Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: Dueling News Conferences Keep Police-Community Relations In Spotlight

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We had numerous new callers tonight -- a sign of how much Eric Garner's story is bringing up concerns within police-community relations in New York City. I can't personally say how relations were 25 years ago, but would hope that they improve going forward, and that incidents like Garner's death never happen again.

Your thoughts and comments are posted below.

One day after police union President Pat Lynch defended the actions of the officers on the scene during Eric Garner's attempted arrest, Reverend Al Sharpton joined labor leaders in Harlem to denounce his claims. Sharpton dismissed Lynch's assertion that the Medical Examiner's findings were political and officers didn't use a chokehold. He said, officers "cannot enforce the law with an illegal chokehold."

Rev. Sharpton also detailed plans to march across the Verrazano Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island on August 23rd. The day marks the 25th anniversary of the racially-charged fatal shooting of 16-year-old Yusef Hawkins during an attack by a group of white youths in Bensonhurst. Sharpton said, "There is a climate of trying to turn back the clock, we will march to say we will not go back to where we were 25 years ago."

If you lived in New York City 25 years ago, how would you compare race relations then and now? Have police-community relations gotten better, worse, or stayed the same during that time? Have the dueling news conferences this week helped or hurt New Yorkers deal with the fallout of the death of Eric Garner?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I've not said anything about this case, partly because I wanted the facts to surface, but as NY1 seems to have made this case a "pet" cause, I'm saying something. For starters, Mr. Sharpton had better learn the difference between "illegal" and "unauthorized" -- I know of no statute on the books, anywhere in the State of New York, that names a chokehold as "illegal"; its use is banned by the New York City Police Department, but that doesn't make it "illegal" or make its use a criminal offense.

Mr. Sharpton is welcome to march anywhere he wishes, as long as he obeys the law -- I realize that he has, in effect, called for what amounts to a "pass" on arrests for members of minority communities (or, more correctly, certain minority communities) who break the law, but he hasn't gotten it yet. And as a public figure who has done his best to aggrandize himself and set race relations ablaze in this city over the last 30 years, he should be held to a strict standard of behavior -- and if Mayor De Blasio can't see to that, then he is unfit to be mayor.

Upper West Side

I submit that what the unions are doing amounts to "pre-jury tampering". They are trying to influence public opinion so that if and when there are grand jury indictments they will have already planted the seeds of doubt in the public's mind. Accusing the Medical Examiner of making a political decision reeks of desperation.

Upper East Side

I was 22 years old 25 years ago and race relations between the cops and the community have gotten worse in the minority communities, the dueling news conferences helped with the fallout of the death of Mr. Garner, now i know most white cops and white people in general are racist. I will be at the march August 23 with my brother the honorable Rev. Sharpton the killing of my African American brothers and sistas by white racist people have to stop. All my minority people if yall see a white racist cop harassing a minority person record it with your phone cam.

Upper West Side

I think race relations have improved, but are not perfect. Relations with the cops are also better. But there are repeated incidents like that with Mr. Garner and the woman who was pulled from her apartment that make you wonder if we are going backwards. The gathering with Patrick Lynch looked like a meeting of the Borough Leaders of the Mafia. What a bunch of goons. If two people can get arrested for minor acts in the incident, why are the cops and the EMTs not under arrest for Mr. Garner's death?

Port Richmond

Al sharpton is a social joke. Where is he on black on black crime or when they kill a police officer.


PBA’s Pat Lynch is part of the culture that is allowing the problems to exist! My sister is a retired detective who is 5ft 3in. tall. She never had to choke anyone! So please stop saying officers have to use a choke hold to bring a person larger than them down...IT”S INSULTING!!

Red Hook

I think relations are worser now than ever. In.the light of the videotape of eric gardner,and constant denial on the part of the pba trust between the police and the communities they serve are forever broken. Its a sad commentary on the world we live in when someone was clearly murdered for the world to see, then for it to be defended and shrugged away. where is the hunanity? I think to better reform the nypd the first thing that needs to be done is,people of the city should be able to.hold elections to pick a police commissioner.

Far Rockaway

This idea by Rev.Al sharpton has to be one of the best ideas yet because in the 60s when we wanted change we did the million man march and it spoke volumes hopefully this march will also speak volumes.


Al Sharpton is not an elected official. Doesn't he live in New Jersey? I'm not sure why anyone would want someone with such a sordid history to represent their interests. He inflames every bad situation.

Forest Hills

Most cops are arrogant, brutal and racist. Wake up NYC, this is the way it has always been.


