NYC mayor turns to clergy to heal rift over police choke hold

Reverend Al Sharpton speaks next to Cardinal Timothy Dolan (L) and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (2nd L) during a news conference after an interfaith roundtable meeting on strengthening police-community relations with members of the city's clergy in Manhattan, August 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz


(Reuters) – ny Mayor Invoice de Blasio turned to the town’s non secular leaders on Wednesday to lend a hand heal relations between minority communities after a black man on Staten Island died final month after police put him in a choke cling.

De Blasio held a private meeting along with his police commissioner and a dozen Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergymen. Afterwards they held a press conference that now and then sounded extra like a prayer provider, with repeated paeans to the importance of team spirit.

The experience was once in many ways a do-over for de Blasio, whose seven-month-old mayoralty faces its first civil-rights check within the death of Eric Garner.

A an identical roundtable assembly with clergy three weeks in the past was once memorable mostly for its pictures of the mayor and Invoice Bratton, the police commissioner, sitting stone-faced because the Reverend Al Sharpton chastised them. Sharpton, the civil rights chief, was once representing Garner’s household.

Garner, a black, Forty Three-year-outdated father of six, died after police used a banned choke hang on him while arresting him for peddling loose cigarettes on Staten Island closing month.

His demise has become part of a bigger national debate about how American police use pressure, in particular on electorate who should not white, which has intensified after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teen this month in Ferguson, Missouri.

“We Would Like this to be a transcendent moment for the city,” de Blasio said on Wednesday all over the press conference, which was once a hotter affair than the earlier session.

“We consider in a god that may deliver good out of evil,” mentioned Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of latest York, who hosted the meeting at his reputable place of dwelling behind St Patrick’s Cathedral.

But The clergymen known that even the warmest language was no longer sufficient by way of itself, in keeping with Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid. “We did not come collectively for a Kumbaya moment,” he mentioned. One priest advised town’s church buildings, mosques and synagogues can have a day where they invite in police officers so congregations could meet and thank them.

De Blasio, whose spouse, Chirlane McCray, chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Boost New York city, also attended the meeting, was asked how the message would reach much less observant citizens.

“I’m Hoping individuals don’t misunderstand what moves the vast majority of the people of this city,” de Blasio stated. “They strongly weigh the messages from their clergy leaders.”

The mayor and Sharpton, who’s prime a protest march over Garner’s dying on Saturday, appeared on warmer terms.

“We shouldn’t have to agree on the whole thing, but we don’t have to be unpleasant,” Sharpton said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Enhancing with the aid of Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler)

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