The death of a Staten Island man in what many New Yorkers and observers alike described as police brutality will be a “test” for the administration of Bill de Blasio. Rev. Al Sharpton of National Action Network reportedly said this at a rally Saturday for Eric Garner, the man allegedly chocked to death as a result of police negligence during his arrest Friday.
“This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now.” Sharpton was quoted as saying at the rally. He added “Whether the change that we feel has occurred, has occurred. We are going to continue dealing with these cases.”
Marti Adams, City Hall’s spokeswoman confirmed that “Mayor de Blasio called Mr. Garner’s wife and mother this morning to offer his condolences.” Adams added that “During their conversation, he reassured the family that the city is doing everything possible to ensure a full and thorough investigation.”
The mayor was represented at the rally by his head of the Community Affairs unit, Marco Carrion who said “This has really been one of our priorities, if not our priority, to change not necessarily the culture at the NYPD but also change the way that we interact with the community and the way people see us.”
Community leaders and concerned residents reacted to the death with harsh words for the police, and many feel that the incident was a direct lack of respect and dignity for people under arrest by the police. There had been calls for police officers to be more cautious in enforcing the law, so as not to become offenders themselves.
Analysts are worried that the NYPD as an institution and to whom the people depend upon for the safety of their lives and property should not be seen as taking the laws into its hands. The NYPD is expected to ensure that officers are trained to exercise necessary precautionary measures even while enforcing the law on hardened criminals in the society to avoid unnecessary and avoidable deaths as witnessed in the demise of Eric Garner.