I am a police officer. Worked in Harlem 17 years. Great citizens who like the police. Support the police. I never see rev al with youth on youth crime. Gun violence, Stop blaming the police for everything wake up NYC


It's all well and good to March but we must boycott. Everyone listens when you hit them in the pocket. We have always had problems with policing in communities of color but it has become increasingly worst since they no longer have community policing. Please invite Mr. Michael Greys, former police officer on a segment of your show to explain how a proper arrest is made if someone is resisting. He's been in that situation without fatalities.


Totally disgusting that race-baiting Al Sharpton will be marching and for what? A morbidly obsese criminal who was BREAKING the LAW and unfortunately died while resisting arrest. Stories like this are 100% disgusting and now a march ...? Great idea MARCH ... Waste more resources policing a bunch of marchers. I'm sure there are better ways to spend the TAXPAYERS dollar. So amazing when people commit crimes and then they somehow they are the victim?

East Village

Let us be clear there are some Blacks that see Sharpton as part of the problem. This is becoming about the PBA and Sharpton. When has Sharpton ever helped to bring about meaningful change? Monetary justice is what it amounts too. We are fully aware he endorsed Bratton. Yes ! There are many of us that have strong historical references, fully recognizing the characteristics of a "leader", never did it involved "a circus" like presentation ....


Police officers need to have two years of community service as opposed to two years of college. They need to learn and respect the culture of the people they are paid to protect and serve. They act like an occupying army and black people are the enemy. Sad but true.


The incident is a tragic shame that will have lasting affects on the nypd in the eyes of the public and vice versa . Both sides need to know for healing to begin with this incident is not all people are criminals to be dealt with with force,and not all police officer's are storm troopers,some are incredible public servants. The same for the ems.


Al sharpton is the one defending an illegal act. All this could have been avoided and abide by the law and not resist arrest. If you are truly innocent it will all be straighten out.

Bay Ridge

I dont know why im writing because im never heard but nothing has changed in 25 years besides ny police finding new ways to get away with racism and murder, i said a while back that this was going to be swept under a rug and thats just what the unions are trying to do, now place their families in this same situation i guarantee the tune they sing will hold A completely different tune.


When members of the NYPD are found of wrong doing, we never see Pat Lynch holding a press conference informing Members that this sort of wrong doing will not be tolerated. It seems like the days of Pat "Willie Lynch are still among us. Big ups to Al Sharpton for standing up for injustices. Keep doing the work you do. But it seems when members of the NYPD are found of wrong doing, we never see Pat Lynch holding a press conference informing Members that this sort of wrong doing will not be tolerated. It seems like the days of Pat "Willie Lynch are still among us.

James, Harlem.


I agree with the march on the Verrazano bridge I wish I could participate in it, the comment of union boss Lynch just added fuel to the rightfuly raging fire resulted by of murder of Mr. Garner, I have allways dispised the Hateful Lynch, police and community never been as bad as it is, disfunctional, disrespectful cops what they are.


Police need to be supervised just like anyone else, they talk on their cell phones while driving, they break every law they swear to uphold. They have lost respect for the community and for the people they have to protect and serve. To be searched for no reason, to be harassed is senseless. We will bring justice to our community if we start looking out for each other.


If it wasn't for Al Sharpton, victims would not have a voice. I fully support the march.

Midtown East

These cops killed someone now they are trying to act like they are above the law. We need to get them arrested and parade like everyone else.


We expose Al Sharpton for what he is..a shake down it a coincidence that with every black victim the law offices of Rubenstein and Rynecki appear on scene..coincidence..I think not..sad..where is he when white cops or victims are shot by black men..nowhere to be found..


The reason Al Sharpton can call for the arrest (and bail hearing for) of the police officer who was wrapped around Garner's neck is that if the arm around Garner's neck belonged to John Schiumo or just about any other non-police person they WOULD have been in jail; the arrest would have swiftly ensued from discovery of the video and culminated in a well publicized perp walk.


Since the days of Tawana Brawley he lost any respect. Sorry when was the last time he spoke up for a white or Asian person. He is racist and if he really cared for his fellow man and rights he would be unbiased and would gain respect instead of sheer dislike for what he is trying to do. Until then he is just putting a wedge between color.


Things appear better superficially between the police and communities. However, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, rogue police behavior pervades. Michael Jackson’s song “They Don’t Care About Us” is so appropriate! Please play it (during the break)and listen to the lyrics.

Washington Heights

The Staten Island man was a sick man with many ailments leading a life of crime. He had been involved in crimes numerous times. Show me what his family did to prove they loved him while he was alive. Did they attend to his health? Did they help him get an education or career training? Did they guide him away from criminal activities? That’s how you love someone. Sooner or later, crime and poor health will lead to dire consequences. Politicians like Sharpton, James, Baron and Williams start barking and looking to blame everyone except themselves and the families of the suspects. Tell the truth. Did the family of Eric Garner try to stop him from living a criminal life? Did they see that he ate a healthy diet? Did they monitor his doctor visits and medications? Did he respond to any of their attempts, if any, to help him? Did he love the fast life more than he loved his family? How did he support six children? Was the government supporting him, his kids, and his criminal lifestyle?


