Thursday, December 18, 2014

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The Call Blog: Mayor, Archbishop Hold Interfaith Roundtable in Wake of Eric Garner Case

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I'm not sure how much an interfaith roundtable will help, but it's another effort of this City to be empathetic and take control of the situation, a stark contrast to the handling of tensions in Missouri. Either way, the true test comes this weekend - one that many are hoping the City will pass.

Mayor de Blasio and Cardinal Timothy Dolan convened an interfaith roundtable to discuss police-community relations, days before a rally to protest the death of a Staten Island man during an attempted police arrest. The meeting, held at the Cardinal’s home, included Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Reverend Al Sharpton, and other police and religious leaders.

The summit, which was closed to cameras, appeared to be less tense than a previous gathering of police and community activists over the death of Eric Garner. The Staten Island District Attorney announced yesterday he will be bringing the case to a grand jury for criminal charges. Despite that, Reverend Sharpton says Saturday’s rally will still take place in honor of Garner and Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed teen shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s family is also expected to attend the march. Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder traveled to Ferguson today to meet with officials there and take a closer look at the investigation.

What’s your reaction to today’s interfaith meeting between police and religious leaders? Will it help make a difference in reducing tensions? Do you have any concerns over Saturday’s demonstration? Do you want the Justice Department to come to the City and investigate Eric Garner’s death?

Reply with your thoughts using the link above.

The policy enforcers should be arrest like anyone else article 6 of the constitution apply to them if u assault one of them u will be arrested they took a ethic code oath that said I won't assault intimidate harass or bully they break the law and took oaths to not do so they are public servants they are here to serve the people that's why it says we the people of the constitution judges DA they all break the law


Its disgraceful you even gave time to people excusing the police. It is a fact they were breaking police protocol.

They are responsible for murder.


Mr. Garner, morbidly obese brought down on the hard surface (sidewalk) as if he was a wild animal by (5) or more policemen, squashing his head into the pavement, chocking his windpipe shut, sitting on him and holding him down while the poor man pleads for air. When he said to them "I can't breathe", did they think that he was trying to trick them and jump up and run away? They could have eased up so that the poor man might catch his breath. Were they that afraid because the man was big? What kind of policemen are they? Aren't they trained to detect if someone is a real threat or really is having trouble breathing? A PACK OF COWARDS I hope they get jail time but I know they won't.


First, what does the Michael Brown case have to do with the Staten Island district attorney's office? This is just more publicity for Al Sharpton -- he might not be much above the intellectual level of a trained ape, but he sure does know what tricks get him that press coverage and attention.

Second, why doesn't the Justice Department investigate the 12 people shot in the city last weekend, or are those shootings (and whatever deaths resulted) somehow "okay" because it was primarily black-on-black crime? (so no one's rights -- other than the right to life, and the pursuit of happiness -- were violated).

Till someone answers that, this is all one big sick joke, mostly played by Sharpton and company on the rest of the population.

Upper West Side

Everyone needs god in their lives, without God people can be cruel and hurtful towards other people. I hope the interfaith meeting did help to reduce the tension between the NYPD and the minority community, I hope the demonstration on Saturday will be a peaceful one, the Justice Department do need to come here and investigate Mr Garner's death because #99 used the chokehold that the NYPD said was off limits he along with the EMT's killed Mr.Garner they should be put in jail for MURDER!!!!!! they left him to die on the sidewalk. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Garner and Brown family R.I.P. Michael and Eric


I'm all for the rally and legal investigation of the killing of Mr. Garner. I think all the cops and EMS personal involved should be prosecuted and jailed at Rikers Island. The cop that took Mr. Garner to the ground and choked him to death should get two life terms, one for violating the purpose of his job, protecting people's rights and lives and the other for murdering Mr. Garner.

Re the meeting, I think it was just hokum.

Port Richmond

What I think is what the hell is Al Sharpton doing at that meeting? There are no words to describe these people. We Catholics donate and Sharpton empties out the baskets.
This is the Mayor, Police Commissioner and Dolan having a meeting with Sharpton.
Your phones must have been ringing off the hook since this topic was printed today.

I had better stop now because this is more than a slap in the face. So disrespectful to us American Citizens that were born and still live here and pay taxes and this is what we get.

Words can't express how I feel.

Everything in this damn city is about two things only = MONEY AND POLITICS !!! ALL OF YOU HAVE NO SHAME AT ALL.


