April 30, 2015
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good afternoon. I want to just say a couple of things upfront before we take your questions. This, obviously – for our country and particularly for the people of Baltimore – has been a tough time. And it comes on the heels of a number of incidents recently that have been very, very painful – particularly painful and traumatic for the families who have lost their loved ones, but painful for entire communities and for the nation. We have lost young men of color in a series of violent incidents. But as is been talked about a lot lately, thankfully we are recognizing finally a much bigger reality. We’ve lost so many young men of color to prison. And this powerful, powerful idea that’s been talked about in recent weeks – the missing men in our neighborhoods, in our society – I think is a clarion call that is causing people all over the country to think differently and to reconsider the dynamics of our society, because how can we have a healthy society when so many of our young men aren’t here?
It’s a painful moment. It’s a moment for reflection. It also has within it the seeds of progress, and that is what we all have to work on. These moments are raising profound questions not just about the relationship between police and community, they’re raising questions about inequality, they’re raising questions about lack of opportunity. In Baltimore, you heard the very powerful ideas discussed in the last few days, powerful recognition of what a divided reality people live in that city, what a profound lack of opportunity there is for so many citizens. And this is not a new thing for Baltimore. It’s something Baltimore grappled with for decades. It’s something New York City has grappled with for decades, and is continuing to grapple with. We are using every tool we can find to address the inequality crisis, but recognize that that lack of opportunity underlies so many of these tensions. It should ever be seen as just a question of the relationship between police and community. It has to be put in a broader context. And I think the people of Baltimore and so many leaders – so many clergy and community leaders have stepped up and been powerful voices on the need to address those underlying inequalities.
I also want to say there’s been such moving moments in Baltimore of community leaders intervening to separate those who would do violence from those who would protest peacefully, intervening to help young people avoid danger. It’s been powerful to watch. And I think it is an example to all of us that those who seek change need to isolate the wrongdoers, isolate those who would perpetrate violence against the police, against their fellow citizens, against property. Anyone who indulges in violence denigrates the cause of social change. In Baltimore, we’ve seen a vivd example of that – community leaders standing up and saying that’s not going to happen at our protest – that’s not happening in our community – we draw a line at that. And they’ve done it very powerfully and very successfully. So again, in the context of a lot of pain, we see something hopeful and we see an example of the kind of grassroots leadership that can help to move us forward.
In this city, we have an extraordinary tradition of freedom of thought, respect for diversity of all kinds, and we have deep, deep respect for the right to peacefully protest. And that is something that is true for generations in this city, and something that I believe the NYPD has handled over many, many years with exceptional distinction. We believe the right to peaceful protest is sacred. It is a fundamental American value, and we will respect it always. We also know that when people engage in violence they undermine any potential for the kind of conversation that could lead to social change. We know they denigrate their purported cause. We know they undermine the efforts of so many others who are attempting to make change peacefully. The vast majority of those who have protested not just in the last few weeks, but in the last few years on these issues in this city have done so peacefully and very effectively – the vast majority. We had 20,000-plus people a few months ago on Fifth Avenue, marching with the police, working with them and hardly any incidents at all – 20,000 people. We’ve seen time and again the power of peaceful protest. It’s obviously the history this country in terms of the Civil Rights Movement, in terms of the efforts to end the Vietnam War – so many examples of where peaceful protest won the day.
In this city, on Father’s Day 2012, one of the most pertinent and high-impact protests we’ve seen in a long time in this city – the Father’s Day March calling for a change in the stop and frisk policy. That march crystalized efforts that have gone on for years and was, in many ways, the catalyst for fundamental change. And we see it today. The year 2011 – 700,000 stops. Last year – 40,000-plus in this city. That emanated from nonviolent protest. It worked. But violence not only fails, it contradicts our values and we won’t tolerate it. It’s illegality. We won’t tolerate illegality. We won’t tolerate disorder. We will not allow the few to undermine the honest efforts of the many to express their views.
We have seen some situations where individuals very consciously sought a conflict, physically, with the police – sought out an opportunity to assault a police officer. That is absolutely unacceptable. And we’ve seen attacks on other individuals and on property and that is unacceptable as well. We won’t let that happen. So we have a clear strategy – respect peaceful protest. We will accommodate – we will accommodate peaceful protest as we always have. We put a lot of effort into it. The NYPD does an extraordinary job. The NYPD coordinates with any protesters who want to have an honest conversation about how to make their protest work right. And there is a long tradition of this. Ask people the stories from Occupy Wall Street of the ongoing dialogue that occurred between police and the protesters, day in and day out, which is part of why after weeks of activity, there were very, very few incidents of violence. But there are a few individuals who travel the country looking for opportunities to incite violence, who don’t want peaceful protest to work, who don’t actually listen to the desires of community members for change through nonviolent protest. There’s some individuals who want to spark a confrontation and we won’t let them do it. It’s not fair to everyone else. It’s not legal. It’s not appropriate. We will not put any danger. We’re certainly going to defend our officers, who are there to keep the peace and to ensure that the peaceful protest can proceed.
