Mayor Bloomberg suggested that a black city councilman and a top city aide, also black, get a beer with the police officers who threw them to the ground and handcuffed them during Monday's West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn.
"I assume it'll probably turn out to be just a misunderstanding," Bloomberg told reporters in Lower Manhattan Wednesday morning. "The police have a job to do and the city councilman has a job to do and hopefully, every once in a while, if there's a misunderstanding, that they have a beer together and work it out."
Bloomberg's suggestion calls to mind the famous "beer summit" held at the White House in 2009 between black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., white Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley, who had arrested him for disorderly conduct, and Obama, who declared on national TV that the police had "acted stupidly".
City Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten Jon Foy, an aide to public advocate Bill de Blasio, held a press conference of their own on Tuesday, where they claimed their detention by NYPD officers Monday was symptomatic of stop-and-frisk policies that unfairly target black and hispanic men.
Williams and Foy said they had police permission to walk on a blocked-off sidewalk Monday, while on their way to a post-parade event at the Brooklyn Museum.
Police officers, apparently unaware that the two were city officials, confronted Williams and Foy. An argument ensued until cops eventually threw Williams and Foy to the ground and handcuffed them (see video here). After 30 minutes, and once their identities were confirmed, they were released.
Police commissioner Ray Kelly formally apologized to Williams and Foy, and said the NYPD is conducting an internal investigation of the incident.
City coucilwoman Letitia James also spoke at the press conference Tuesday in support of Williams and Foy.
First addressing the horrible violence that marred the West Indian Day parade, James said that the city's safety shouldn't come at the expense of civil rights.