Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: Police Chief Denies Role In Garner Death; Mayor De Blasio's Leadership Questioned

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I think Mayor de Blasio is trying to be impartial and listen to all sides, which is admirable, but at some point, he needs to be a vocal leader on this issue. Eric Garner's name and case has entered New York City's lexicon, like Abner Louima, Sean Bell, and Anthony Baez. As today's Times article points out, it may be time for de Blasio to act as a mayor rather than a moderator.

How is Mayor de Blasio handling the fallout from the death of Eric Garner? Not too well, according to the New York Times. The newspaper reported the mayor "is struggling to take command of a controversy," and his round-table discussion with clergy members "quickly turned into a spectacle." The article said de Blasio's leadership on his "first civil rights test" has been "interpreted as weak."

The questions about Mayor de Blasio come as the NYPD's Chief of Department denies a report he personally ordered a crackdown on the sale of individual cigarettes in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island. Chief Philip Banks told NY1 he "did not personally direct anyone in the NYPD to take any actions." The 43-year-old Garner died three weeks ago today after being arrested for the low-level crime.

Three weeks after the death of Eric Garner, what piece of information do you want investigators to focus on? How would you grade Mayor de Blasio's leadership and handling of this case? What's your reaction to the highest-ranking uniformed cop in the NYPD allegedly being responsible for ordering the crackdown on this low-level crime?

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Why is he denying it? The cops chokeheld him and he died of asphyxiation for the most part. Own up to it and deal with it. Punish the cops and EMTs.
This is horrible. New police chief please.

West Chelsea

I sort of pity the mayor, at least a little, even though I didn't vote for him. He ran promising to be everything to everybody, especially to the city's African-American population, and now he can't deliver, and they feel he has to.

But the truth is, he doesn't dare, because what they want would destroy law enforcement in this city and send us back to the conditions of the late 1970s. And he also ran on a promise of maintaining the record of safety and relatively low crime amassed by his two predecessors, and he needs the police department to continue doing its job aggressively if that is to happen. And if crime starts to go up, he knows that the 83% of eligible voters who gave him a "pass" on the last election will turn out in droves to throw him out of office next time.

The fact is, this is where the rubber hits the road in terms of nitty-gritty sociology -- the African-American community is parading its perceived "victim-hood" at the hands of (mostly) white police officers (while ignoring the reality of black-on-black crime); and Mr. De Blasio has no answer to that misbegotten vision of society, except to cower and hope that his advisers find a way to split the difference and live to advise another, quieter, less tense day.

Upper West Side

Chief Banks shouldn't be worried about low level crimes, there is nothing wrong with selling loose cigarettes Mr Garner needed money that's why he was doing it Chief Banks should be worried about high level crimes like abduction of kids, Mayor Diblasio is not a leader when it comes to civil rights he deserves a F, he's supposed to be a mayor for everyone not just the white people. The piece of information that i was the investigators to focus on is when Mr. Garner said he couldn't breathe why didn't the EMTs and the NYPD take that handcuffs off and give him CPR that's the logical thing to do instead of leaving him on the sidewalk to die. I will attend the rally with the honorable Rev. Sharpton across the V bridge this is 2014 RACISM HAVE TO STOP.


DeBlasio is not handling any problems that come up at all and in particular this case. As soon as Sharpton was given power then it escalated as soon as he was invited to the meeting. He threatened and acted as if he were the one in charge and threw many statements in the mayors face and once you give the reins to someone like him it becomes a lost cause. We all know and it's no secret that he will start a riot and block the passage to Staten Island and bring everyone's life with their little responsibilities they have for that day to a halt.
I am fully aware that if gets his money he will pull back and if not he will reek havoc in many peoples lives.
He's completely out of control now. The visions he has which to me should be only a dream and that is to be mayor and or police commissioner. [Maybe both]
It seems as though the blame game is being played again against the precinct's captain.
We get orders on our jobs, etc. every day and if something happens it doesn't mean that you must point the blame at the supervisor. It would depend on what they ask you to do but this story has more legs and it is wearing thin.
This mayor and his administration are not ready for prime time.
This lady from the ACLU is of no help and is nothing more than a hindrance to every cause that she gripes about. It never seems to me that she is fighting for individual rights at all. She is contrary to every issue as long as it pleases her.

