New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio swept to victory last year with a promise to “salve the wounds of New Yorkers who distrusted the police,” says the New York Times. His critics warned that crime would soar again. So far, neither has happened. As protests over the Eric Garner case continue in New York and beyond, de Blasio's pledge to bridge the police-community divide has become, with escalating urgency, perhaps the foremost challenge of his mayoralty.
The cause has an audience from Ferguson, Mo., to Capitol Hill to New York City’s police precincts, where some rank-and-file officers remain wary of the mayor's calls for reform. Yesterday, he outlined planned changes in police training, a day after a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict a white police officer who performed a chokehold on Garner, an unarmed black man who died after the confrontation. The police will be taught strategies to control ego and adrenaline and urged to suppress profanity, city officials said. Officers will be exposed to the culture of the communities they are asked to patrol and given new guidance on how to persuade suspects to comply with arrest without the use of force. “People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives,” de Blasio said at a new Police Academy in Queens.