As he seeks to regain his political footing Mayor Bill de Blasio led a moment of silence today for slain Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Winjian Liu. de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray joined dozens of administration staffers in the “bullpen”, a large open work space in City Hall, with de Blasio speaking ahead of the moment of silence. Talking of “pain” and “mourning”, de Blasio offered “support and solidarity” to the slain officers families as well as urging a broader theme of community-police “healing.” He also lauded the police department and its members for their work and sacrifices.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito held a press conference this morning to condemn the recent killing of two NYPD officers and offer support to the victims’ families and the Department. Mark-Viverito, who has had her share of political tensions with the police force, spoke in somber tones accompanied by about 25 of her fellow council members. She began by characterizing the deaths of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos as “a cold-blooded assassination.”
When asked about Mayor de Blasio’s comments yesterday blaming the media for fostering divisiveness, Speaker Mark-Viverito response that “I don’t share in that thought”, appears to leave the mayor increasingly isolated.
Here is the english portion of her full opening statement. (She also made a statement in spanish.)
Update – Q&A:
Mark-Viverito answered several questions, including her reaction to some protest groups rejecting the call for a moratorium on protests, whether she shares the sentiment expressed by Mayor de Blasio that media coverage of protests has fostered divisiveness, whether the council will table any pending NYPD-related bills, whether she’ll attend the Ramos and Liu funerals, her reaction to PBA President Pat Lynch’s comment that responsibility for the bloodshed begins “on steps of City Hall”, how long a protest moratorium should last and whether her “show of support … will be received as … political expediency.”
A few feet and widely differing world views separated pro- and anti-NYPD demonstrators Friday evening. Gathering just down from City Hall on Broadway, about 50-75 NYPD supporters drew substantial media attention and about 100 counter-demonstrators. The evening consisted mostly of the two groups shouting at each other as on-duty NYPD officers calmly kept the peace.
As has been true of most of the recent demonstrations, elected officials were not involved. The only elected official I spotted was Assembly Member Jose Rivera, who circulated among the crowd watching and, as always, recording video. At least two mayoral aides were also there observing.
The pro-NYPD group was at first outnumbered. Many of the counter-demonstrators joined a march that passed by, however, and the group standing on Broadway shrank. The emotions did not diminish.
Here’s a look at the evening:
Mayor Bill de Blasio today urged the Justice League NYC to “denounce violence”, but did not condition his scheduled meeting with them on any specific denunciation. Speaking at an unrelated press conference, de Blasio broadly condemned protestor violence and urged anyone aware of such violence to cooperate with the police. His scheduled Friday meeting with the Justice League NYC has drawn criticism from PBA President Pat Lynch, who has demanded that the group “publicly denounce the individuals who assaulted police officers or who have attempted to incite violence during these protests.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio tonight announced contract agreements with a coalition of eight unions representing superior officers of the uniformed services. Speaking at a hastily arranged evening press conference, de Blasio was joined by representatives of the Detectives Endowment Association, Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Lieutenants Benevolent Association, Sanitation Officers Association, Correction Captains Association, Captains Endowment Association, Assistant Deputy Wardens/Deputy Warden Association and Uniformed Sanitation Chiefs Association. The coalition members voluntarily allied themselves and bargained together with the City for identical agreements.
The tentative agreements provide for 11% wage increases and run for seven years from the expiration of each union’s prior contract in 2011 or 2012. They also include expected health care savings. The tentative agreements do not appear to have catch-up of retroactive pay occurring after expiration of the new contract, as has occurred in some other labor deals struck by the de Blasio administration. Each tentative agreement must be ratified by the respective applicable union.
Upon ratification of these proposed agreements the City will, by it’s account, have reached labor agreements with 71% of its workforce. Bob Linn, the City’s chief labor negotiator, said tonight that the City is currently negotiating with all of the City’s remaining unions other than the PBA. The PBA has declared an impasse in its talks with the City and commenced the process of binding arbitration.
de Blasio Statement:
Here is Mayor de Blasio’s opening statement:
The sole labor representative to speak was Roy T. Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association. Richter described the agreement as ” marked by a sense a fairness and also by an ability to communicate” with the City that he suggested was not present during the Bloomberg administration. Here is Richter’s full statement:
The Mayor entertained only “on topic” questions. Here’s the full Q&A:
Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled an NYPD training program designed to avoid police/civilian confrontations like the arrest in which Eric Garner died. Speaking Thursday at the new police academy in College Point, de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton outlined a three-day training course intended to enhance officers’ ability to diffuse and de-escalate confrontations. The mayor and police also extensively discussed the Garner case and grand jury decision, as well as the continuing street protests.
de Blasio Statement:
In a lengthy opening statement Mayor de Blasio discussed the new training program, the Garner case and it’s aftermath and broad issues around the NYPD. He characterized his administration’s efforts as a “series of reforms that all work together that synergize to change the dynamic between police and community.”
