NEW YORK — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday the deaths of unarmed black men in recent NYPD incidents are not comparable to what happened in Ferguson, Mo., nor are the states of police-community relations.
He compared the violent unrest in Missouri after a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown with the simultaneous, but relatively calm, demonstrations in Manhattan.
“Obviously, it’s been a very tortured path in Ferguson,” de Blasio said at an unrelated news conference in the Bronx. “We approach policing and the relationship between police and community very differently here in New York City, so I was very, very sad.”
De Blasio said he doesn’t draw parallels between Brown’s death and those of Eric Garner, who died July in Staten Island after a police officer placed him in a chokehold, and Akai Gurley, fatally shot last week in a Brooklyn stairwell by an officer in what police called an apparent accidental gun discharge.
“Each and every incident is different,” he said.
The mayor condemned a protester who splattered NYPD Commissioner William Bratton with fake blood in Times Square during protests Monday night, calling it “a cowardly and inappropriate act.”
Speaking at NYPD headquarters, Bratton downplayed the incident but called the demonstrator — who was arrested and identified by police as Diego Avanez, 26, of Brooklyn — a “professional agitator who I hope soon will be a professional resident of Rikers Island if we have successful prosecutions.”
There were more protests Tuesday. A crowd of about 50 people demonstrated outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, and 100 gathered last night in Union Square.
De Blasio would not share his opinions on the grand jury decision on Brown’s death or the one still to come on Garner’s death, saying it’s “not appropriate” for someone in his position to do so.
Meanwhile, about a dozen members of the City Council made clear their disappointment in the Ferguson outcome, staging a walkout at City Hall on a full council meeting.
“Black lives matter in Ferguson, Missouri. Black lives matter in the stairwell of our NYCHA communities. Black lives matter on the streets of Staten Island. And black lives matter in this chamber,” they chanted.
(Matthew Chayes, Maria Alvarez and Ivan Pereira contributed to this story.)
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