Thank you John,


I'm not surprised. DeBlastoff is ignorant of individual rights and the meaning of freedom. All he wants to do is pick people's pockets with ever increasing taxes to support projects that he has concocted out of nothing.

What I'd like to see is an arrest and incarceration of the cops and the EMT personnel who are responsible for Mr. Garner's death. Then and only then will I believe justice is being done.

Port Richmond

Why do we have to arrest someone just for selling cigarettes ,what happened to summonses


Mr. DiBlasio is clearly not in charge. Al Sharpton is mayor and he didn't even have to run! DiBlasio has no backbone. He is no leader and a weak human being. I hope and hope the real mayor closes the bridge so people will get mad enough to get a real leader in city hall next time.

What I would like to know what under the table deals the fake mayor is working out with the real person in charge, Mr. Sharpton.

Bay Ridge

I dont beleive that de Blassio behaved as he campained he is just a supporting tool of the police department, all police officers should be charged crininally, and Bratton should resign, heis grade is a F-, furthermore if I think the cops not right I shall resist the arrest regardless of the consequences, would go as far to grab the cops gun and hold them until my attorney arrives

Joco from Sunnyside

Why did the police confront Mr.Garner? Allegedly he was selling loose cigarettes, were there buyer's? Did he even have cigarettes on him? Understanding he had an arrest record, was that "probable cause" his prior arrests?

As for Deblasio the moment he chose to bring Bratton back to NYC when there were two qualified NYC Police officer's, of Black/Latino descent , he lost any future vote of mine. I hope Deblasio, Bratton, and Sharpton go off into the sunset...


Crystal- Red Hook The Guardians Association gives classes at town meetings about how to react when police stop you. I also want to know is someone looking into why the police are following the guy who took the video?

De Blasio needs to step it up and become a leader rather than just another political glad handler. His task is a formidable one. The NYPD needs to be transformed from a paramilitary organization into a community service resource. That requires the termination of dinosaurs like Bratton and the hiring of college-educated officers. But above all, New York cops need to change their attitude. It’s not them against us. This city belongs to all of us and we need to work together to make it great.

Michael in Greenpoint

The deserves a u for his leadership regarding the garner case.

Epadilla, far.Rockaway

I think the MTA should absolutely allow Al Sharpton's
march over the Verazzano Bridge--as long as the marchers
all have to pay the toll like everybody else.


One thing about this case confuses me: where are the cigarettes that police say Eric Garner was selling? How does the police know those cigarettes were illegal in the first place? How can a police officer charge someone for a crime if they have no physical evidence to prove it?


Mayor deblasio proves he was not ready for a big city crisis in his handling of the eric gardner case.he doesnt want to play race politics, but this is a mayor that won the election because of civil rights abuses to minorities and his progressive is not the the time to walk on at tightrope between constituencies

Far Rockaway

Dr. King felt that some are at times more interested in order than justice. He went on to say that peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice.

We often seek false peace - don't stir the waters, action is untimely or unwise - those who say that are often not on the the side on continuous injustice.

Dissent and creative protest are what makes for a more perfect union that is beholden by men and women who are imperfect in every way.


Mayor DiBlasio is a fair, intelligent, man of vision, who is not jumping to conclusions. He is allowing the system and the process to take it's course.
"Broken Windows is necessary.
The march over the bridge is unnecessary.
HOWEVER, Mr. Garner did die unnecessarily. The police in that situation should have used other forms of force, certainly not the one that we've seen. They should be terminated from their positions. They should not have to face jail time though, as Mr. Garner was resisting arrest.

Alex from Bay Ridge

The place to contest an arrest is court and not the street. Eric Garner had over 20 arrests and was well versed with how the criminal justice system operates. The defense attorney was disingenuous in saying the police should have issued Garner a ticket. His identification and whether or not he was wanted must be ascertained before any summons can be issued. Non-compliance with an officer's directives would preclude any street-level eligibility for a summons. We need more accountability for an individual's actions when dealing with the police in order to properly assess whether an officer should have issued a summons in lieu of arrest.


