Tags: NYC Police Shot | Al Sharpton | Bill de Blasio | police | new york | racism

Al Sharpton to NY Officials: 'We Are Not Anti-Police'

Image: Al Sharpton to NY Officials: 'We Are Not Anti-Police'
(Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 07:40 AM

Some of New York's top Democratic politicians attended Al Sharpton's annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration event on Monday.

Besides Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who took part by phone — and Mayor Bill de Blasio, also present were Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Charles Rangel, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James, The New York Times reported.

Sharpton used the occasion to argue that he was not anti-police. Later in the day, he took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Brooklyn site where Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley gunned down officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in December.

"We are not anti-police," Sharpton said. "We respect police who put their lives on the line every day," he told some 350 followers crowded into his National Action Network offices in Harlem, according to The Daily Caller.

Sharpton said he was for "good policing," and added that questioning police behavior "does not make you anymore anti-police than every time a black is arrested makes you racist."

He said it was time to "start talking like adults about these issues and get out of this back and forth schoolyard mentality."

De Blasio and Sharpton also used the occasion to hug and praise each other, the New York Post reported.

The controversial activist said he and de Blasio "don't agree on everything," which was fine.

"We didn't want a flunky. We wanted a mayor and we got a mayor that would talk to us and respect us and we are grown enough to deal with a person who can disagree with us but respect us at the same time," he said, the Caller reported.

De Blasio spoke about how the city was a safer, fairer place under his leadership. In 2014, he said police conducted 47,000 stop-and-frisk interventions versus 700,000 annually in some previous years, according to the Caller. The practice has been decried by African-American leaders as humiliating and prejudicial.

"A fairer society means police and community can come together," said de Blasio, according to The Times. "Respect the people who protect us, and we want them to respect each and every New Yorker."

Sharpton pointed out that Michael Bloomberg also attended Sharpton's annual MLK event when he was mayor, though he faced jeers from the audience. As mayor (1977-89), Ed Koch kept Sharpton at arm's length. His relationship with the city's first African-American mayor, David Dinkins (1989-93), was at times strained.

Sharpton's role in the 1991 Crown Heights riots was seen by some as contributing to Dinkins' re-election bid loss. Rudy Giuliani (1993-2001) did not attend Sharpton-organized events.

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Some of New York's top Democratic politicians attended Al Sharpton's annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration event on Monday.
Al Sharpton, Bill de Blasio, police, new york, racism
Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 07:40 AM
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