Meanwhile, New Poll Paints Less-Than-Rosy Picture Of Race Relations In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)The Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed Mayor Bill de Blasio to his annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, making it a point to say it’s a mayoral tradition.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it was the first time Mayor de Blasio appeared in public with Sharpton since a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the Eric Garner apparent chokehold case.

“Mature people know you can disagree without being disagreeable,” Sharpton said at the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis reported.

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De Blasio has faced criticism, most notably from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, for being too close to Sharpton. The police union has claimed Sharpton has fanned the flames of anti-police sentiment, as has de Blasio.

But as WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, de Blasio received a round of applause that brought a grin to his face as he took the podium.

De Blasio chose both the venue and the occasion to build ties with the NYPD – passionately attacking those who attack police officers.

“I think it’s up to all of us to say to those who purport – who purport to want change — if you’re saying something vicious and vile to a police officer, you’re not making change. You’re not moving us forward. You’re holding us back,” the mayor said. “Respect the people who protect us.”

Mayor de Blasio invoked the words of Dr. King to make his point.

“Dr. King did not tolerate hate speech,” he said. “We have to teach that message today.”

Sharpton also tried to make amends to police officers, some of whom see him as a lightning rod for negative feelings toward them.

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“We are not anti-police,” Sharpton said. “We respect police who put their lives on the line every day.”

But not everyone thought it was a good idea for the mayor to appear with Sharpton.

“I think it raises the question of sincerity,” said Edward Mullins, president of the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association. “I think that is something that we need to look at again, as to whether he is still pulling the strings at City Hall, or if there’s a genuine friendship there that’s going to impact the city overall.”

At a separate MLK Day event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, also stuck up for the mayor, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

“When it’s time to determine what policies are going to impact the people of the city of New York, I did not elect the PBA; I elected de Blasio,” Adams said.

The ex-cop also defended the mayor’s remarks last month that he and his wife have cautioned their son, Dante to be wary of police.

“That was a conversation that I had with my 19-year-old son many times,” Adams said.

The mayor’s remarks came as a new Siena College poll found that two thirds of New Yorkers feel that race relations in the city are only fair or poor, and that de Blasio and Sharpton both contribute to the problem.

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A total of 48 percent of New Yorkers statewide said de Blasio makes race relations worse, while only 18 percent said he makes things better. A total of 57 percent said Sharpton makes things worse, while 15 percent says he makes things better.