Mayor Diblasio will be tested. I don’t think his 25MPH plan is particularly good since it is an unrealistically slow speed to drive at and we need test to show it works. It mayl only result in revenue generation via fines. When it comes to the NYPD, it is about time to clean house Good cops have nothing to worry about but having thousands of complaints with the CCRB and only a handful of them being looked into, denotes a problem. I am sure no cop wakes up knowing what will happen but they DO know that choke hold is illegal in itself. So claiming stress or ignorance is no different than when a civilian claims that. We just need to weed out the officers who are likely to over react and retrain them or let them go. Cops have a lot of discretion in their calls. Why arrest a man for suspicion of selling cigarettes for a few cents?

Ralph from Queens

The mayor’s lack of management and leadership skills is already quite apparent. Surrounding himself with the likes of Sharpton will only condemn this city to increased racial tension, more crime, and economic instability. It’s a shame that with all of the strides that were made to better NYC during the last two administrations, we are now faced with a retreat back to chaos.

Forest Hills

This whole situation is the result of 20 years of gestapo style policing in neighborhoods of color. It was started by the Giuliani administraion. That's why we had Sean Bell, that's why the soldier was killed in his car in Queens last year. It's an extremely racist department and it has been for decades. Manhattanites have no clue as to the atrocities that happen in the outer boroughs. The city got so comfortable with violating the rights of blacks and latinos that it led to stop n frisk, a clear violation of the country's constitution. Those cops acted in the fashion that they did because the department has been allowed to act like that for decades! It is no surprise that the US District attorney released a scathing report of outrageous abuse on teenagers in Rikers Island. It would be consistent with New York law enforcement. The other problem is that they have made everything an arrestable offense. Safe New York needs to be decriminalized. New York is not safe because of the NYPD. It's safe because it has the most millionaires. Crime is related to poverty not race!!

Even "Chief Wiggins" on The Simpsons isn't as much of a police stereotype as this PBA guy Lynch. When Lynch is holding the microphone with one hand talking about "perpawtwators", he should be holding a doughnut in his other hand!


I understand the caller Michael who states that the NYPD has a difficult job. For this tragedy though they appeared to have the situation under control with many police on hand. I agree with a caller from a previous night who had mentioned about the disproportionate use of force compared to a supposed quality of life crime which had taken place.

If they want to pursue other quality of life in a similar setting why doesn't NYPD go to any shopping plaza on a weekend on Staten Island and pursue the illegal dvd movies which are being hawked outside these retail establishments. This is probably more significant in terms of crime compared to one person who was supposedly selling a few cigarettes.

John, Oakwood

Let’s start reforming the NYPD by prohibiting cops from taking credit for crime reduction. Police react to crime. They do not reduce it. In fact, their them against us attitude contributes to an atmosphere of conflict and criminality.

Michael in Greenpoint


Kim, Middle Village

Mayor DeBlasio's performance as Mayor is outstanding. Individuals who claim otherwise do not have interest in the lives and struggles of common NYC residents.


Mayor DeBlasio had many reverends and and comm. Leaders as well as political leaders for Staten island but the news only chooses to concentrate on rev. Sharpton.

David Harlem

This is not an issue of crisis management by a mayor, nor should that become the main issue here. I think it's a shame that people are focusing on the Mayor. This has been happening for decades DiBlasio just got here


We have too many white cops policing black neighborhoods. That needs to change. I don't think the cops meant to kill the gentleman but they are so used to crossing the line and getting away with it that they don't know when to stop. I don't blame mayor deblasio he inherited this messed up police department from his predecessor.


In review of everyone comments tonight- there seems to be a correlation between which neighborhood one lives in and their point of view. The neighborhoods where there are many families of police officers (like some areas of Staten Island) support anything that police officers do and seem to hate /fear Al Sharpton or anyone that supports the rights of all New Yorkers.

Michael from Clinton Hill

I'm a New York City sanitation worker who works in South Jamaica on the midnight to 8 shift.

I'm always seen police activity on Sutphin Boulevard where I clean. I think the police in this area a lot better trained in handling situations.

I really can't hold the mayor accountable for this unfortunate occurrence.

However, my concern is the arrests of both the person who videoed the event for weapons possession and his wife for assult.

This is a clear case of state sanctioned witness tampering.

This hurts everyone regardless of race, creed, or color and needs to be addressed.

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