When in doubt, drink it out.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams and Kirsten Jon Foy, an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, have sent letters to Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly requesting a beer summit to discuss police accountability.
"You had in the past expressed an interest in the value of sitting down over a beer to work out the issues, and we hope you are just as willing to sit down with myself, Kirsten and a number of young black and Latino New Yorkers that have been affected by unfair policing tactics," Councilman Williams wrote.
Williams and Foy, both of whom are black, were thrown to the ground and handcuffed by NYPD officers during the West Indian Day parade in September for crossing a police barricade they had permission to pass. After their identities were confirmed, they were released and Kelly issued a formal apology. Williams and Foy later claimed their arrests were symptomatic of widespread racial profiling by the NYPD.
After the incident, Mayor Bloomberg said,"I assume it'll probably turn out to be just a misunderstanding. 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."
And now, after 70 pages-worth of racially-charged and violent comments by Facebookers claiming to be NYPD officers have been uncovered, Williams and Foy are taking Bloomberg up on his suggestion, and inviting hizzoner himself. Kelly said Thursday that the officers who made the comments would be disciplined.
"This is not about justice for either of us, but rather justice for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers that have been discriminated against by this police culture," Councilman Williams wrote in the letter.
Williams has long been a critic of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy, which many say unfairly targets blacks and latinos. He also spoken out before about police corruption and police conduct during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Williams was arrested again by NYPD officers after an act of civil disobedience during Occupy Wall Street's "Day Of Action" on November 17.
According to The New York Observer, Williams also sent a letter Wednesday to Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott, requesting that Walcott meet with him and Mr. Foy to discuss mandating "Know Your Rights" training in schools to advise students on how to handle being stopped by the police. One student is arrested by the NYPD every day in New York City schools, and of those arrested, 94 percent of whom are black or latino.