Sharpton: De Blasio’s No Flunky Of Mine

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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National Action Network President Al Sharpton praised New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at his organization’s annual Martin Luther King Day affair Monday.

He also admonished the media for its reporting about his organizing tactics during the height of the Ferguson and Eric Garner protests.

“We are not anti-police,” Sharpton said. “We respect police who put their lives on the line every day,” he told the crowd packed into NAN’s Harlem headquarters. “Our quest has always been about police reform not police deform. We don’t want to deform the police department where they don’t effectively fight crime and don’t effectively protect citizens.”

He continued, “We are for good policing. We are just against those that we have the right to question. Every time you question a police case does not make you anymore anti-police than every time a black is arrested makes you racist. You can go at a black and it doesn’t make you racist and we can question a cop and it don’t make us anti-cop. So, let’s start talking like adults about these issues and get out of this back and forth schoolyard mentality.”

Sharpton then went after those who say that de Blasio is too close with him.

“Unlike the popular view, Bill de Blasio and I don’t agree on everything,” Sharpton said. “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.”

De Blasio is not the first mayor to attend Sharpton’s MLK event since its beginnings, a point Sharpton himself noted during his remarks. Only Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, skipped the annual occasion during his tenure as mayor of New York.

However, since Sharpton’s organization has held this event, mayors of New York were mostly Democrat. Additionally, although Michael Bloomberg attended and spoke at the event during his tenure, Bloomberg also party jumped a few times in the past 15 years. He went from being a longtime New York Democrat in 2001 to a Republican immediately before his first election after Rudy Giuliani and the events of 9/11. He later left the GOP to become an Independent.

“I give him credit. Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We marched on his house—not on Gracie Mansion—his house. I’m talking about Bloomberg’s private house on father’s day of last year and he still came to King Day, because mature people know that you can disagree without being disagreeable,” Sharpton said.

Sharpton failed to point out that the reception Bloomberg received at the gathering in 2012, for example, was far from optimal, and Bloomberg was booed and heckled throughout his remarks. The Village Voice reported that Sharpton “didn’t exactly help Bloomberg feel welcome with a strange introduction emphasizing his rocky relationship with the mayor.”

De Blasio boasted about the city crime numbers, saying that three years ago the NYPD made 700,000 stops in one year, referring to the NYPD’s previous Stop and Frisk policy. “In the year 2014, there were 47,000 stops,” he said.

“There are over 2,500 fewer robberies in the city of New York in 2014 compared to 2013. There were fewer murders. Fewer pedestrians were killed. More order, more safety, while we created more fairness – that’s the way forward. A fairer society is a safer society.”

He added, “A fairer society opens up doors. A fairer society means police and community can come together. What are we looking for? Mutual respect between police and community.”

Sharpton, along with others at NAN, boarded buses following the event and laid wreaths at the site where slain NYPD detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered.