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Ed Driscoll

Sharpton Versus de Blasio

August 1st, 2014 - 12:22 pm

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“There was an astonishing visual display of the battle for the future of New York yesterday in a round-table discussion at City Hall,” John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, describing a face-off between William Bratton, New York’s police commissioner, Bill de Blasio, the city’s newly minted far left mayor, who took office sounding like Bane from the last Batman movie, and as Podhoretz writes, “Al Sharpton, the longtime anti-cop rabble-rouser (and slanderer) who rose to fame and fortune in the 1980s in part by attacking the legitimacy of the Police Department Bratton ran from 1994 to 1995 and runs again now:”

Sharpton said he would not be satisfied with “window-dressing.” Here was his stark warning to the mayor: “If we’re going to just play spin games, I’ll be your worst enemy.”

In fact, New Yorkers benefited unambiguously when City Hall treated Sharpton as though it were his worst enemy. They may smile together now on occasion, but Bratton certainly wasn’t smiling back in 1995 at City Hall, when he stood beside his then-boss, Rudy Giuliani, as Giuliani effectively accused Sharpton of responsibility for a 1994 shooting spree and fire that left seven dead (eight, if you count the murderer).

Sharpton had led a long-standing protest against the owner of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem, whom he called a “white interloper.”

His inflammatory conduct and that of his deputy Morris Powell certainly helped rile up Roland J. Smith, who shot and killed four people inside the store before setting the fire that killed three more.

The outright contempt with which Giuliani and Bratton (and the commissioners who followed him under Rudy) showed Sharpton were part and parcel of the strong message they were sending about their support for law enforcement and their unwillingness to kowtow to cop-haters and those who profit from social decay and disorder.

Bill de Blasio was with Sharpton then. Will he surrender his mayoralty to Sharpton now?

Mike Bloomberg knew that whatever social tinkering he wanted to do — and he did enormous amounts, to NYC’s detriment — if he watered down the anti-crime policies Giuliani and Bratton pioneered and New York returned to its Death Wish/Panic in Needle Park era, he’d be out of a job. How important is de Blasio’s radical chic ideological affiliation with Comcast/NBC spokesman Al Sharpton, versus getting re-elected?

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The rubber still hasn't hit the road for de Blasio, as far as having to pick sides in the NYPD vs. Sharpton-and-freinds battle over police actions and police patrolling and investigation techniques. The chokehold death of Eric Garner gave Al an opening, but not enough to really worry de Blasio, because it didn't involve gunfire, was on Staten Island (which to most New Yorkers, might as well be Utah) and involved one of the left's designated evils, cigarettes (in this case, illegal cigarette sales).

But sooner or later there will be a gun incident involving the NYPD someplace in Brooklyn, The Bronx or Southeastern Queens that's going to bring the activists out in full force, and it will put more pressure on de Blasio to decide if he stands with Bratton or if he throws him under the bus to please Al (and in some minority areas of the city last year, de Blasio got 100 percent of the precinct vote, which allowed him to cruise to victory despite losses in areas like the Upper East Side. The closer to 2017 a major police incident occurs, the more likely the mayor is to start turning the city back to the John Lindsay-David Dinkins days).
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