Photo courtesy National Action Network
Incoming police commissioner Dermot Shea met with the Rev. Al Sharpton and other community leaders at the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem Monday morning.
"Very fitting that I'm here, I think," Shea said, "because I am the police commissioner to be of not the police department, but of all New York."
The meeting was an hour and fifteen minutes long, and Shea said it was productive.
"A first step in having a collaborative relationship going forward," he said.
A week ago, after news of his appointment broke, Sharpton demanded an immediate meeting with Shea.
"We agreed on some issues. We disagreed on others. And we said we are going to disagree, but we are going to dialogue. We are not going to tell you what you want to hear, we are going to tell you what you need to hear," Sharpton said after the meeting.
Shea is the third Irish-American in a row to be named police commissioner by Mayor Bill de Blasio despite a more diverse department. First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, who is African-American, was passed over once again.
Sharpton said it was surprising.
"We said, I think clearly, that we did not understand why he was overlooked for the second time, and we intend to talk to the mayor about that," he said.
Sharpton says they also discussed policing in communities of color and changes in the criminal justice system.
Donna Lieberman from the New York Civil Liberties Union attended the meeting.
"I wouldn't describe it as tension, but I wouldn't describe it as a love fest," she said. "I think it was an honest conversation."
Shea is not only meeting with African-American leaders. The commissioner met with Latino elected officials during the Somos conference in San Juan last weekend.