What they will not do for people of color.

Park Hill

Considering Sharpton's history, I don't see how his presence is constructive.

Where did Sharpton get his divinity status from...The First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship?


Something is wrong when a protest is planned yet again because of the tragic death of another black man at the hands of NYPD but Ramarley Graham's mother said today her son's death has yet to be addressed. What good is demonstrations if it does not lead to real change. Will this meeting be more rhetoric with no real change.

As Mel from Upper West Side stated,
where was the "unity" and "protest" from the UFT and the Al Sharpton's of NYC when Detectives Nemorin and Andrews were gunned down merely around the corner from the Garner incident??? Not 1 peep, not 1 protest!


Im a caucasian male, and personally I think that the Rev Al Sharpton is one of the most intelligent & knowledgable individuals I've ever had to chance to interview. The man is a genius and he should most definitely be involved in this process.

That being said, today's meeting will only prove relevant to the extent that social media is involved. Facebook was used to start the Egyptian revolution. Unless these religious leaders can light up the blogosphere it will have little long term effect.


If it wasn't for Al Sharpton, there would be no march and Eric Garner would have no voice. I for one am very happy that he continues to speak on the Garner's behalf.

Midtown East

I've been seeing the hate and rage against Al Sharpton too, mostly from old white people. They bring up Tawana Brawley and start ranting about how Sharpton is an opportunist and a "race-baiter." They seem to want to blame him for all the racial discord and tension in the nation, but what they don't want to talk about is the actual racial discord and tension in the nation. He's a polarizing figure, and he's an excuse to avoid the deeper issues.

In short, you don't have to be a racist to hate Al Sharpton, but it definitely seems to help.


Even though I think Al Sharpton has greatly matured as evidenced by his advising the knockout game participants to stop; when there is something that tends to be seen solely in a racial way, i think of Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley, I think I am not alone in this. His racism blinded him to other possible interpretations of the situation and I believe, harmed a DA .

Upper West Side

Was Garner's death a crime? I do not know. For I do not think we should all assume, or predict the role of Judge; Jury; & Executioner. But as a retired law enforcement officer, it is refreshing to see PBA President Lynch publicly standing by his members who truly need him. I only wish COBA members had the same quality in their union when faced with similar harsh public criticism.


If all of those religious organizations reached out to criminals and pull them into their congregations, perhaps there would be less crime and less shooting incidents.

Forest Hills

I as a Caucasian male can admit that there is a war out there against Black men. Police are too trigger happy due to White paranoia and fear, due to stereotypes, of the Black male. We need accountability; police officers who go beyond the necessary and harm or kill Black men need to be held accountable. Marches and conversations are necessary for people to vent, to release their feelings – it’s cathartic.


I don't expect there to be any incidents or any violence. The people that are involved have shown great restraint including the Garner family and the families of past victims of police brutality who are planning to attend the march. My question is why are they marching to the Staten Is. District attorney's office on a Saturday when the office is closed and no one is there. I agree with Ron. A conviction is in order and not settling the case by throwing the family a couple of million dollars and nothing changes in the police dept.


I am a real NewYorker and the killing of unarmed teen as well as minorities in Nyc and Ferguson Missouri in wrong especially when an unarmed minority teen and unarmed Black man has both hands in the are and is shot.How would police like if the shoe was on the other foot and it was done to them


I protested with Occupy Wall Streetee 2011-2012 -- Police of every color and creed attacked and ran roughshod over peaceful protesters of every race, colorb& creed.

It disturbs me when so many rally around racial injustice It is a smokescreen -- the true division is the rich vs. everyone else.

Police are just the foot soldiers paid to maintain the status quo.


Just thought I would share this with you and the viewers. Ramsey Orta, who filmed a police officer fatally choking Eric Garner, cannot testify to the Grand jury because he is still in prison on some trumped up gun charges, which I am told do not have his finger prints on them. In any event, his filming of Eric garner and the “choke hold” by the police officer cannot be used in court if he is not present. Do you see the trick? THE VIDEO TAPE OF THE “CHOKE HOLD” BY THE OFFICER CANNOT BE USED IN COURT OR THE GRAND JURY TESTIMONY IF THE PERSON WHO FILMED THE INCIDENT IS NOT PRESENT TO TESTIFY. It is already set up to fail.


