a Manhattan immigration reform protest.
It was too late to make it to the Brooklyn arraignment court by that time, so Findlayter was slated to spend the night in jail.
But after de Blasio’s phone call to Royster, it appears he was released instead of being held.
“Did the mayor call me last night about this particular person and his status? Yes he did,” Royster said.
Mayoral spokesman Phil Walzak said that de Blasio called Royster “to get clarification on word that there had been an arrest of a respected local clergyman,” after a local clergy council contacted him.
“Did the mayor in any way persuade or say anything to whether or not this person would be arrested or released? Not at all. He just asked his status,” Royster said.
Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr personally released Findlayter after he got a call from Royster.
Findlayter said that he was unaware of the outstanding warrants.
Royster said that police are allowed to use discretion to release people that pose no threat of danger or flight.
Findlayter appeared in court on Tuesday and his warrants were vacated.