By STEPHANIE LOVELLE
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday praised New Yorkers for conducting peaceful protests in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decision not to charge Police Officer Darren Wilson in the infamous Michael Brown shooting
“We must think about the Brown family and we must also think about their wishes which were clearly stated,” he said as he and his wife Chirlane were handing out free Thanksgiving turkeys at a Bronx church. “They are the ones who have suffered the most and they said we have to make a lot of changes but not through violence.”
Although Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and other officers were spattered with fake blood at a Times Square demonstration Monday night – which De Blasio described as “absolutely cowardly and inappropriate” – the mayor expressed his satisfaction with the way most protestors behaved.
Prompted by reporters, the mayor – whom many observers have labeled a up-and-coming national symbol of progressivism – spoke at length about racial unrest in the nation:
“We have to make profound changes in our society; we have to make profound changes in our city but it will not be achieved through violence it will be achieved through peaceful protest, it will be achieved through legislation and the city is an example of this.”
De Blasio also referred to the decrease in the number of stops and marijuana arrests in the city and better relations between police and minorities, stemming from retraining police and the naming of an inspector general to oversee department practices, changes that were made “all because the people demanded it through true, peaceful means. that’s how real change occurs.”
De Blasio echoed his words last week that people should not “connect the dots” between the deaths of Eric Garner, Akai Gurley and Michael Brown by police officers.
“I don’t fail to understand why people do it but I just have a different perspective,” de Blasio said. “I think each and every incident is different.”
In addition to his comments on Ferguson and the work that needs to be done in local police reform de Blasio also stressed the plight of the hungry in New York.
“There are 1.4 million New Yorkers who are food insecure with one in five being children,” de Blasio said. “ I am not going to be comfortable while there are people hungry in my city.”
De Blasio described old folks as being the hungriest and stated that part of the solution would be to get them and others to apply for food stamps online or with local organizations.
The mayor said that he and his family planned to spend Thanksgiving at a cousin’s home in Connecticut.
The menu would be “traditionalist”, he added, including turkey, stuffing, punkin and apple pies, the works.
“I’m a progressive in all matters other than Thanksgiving dinner,” de Blasio said.