NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Rev. Al Sharpton’s planned march across the across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in response to the police-custody death of Eric Garner has fueled a round of finger-pointing and pass the buck rarely seen in the annals of New York City.
As CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio has declined to get involved in the controversy over the planned march, which critics said would create a traffic disaster.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday there are a number of concerns associated with the possible march. But he said the immediate decision to allow the march is up to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority or Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, which own and operate the bridge.
“It has not been done, I think as you’re aware, other than for a bicycle race and the marathon each year,” Bratton told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb. “There are significant safety issues on the bridge, if I understand it — expansion joint issues — and a very significant cost to prepare a bridge for a march that’s never happened in the past.”
Bratton said the MTA would also be responsible if something went wrong during the march.
“The liability is on them,” he said. “If there were to be an injury, et cetera, that’s ultimately a cost that would be borne by the state or the authority.”
But the MTA said it is not actually responsible for making the decision.
“The MTA closes the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to traffic only twice a year, when New York City requests to use the bridge for special events,” the agency said in a statement. “If New York City requests that the MTA closes the bridge to accommodate this event, the MTA will be cooperative.”
Some Staten Island elected officials have raised their voices Thursday in opposition to the planned march and demanded that someone make a decision to stop it. Sharpton announced plans Wednesday to lead the Aug. 23 demonstration.