January 29, 2015 | 1:37pm   

 

Bratton ‘outraged’ NYC gave machete man $5K for menacing cops

By Kirstan Conley

Chad Rachman
Bill Bratton is not happy with the city's $5,000 payout to machete-wielding thug Ruhim Ullah.

Bill Bratton held his tongue for months as a cold war raged between his NYPD officers and the mayor — but on Thursday the police commissioner finally snapped.

The top cop lashed out at the de Blasio administration for settling a lawsuit brought against the department by a machete-wielding thug who was shot as he menaced cops.

“This morning, I was outraged by the front-page story of the New York Post reporting on a settlement with an individual who had been arrested by our officers and then sued and the city is now going to give him $5,000 to make him go away,” Bratton said, referring to The Post’s exclusive on the payout to Ruhim Ullah.

Bratton later confronted the mayor about why city lawyers settled the “outrageous” lawsuit.

Ullah was shot in the leg while wielding the 18-inch weapon in a 2010 confrontation with cops. He pleaded guilty to the crime, and even his lawyer said the shooting was likely justified.

“Our officers did absolutely nothing wrong. It’s outrageous that the city Law Department is continuing to not support the men and women of this department as they go about their duties,” Bratton said during a blistering speech to the Police Foundation at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Columbus Circle.

“Our cops work very hard trying to keep this city safe, and if they’re not going to be backed up by the city law office, we need to do something about that,” the commissioner said in a stunning rebuke of Zachary Carter, a former federal prosecutor whom the mayor appointed to head the Law Department.

Bratton — who has routinely defended the mayor, or stayed silent, in de Blasio’s disputes with New York’s Finest — went on the attack again after the speech, telling reporters that such settlements are morale killers for cops on the street.

“One of my concerns about the article this morning in The Post is that something like that, it gets cops unnecessarily riled up,” he said.

The deal was approved by Carter, whom the mayor has praised as “one of the most respected people in law enforcement in this whole city.”

Carter was summoned to the mayor’s office after Bratton’s outburst. He was spotted leaving Thursday afternoon and declined to comment.

Bratton later arrived at City Hall with NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker and Chief of Department James O’Neill at about 5 p.m. Carter also showed up for that meeting.

Both Bratton and Carter declined to comment as they left minutes apart, with the commissioner leaving first.

“Moving forward, if our lawyers conclude, as they had in this instance, that a case brought against police officers regarding the performance of their duties utterly lacks merit, then that case will not be settled, even if an economic cost-benefit analysis suggests otherwise,” the mayor told The Post as he left City Hall.

On Wednesday, the Law Department had explained the “nominal” settlement as “in the best interest of the city.”

Still, the mayor refused to criticize Carter or his Law Department.

De Blasio said that he told Carter of the new policy and that “we are allocating additional resources” so the city lawyers have “the staffing needed to guard against frivolous claims.”

And he insisted his administration fully supported the NYPD despite tensions that escalated late last year.

Bratton said cops deserved an apology.

“I was angered by it. That’s something that should not have happened, and I’ll be one of the first to apologize to the officers for that settlement being made,” he said.

Additional reporting by Natasha Velez, Shawn Cohen and Selim Algar