(Continue to full post for the Q&A and Bratton’s statement) Continue reading de Blasio & Post-Garner NYPD Training
Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the overnight shooting of an unarmed man in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses, a New York City Housing Authority complex. Speaking at a press conference announcing expanded job placement efforts by the City, de Blasio was asked several questions about the shooting and City efforts at improving NYCHA conditions and security and about police-community relations.
The full Q&A is here.
At a press conference which mostly focused on his tax troubles, the Rev. Al Sharpton also addressed the pending grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri and the Eric Garner case in Staten Island.
Sharpton criticized the length of time that each grand jury has been working without a decision and what he termed grand jury roles that “appear to be improperly expanded to where it is about trying to prove or disprove the accused rather than to see if there’s probable cause to go to trial”. Sharpton stated that he has “pledged to the mother and father of Michael Brown that I will be there with them when the decision is announced.” He also said that National Action Network has organized “vigils and nonviolent demonstrations” at “federal buildings” in 25 cities to call for the federal government to “begin formal criminal investigation on Officer Darren Wilson.”
In response to the sole press conference question on these cases (posed by Henry Goldman of Bloomberg), Sharpton described Ferguson as “very tense” and Staten Island as having “tension” but not “as high yet as Ferguson.” He observed that a lack of indictment in Ferguson “could inflame Staten Island and incidents around the country.”
Here are his complete remarks on Ferguson and Staten Island:
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner today announced a significant change in the NYPD’s handling of people possessing small amounts of marijuana. Possession of 25 grams or less will now be generally handled by the NYPD issuing a summons, rather than arresting the possessor.
de Blasio and Bratton had a lengthy Q&A, with it almost entirely focused on their announcement. Here’s their full on-topic Q&A:
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton held an unusual Sunday afternoon press conference to denounce a New York Post report that de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, was deeply angry at Bratton over NYPD Chief of Department’s Philip Banks’ sudden retirement and that de Blasio had “summoned Bratton to City Hall, blasting him face to face for not catering to Banks”. The Post quoted McCray as saying “I told you we can’t trust him”, in reference to Bratton, to de Blasio.
de Blasio profusely praised both the NYPD and Bratton, and then denounced “unnamed sources who make up entire conversations in their heads and tell flat-out lies.” Bratton in turn praised the mayor and condemned the “falsehoods” and “fabrications” as “nothing short of outrageous” that were “intentionally intended to harm.”
de Blasio Opening Statement:
Here is Mayor de Blasio’s full opening statement:
Bratton Opening Statement:
Here is Commissioner Bratton’s full opening statement:
Here is the full Q&A:
Several thousand people marched from the site of Eric Garner’s death past the Richmond County District Attorney’s office, ending at a rally overlooking New York Harbor. Organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the march and rally was about the Garner case and demands for criminal prosecution of the police officers involved, but also about broader complaints and concerns around policing and racial discrimination in New York and throughout the country.
Among the elected officials I spotted: Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Jumaane Williams, Carlos Menchaca, Daneek Miller, Ydanis Rodriguez, Vanessa Gibson, State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James were not there. Former Governor David Paterson joined, marching with Rev. Sharpton. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout was also there.
Update – Teachout:
We asked Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout why she was attending the march and her answer touched on stop & frisk, broken windows policing and Andrew Cuomo’s decision to go fishing. We spoke with Teachout in the Staten Island ferry terminal as she headed to the march.
(Flashing neon signs produced ever-changing colors and brightness on Teachout as we spoke.)
We spoke with Speaker Mark-Viverito on the ferry ride to the march. I asked her why she was going and what she hoped the march would accomplish:
Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton escorted Police Officer Rosa Rodriguez out of the hospital today, 43 days after she was critically injured in a Coney Island fire that killed her partner, Police Officer Dennis Guerra.
Here’s a brief clip of her departure:
Neither de Blasio or Bratton spoke with the press.