The Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is a required stop on the campaign trail and on the first anniversary of George Floyd’s killing; it was a chance for the Democratic candidates for Mayor to speak to a Harlem audience - many of them still worried about public safety, justice and the police.
“We want to hear substance, this is not a rally,” Sharpton told the audience at the House of Justice on Tuesday.
What You Need To Know
- Candidates made the case to this audience and to Sharpton, who for now remains undecided
- Policing, public safety, crime, housing and jobs were front and center in the discussion
- Candidates were asked if they would appoint a person of color as the next police commissioner. Some, but not all committed to it
With less than 28 days to the primary, candidates were all on the hot seat. So they made the case to this audience and to Sharpton, who for now remains undecided.
"No one has really caught on fire - both in terms of leading in the polls or leading in policy with me, enough to make an endorsement," Sharpton told NY1.
Policing, public safety, crime, housing and jobs were front and center in the discussion.
Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio was made to defend her record as chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board. She also sidestepped a question about whether she would fire police officers – not commissioners - for misconduct.
“If I were mayor today, Shea would have a pink slip," Wiley said referring to current police commissioner Dermot Shea.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams had to defend and explain his position on Stop and Frisk - a policing tactic he has said is sometimes necessary in policing, but was found to be used unconstitutionally by the NYPD.
"I don’t want the abuse of a tool that is supposed to be protecting people,” Adams said.
Candidates were asked if they would appoint a person of color as the next police commissioner. Some, but not all committed to it.
"I am not doing the paper bag check to say, let me see your skin tone, no I want to see your resume," Adams said.
Kathryn Garcia, the former Sanitation commissioner was one of the last to speak as she tries to build momentum on the endorsements of The New York Times and the New York Daily News – as well as the League of Conservation Voters on Tuesday.
"This has been a campaign that was built on my desire to help New Yorkers," Garcia said.
And Andrew Yang spoke about a Daily News cartoon which depicted him as a tourist in Times Square, saying it was particularly painful at a time when Asian Americans have been attacked in a wave of hate crimes.
"This is a painful time for New Yorkers of every background but Asian Americans are being victimized on account of being Asian," he said.
Adams might have gotten the most applause Tuesday but it remains unclear if Sharpton will decide to endorse a candidate in the race, the stakes are high in an election that continues to prove more and more unpredictable by the day.