De Blasio Joins Sharpton at MLK Rally

Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP
Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP

Bedfellows Bill de Blasio and Al Sharpton appeared together at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters on Monday for the organization’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally.

Mayor De Blasio, appealing to a constituency that believes more strongly than either the Latino or white communities that he supports cops, according to a Quinnipiac poll, tried to express his opinion that both the community at large and the NYPD should display mutual respect. He intoned, “What does every one of us want? The respect of those who serve us. But we owe them respect too,” eliciting much applause.

De Blasio had the audacity to criticize those critical of the police, asserting, “If you’re saying something vicious and vile to a police officer, you are not making change, you are not moving us forward—you are holding us back.” Perhaps the mayor forgot his own words of December 3, discussing his bi-racial son, Dante, when he slammed police, saying, “Yet, because of a history still that hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we’ve had to literally train him as families have all over this city for decades in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.” Perhaps de Blasio forgot when he termed an assault on two NYPD lieutenants “alleged.”

Meanwhile, Sharpton ripped those who criticized his relationship with de Blasio, “Unlike the popular view, Bill de Blasio and I don’t agree on everything. 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 likened the vilified de Blasio to his close buddy Barack Obama: “I watched as Barack Obama handled with grace some of the most unfair criticism, some of the most vicious, venomous attacks and he never responded. I see that same kind of grace and dignity in how this mayor has handled the most venomous, unfair stuff in the last few weeks.”

Sharpton pointed out that previous mayors, including Michael Bloomberg, attended his organization’s rallies, so de Blasio should not be criticized for doing so. Sharption said loftily, “Bloomberg and I never stopped talking. This kind of name calling and ugliness is something we should never continue in this city.”

The Quinnipiac poll stated that 69% of New Yorkers thought NYPD officers were wrong for turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio at the funerals of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were ambushed and executed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley as they sat in their patrol car December 20. The poll found Sharpton’s unfavorable rating at 53%; only 29% saw him favorably. 69% of blacks thought de Blasio backed police; 53% of Latinos agreed, while only 49% of whites thought the mayor supported the police.


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