Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday again praised the Black Lives Matter movement as “healthy” and “important for this country” — continuing to voice views at odds with his hand-picked Police Commissioner William Bratton, who has described the demonstrations as failing to accomplish anything.
Speaking to a Manhattan lunch gathering of municipal finance officials, de Blasio said “the pain that we’ve been through is helping us to see things that we hadn’t seen that we had to address.”
De Blasio did not provide specifics, but in the past week he has lamented the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana and a sniper’s killings of five cops in Dallas.
“I believe Black Lives Matter has contributed a lot. That doesn’t mean I agree with every member, or every leader. It’s a very diffuse, decentralized movement,” he said. “But I think that the core, the line itself ‘Black Lives Matter’ has been healthy for this country and important for this country.”
The Black Lives Matter activist movement began three years ago, when a spate of videotaped encounters with police catalyzed organized nationwide protests against police misconduct, brutality and unequal treatment.
In New York City, the movement gained steam when Staten Island resident Eric Garner died on July 17, 2014 from what the city medical examiner ruled was an NYPD chokehold.
De Blasio’s praise on Tuesday came in response to a question from Carra L. Wallace, the chief diversity officer for city Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Bratton, who assumed his post when de Blasio took office, recently said that the Black Lives Matter has accomplished “nothing” and focused its energy entirely on police.
“Yelling and screaming doesn’t resolve anything, doesn’t solve anything,” Bratton said. “We come in all races and colors, especially here in New York.”
The commissioner also said calling police officers “racist, all of them, or killers, all of them, is to make the same sin they are protesting. You can’t say that people are bad because they are blue.”
In his speech Tuesday, de Blasio said that a budget deal last year to add 1,300 police officers — and send 2,000 more than now onto patrol — represents “some of the smartest choices we’ve made in terms of resources.”
The mayor’s speech before the Municipal Forum of New York, took place at the clubhouse of the Union League, a 150-year-old, private social club on the corner of 37th Street and Park Avenue.