Bloomberg and Kelly worsened relations between minorities and cops with out of control stop and frisk. Bloomberg disagreed with the court that it was unconstitutional. Obviously, that’s very damaging to citizen and cop relations.

I, as a white person living in Manhattan, never witnessed even 1 stop and frisk over decades. Yet I read that they were increasing to almost 1 million a year--but never in my area of the city. There were police state tactics going on, but never where I lived. That’s a Tale of Two Cities indeed, as Deblasio said.

I am appalled at the arrogant police union speech the other day trying to divert blame, and accusing the medical examiner of politics. My heart goes out to the Garner family. I plan to join the Aug 23 march across the Verrazzano. All races and ethnic groups should turn out to make the city take notice---white, black, Latino, Asian. We all want justice and a change from the Bloomberg mind set. All races need to get out on the verazzano to show strong desire for racial justice, and to send a message to the city and the police union. I plan to do so.


I realize this is becoming a black and white issue and most people speaking out are black. But I take exception with all of this - it is not racial. This tragedy could of happened to any of us. Black or white. And the last person we need in the middle of this is Al SHarpton. He looks to divide us all.

Upper West Side

Cops are corrupt. Period!


To Tony from bay ridge. This officer was smiling and waved into the video camera. That inappropriate behavior shows a blatant disregard for Mr Garner's life!? Tony and most officers are probably good officers but these were certainly not. I agree with the caller Carol we are afraid to call the police because it may end in a death if the situation is not handled correctly.


I am a nurse and my biggest issue is that all of those first reponders stood there and did nothing. Tony says he knows that cop didn't mean to hurt him but if that was the case, why didn't he or anyone start CPR.


The fact of the matter is why do people continue to support Non productive member of society like Mr. Garner who suck up tax dollars collecting all this public benefits and claim there to sick to work. However he can stand on a street corner every day. Can someone answer that question?


Everybody realizes the lead "cheerleader" on each side should just step aside. Everyone remembers Sharpton's role in Tawana Brawley, the Freddy's fire, and the Crown Heights riots. On the other side, Lynch comes off as a total moron and an embarrassment to the NYPD. They hurt their respective sides by continuing to be front and center.


Horrified that recent caller Officer Tony, just said that the real problem is that the COMMUNITY doesn't know how to interact with the police. Seriously?!? Classic blame the victim.


I can understand the need for better police/community relations but can we all stop for a moment and remember what triggers these incidents - people's continued insistence on knowingly breaking the law and then resisting arrest. Where is the respect for the law? Why doesn't Sharpton focus on encouraging lawfulness instead of trying to keep the police from doing their job?

Upper East Side

I'm in déjà vu - is this 1999 and Amadou Diallo? It's fifteen years later and I'll be joining another march across the brooklyn bridge for an NYPD that protects and serves all New Yorkers. How many have died since the last march for justice?


With all the cops in their effort to arrest--their were enough cops to grab each hand of Mr. Gardner and cuff! Mr Gardner had two hands--two hands. The deadly choke hold was not necessary!


What happened was disgusting, these are the people who are supposed to protect us! And absolutely nothing will happen to these cops; this is exactly why cops will continue to be the bullies of New York.


Mr Gardner did not bring on his death regardless of his health. If you beat up a 90 yr old that person is more likely to die than a much younger person. People on death row wait up to 20 yrs before getting executed this man died unexpectedly over cigarettes. They go after easy target to build up their brownie points if you will for a promotion.


Eric Garner is Dead because of Cops gone wild. No one should be killed for selling lucies& other broken window incidents. We all know that this would never happen to a white citizen!


wether he had breathing problems or weight problems watch the video you see him getting ready to pounce like a tiger before hand its all in his body language and about lynch the police union of course will back their own people, look at the law if i am held accountable then as a human being they should be held just as responsible, an accident it may have been but that doesnt change that its still considered a homicide.

Forest Hills

I believe the the problem is that PEOPLE'S behavior in NYC has worsened, they tend to REBEL against the LAW on a normal Basis. Also, the POLICE OFFICERS need more training in LAW especially in the area of Civilian Rights.


I think Sharpton should stop making everything a race issue! People should respect the officers who risk their lives to protect us. They should not resist arrest. This world is full of ignorant people. Parents and should teach their children the proper way to interact with the police. I have never seen a group go out and protest when an officer gets injured or killed. Why are their lives less important?


I respect the NYPD. This particular cop looks like he wanted to practice MMA techniques on a bigger opponent.


most police don’t have any regard towards improper arrest techniques because they know that there is no punishment for being unproffessionel.


No choke hold no death. They teach verbal judo why didn't the use that first.


Why isn't the pba rep mentioning that this one Staten island precinct has more law suits against it for misconduct than all the other precincts in Staten island combined ?
Or that this same officer is already being sued in multiple other cases for unnecessary physical violence on the job? Does the pba commissioner realize that he's ruining the credibility of his organization by refusing to acknowledge the use of a blatant choke hold?
Does the pba commissioner not recognize a long line of behavioral issues and racial hatred that these officers exhibit? No wonder the criminals get away with crime , the cops can't even find a crime on video tape that everyone else can see clear as day.


The Eric Garner case is of course Tragic. But lets look at it for what it is. Mr. Garner was a Career Criminal. He had been arrested numerous times for the same crime. He was usually slapped on the wrist and released. Had Mr. Garner been in any other country he would have been sentenced, and in all probability would not continue on his criminal ventures. Al Sharpton is an exploiter of racial situations. He brings no intellect to the table. Just rabble rouse. The fact that Mr. Garner was grossly over weight, asthmatic, and had other medical condition contributed to his demise. The law is the law, regardless if Mr. Sharpton agrees or disagrees. The fact that criminal behavior was evident brings Police legally into the picture. Police officers are sworn to uphold the law. Mr. Garners death is a sad and tragic outcome of his own disregard for the law.


Just want to say cops have such little regard for people of color especially black men, it seems its over 95 percent of black men that gets killed by cops. That should speak volumes. This is purely racism and no one is doubting that. I've heard on numerous times officers saying shoot first ask questions later


when I first came to NY city about 15 years ago, I was robbed in front of Macy's. A gang snatched my bag and ran away. I fall down and my chin hit the ground. I still have a scar on my face. Thanks for the police officers, NY is much safer place to live now. For the last 15 years, I haven't seen any police officer acting inappropriate force against innocent man. The victim who accidently died was a criminal; it is ridiculous that some people says that police officer killed innocent man. He was a sick man and also was a criminal.


Hey Tony frm bay ridge, it's expected frm yu to feel for one of ur collies as yu do, even as clearly seen, this cops performance is totally a legitimate fact that authority jst isn't respected, but abused, and used, for reasons other than true justice. #99 was already premeditating his actions, he might not had woke up to perform this backstage act, but he sure sized him up for it!

Park Hill

What video was Pat Lynch watching. Lynch's press comments about his "assesment" on Garner's case made me so mad with the idiotic stuff he was saying I started yelling at the TV "BUT HE WAS NON-COMBATIVE"

The fact that Lynch had the gall to speak such hyprocrises - may be he needs retraining on continuing to justify the same type of "ole boys club" way of thinking that these same cops showed - I wouldn't be surprised had Lynch been on the scene of this horrible and routine arrest gone bad, that he probably would have said the same thing said at the press conference.

The Cops need to unanimously ask for Pat Lynch's resignation, I would certainly not want him representing me as my union rep much want to be in the same room with him at an arbitration. Pathetic.

After the dust has settled the bottom line is We need the Cops. The criminals. YES the criminals have an upperhand on the Cops these days and its becoming some very DARK DAYS living and working in NYC. On both sides clearer heads have to prevail and in order to continue to maintain order so that NYC won't become the next crime capital. What happened to Mr. Garner was deplorable but what can happen worse is the Police not given a rats ass whether we are safe or not -- and how do we justify that and pray that never happens?

And to our illustrious Mayor son of Dante, I didn't vote for you - hope your up for the many challenges that will continue to be unleashed at your feet every hour on the half hour - the rosary beads is on its way to you at Gracie Manson, your gonna need it. Brother Al you can forget about the Cops protecting your a$$ - your card has definitely been revoked - Keep Hope Alive.

Bronx Resident | long-time Queens native

Police Union guy Patrick Lynch is a bigot in denial. Whatever white cops do involving black people is alright. What happen to Eric Gardener would have never happened to a white male. The only difference I see between NYC cops and street criminals is that the one side have badges, and can legally carry guns.

These so-called low level crimes is just another way to wreck a blackman's life by putting them in the system (via the "Broken Windows Theory"). I am now 72 years old; I was arrested at 64 years old and charged with beating up my landlord who was 6'5' weighing 260 lbs. with no disabilities. I am 5'7" 170 lbs. and was sickly (via being a 911 responder) at the time. The landlord lied because he wanted me out in order to raise the rent for a
roach/rodent infested studio apartment.

I got a police record and was subsequently rejected for a job as a Taxi-Limousine Inspector. I never had a police record prior to that. There are some dirty cops. Decent Police Officers

As far as I'm concerned New York is UpSouth. People I know respect the Firemen and despise the cops. I pray that the thug-cop goes to trial, be found guilty, and his convict number has 99 in it.

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