Echoing the other callers, you're doing a wonderful job. As for the topic:

It's like a bad joke: A rabbi, a priest, and a reverend walk into a bar, or a summit with the mayor. But what's the punchline? Eric Garner is still dead, and De Blasio and Bill Bratton are still fixating on arresting subway dancers and "broken window theory" policing. A photo op with religious leaders won't help, and is silly. A city-funded independent review of policing practices and data might. Eric Garner is Sean Bell and so on. Posing with the mayor is one thing; affecting change outside of pithy politicking is another. Here's hoping a solution that yields palpable change wins out over this.

It disturbs me when people say where is AL Sharpton when this cop is shot or this white person was murdered or robbed. Why is he expected to step outside of the charge he has placed himself in, which is a leader in the black community? The same can be said for other leaders of other communities who don't speak out on subjects outside there sphere of influence . I think this is just another case of people not use too or who dont like seeing people of color stand up and speak out.


First of all Al Sharpton is no leader of mine. Secondly, to ask for a peaceful protest as a result of a murder on tape is a reach at best. With black unemployment at a record high, police brutality, lack of education, and a broken economy (thanks Obama) frustration is at a point of no return. Anything can happen in such a brutal environment.

I don't expect there to be any incidents or any violence. The people that are involved have shown great restraint including the Garner family and the families of past victims of police brutality who are planning to attend the march. My question is why are they marching to the Staten Is. District attorney's office on a Saturday when the office is closed and no one is there. I agree with Ron. A conviction is in order and not just settling the case by throwing the family a couple of million dollars and nothing changes in the police dept. Thank you for your show we get so much info. That we don't get elsewhere.


I think it is really a Police issue! Through the years we let the police become more militarized. We as citizens have not spoke out against it. I've seen them attack not just black people as well. If memory serves me, they've attacked people during the occupy movement, especially a young white girl during a occupy rally. What we need to do is hire our police from local communities. This is one step in the right direction.

Morningside Heights

I think one problem is that cops don't see themselves as citizens of the same community. It's a us vs them attitude and it doesn't help with the increase militarization of the police.


I'm a middle age white man from manhattan that grew up in the Bronx. Police need to have over sight. I have had a few incidents where police brutality was the case but at the time my family was poor and we had no recourse.

Most officer that I went to school with were bullied and Mis fits unpopular in school. Now they get a badge and try to re create them selves as the bullies and try to extract mis placed justice for the years of abuse the suffered.

Minorities and ppl who aren't rich are victimized mostly. The ppl who have money and suffer the abuse have attorney and sue the city and get paid.

Police are here to serve the law. Mostly they bend it and make their own rules.

Is marihuana or Newport or any petty crime really worth a death sentence. Police are wicked by nature and the fact they hold a weapon gives them a false sense of power.

No all cop. But most certainly most of them

When did the police dept. become an occupation force for communities of color who work and pay city salaries! We should not have to fear asking a question or interacting with them. They should not be exempt from the same law we are subject to. They were not drafted but made a conscious decision to be a cop ,so knowing risk ,consequence and rewards ,Do your job right! Everyone is not a criminal!

I believe that the two cases in question, namely Garner and Brown must be looked at from a "What would I have done in the same situation?" framework. First the Garner case. You know that you must arrest a person who already said that they are planning to resist. Do you try to arrest him by bringing him to the floor? If yes, how would you have done it if you are not a martial artist and punching and kicking the person is out of the question? Do you wait for another officer to arrive to taze him because only certain officers have tasers? How do you get the arrest done? And how does one know that the Tazer might not have led to the same result? You know that you cannot just walk away from the situation. Second, the Brown case from what may be the facts. A very large male and his friend have caused you injury to the head through the use of a physical blow. They also try to take your firearm away from you but fail and flee. You get out of the car to pursue and then the very large male turns back and runs towards you as if he is going to run you right over. What would you do? Do you shoot and then stop if the person keeps coming at you and does not stop or do you keep shooting? You know that this person is not afraid to do you harm since he already has.

Are these cases really about race? Or would it be the same no matter what race you were? I believe that size mattered more than race in these cases.

I then look at the protests and I see criminality from robberies and looting. How does this help society? If you say the police are at fault, then why are you protesting and giving them tons of overtime money? The criminal justice system exists. Let it run its course without interfering. I am just totally baffled.

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