There were no backs turned in protest of the appearance of New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio when he appeared in Brooklyn to attend the nation’s largest gathering held annually in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Instead, during the 29th anniversary commemorative, the city’s number one citizen received a standing ovation with cheers that may have boosted his approval rating to new heights.
Unlike the tepid, NYPD reception he met at Woodhull Hospital and twice at funerals for slain police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu who were killed execution-style in the borough last month, approving applause and welcoming whistles greeted him following an introduction from the borough president.
“We love you!”
“And we love Dante too,” spontaneous voices shouted as he made his way to the podium.
And with an embrace and handshake — the former police lieutenant and former president of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care — the now Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams punctuated his message of support for the mayor.
Tasked with emcee duties at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BP Adams explained that de Blasio is the CEO of the city.
“We did not elect the PBA (Police Benevolent Association),” he amplified to an audience seemingly fully aware of the rift that widened when police union leader Pat Lynch said he felt betrayed when the mayor explained how he had talked with his son Dante about possible confrontations with members of the NYPD.
“I had that same conversation too,” the BP said. “He did not adopt Dante, that’s his seed.”
“It is personal.”
From the orchestra and up into the two tiers of the balcony the crowds cheered the BP’s statement.
The introduction seemed an endorsement of de Blasio’s leadership and a total rejection of Lynch’s perception of the mayor’s betrayal of the NYPD.
He publicly lauded the mayor for his un-waivering stance with regard to public safety emphasizing that the mayor has been consistent since his election.
“He has never waivered.”
On a day dedicated to the only American whose name proclaims an American holiday, the mayor seemed taller than his 6 foot five inches frame.
“We can build bridges,” the mayor said referencing Dr. King’s example “we must find a way to come together for a common cause.”
“He (Dr. King) was intolerant of hateful words. We must reject hateful voices.”
The mayor opined at length about the virtues Dr. King imparted as leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a national organization that mobilized citizens to pressure the government to pass a Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Without focusing on the issues of the city, the mayor reported statistics related to the Stop & Frisk procedure by NYPD which he abolished. He said three years ago, NYPD reported 700,000 stops in a single year.
Boastfully he reported that last year’s total amounted to only 47,000.
“We have become safer because we became fairer.”
“We will move forward as a city with respect for the police and the community.”
The 109th mayor of NYC ended with a quote from Dr. King saying “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”