I believe the men and women of the NYPD do extraordinary work every day protecting this city. As you’ve seen in recent months, some extraordinary progress in reducing crime further – still some big challenges. But their work is unquestionably a success. And the relationship between police and community is changing as we speak. And it’s not unfair for the media to focus on protests and individual moments, but if you go community by community, these numbers tell a story that has to be looked as well, and very deeply. The reduction of stops – again, 700,000 down to over 40,000 last year; the 65 percent reduction in marijuana arrests; the 25 percent reduction, from just a year ago, in civilian complaints against the police. As Commissioner Bratton has said so powerfully – the peace dividend. The fact that there’s been almost a million fewer interactions between police and community of the type that often caused tension. And all of that energy is now going to fighting crime and finding the few among us who are hardened criminals, and stopping them.
So every time we bring police and community together, we improve our opportunity for safety because a lot of time and energy gets applied to the actual bad guys. And community members become partners with the police, and police become partners with the community members in that effort. That is where we are going every day in this city. I have great confidence we’re on the right path.
Our nation is going through a painful moment, but again, the dialogue that has started now was long overdue. What we hear all over the country – the recognition of the problem, the awareness levels finally becoming universal. The president’s leadership has been important here. There’s so much that is saying that this is a moment where we can make the right changes. To do that – again, not just address the problem of police and community relations in some of our neighborhoods, but go to the underlying reality of profound inequality and a profound lack of opportunity for so many of our people. In this city, we will use every tool. And that’s why last week, we did something you have not seen before. We pledged to reduce poverty in this city by 800,000 people over the next decade. It will take a lot of work. There are a lot of challenges – some of them in Washington, some of them in Albany. But think about that goal for a moment – reducing poverty by 800,000 people. That’s 800,000 people who can believe that their lives can get better. It’s 800,000 people who will be participants in society in a different way and that will spread a message in every neighborhood – the inequalities being addressed. And that’s one of the ways we draw people together, we draw police and community together, we give people hope for the future. It will take a lot of work but I believe we are on the right path as a city, and I believe we can get on the right path as a nation. Just a moment in Spanish –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, I welcome your questions. Dave?
Question: [inaudible] Jimmy O’Neill and Commissioner Bratton saying earlier today that we’re going to give protestors some leeway, but not as much as we did in December, and January, and February for those protests. [inaudible] it sounds like there’s a new tactic with the police. And according to a lot of the protestors – many of them who are your supporters – they said people were billy clubbed on the sidewalk last night. So, what is the new tactic?
Mayor: Again, I’ve talked to people who are at some of the protests yesterday – obviously, members of my staff were there – and I would be careful not to exaggerate what happened. I think at the core where the protest was in Union Square at rush hour, in the middle of one of our busiest locations in the city, the police made very clear – they are telling people not to go in the road, they could continue their protest on the sidewalk. They did that verbally, they did that with flyers, it was abundantly clear. And I’m going to talk to your larger question, but I want to just do this specific piece. And I want to speak bluntly to everyone but, you’re right, some people who are complaining today are my colleagues, my friends, even my supporters. Well, I have been through a number of protests in my day. I participated on plenty of protests on plenty of issues. And one thing’s clear – and I’ve done this, and I believe deeply in how nonviolent protest achieves social change, as I indicated. One thing’s clear – when the police give you an instruction, you follow the instruction. It’s not debatable. And I’m saying this as someone who has been at these protests and recognize when the police say stay to the sidewalk, it means stay to the sidewalk, and that has to be respected. There’s no debate about the fact that the announcements were made multiple times. So, I think what’s clear about our approach is we have a broad strategic frame, which I described a few moments ago, which Commissioner Bratton, and Chief O’Neill, and I are absolutely in agreements on. And you saw it play out over weeks and weeks – we respect the right of people to protest. We respect nonviolent protest. We saw that on Fifth Avenue, as I mentioned – 20,000-plus people some months ago. We saw that in Staten Island – there was a large protest there – nonviolent to the core. We’ve seen it in a lot of places. And where there’s nonviolent protests, we accommodate them in a number of ways. But the tactical thing that we have to talk about – the tactical reality that we have to acknowledge is when we think there’s a potential for specific violence, it is important not to let that happen. Some of the incidents in recent months occurred when people went out in the roadways in a very disorganized fashion, or on the bridges. And our job is to keep people safe. Everyone – protestors, community members, obviously our police officers. Our job, first and foremost, is to keep people safe. We have an equivalent job of respecting the first amendment and allowing people the right to protest. We balance those factors all the time. What we believe – meaning the NYPD and City Hall – is there has to be flexibility, there has to be a case-by-case analysis of what’s going on. If in a certain situation police believe there’s a scenario that could end of being unruly and could lead to violence, of course they need to exercise measures to avoid that, but always within the context of respecting and permitting nonviolent protest. And we have seen a number of situations where the protestors have done an extraordinary job at communicating with the police their intentions. The police have done an extraordinary job in figuring out what will work and how to do this together. That has been the norm. We’ve seen a few situation where certain smaller groups of protestors avoided any effort to communicate with the police on purpose, and clearly looked for an opportunity to have a confrontation. When we think that’s what happening, it’s our obligation to ensure that that doesn’t play out.
Mayor: Well, you’re using your words and I’m trying to use my words. So, I think I’ve given you a lot of words to work with, so let me try again. The strategic approach is exactly the same. We are going to respect nonviolent protest, and we will accommodate it in all sorts of flexible ways, which the NYPD has done for a long time. The examples I gave you are vivid – large numbers of people accommodated without a hitch and in a peaceful manner. When we think there is prospect of something unruly or violent, it’s necessary to intervene. But here’s an example – if you give an announcement to protestors – don’t go on the bridge – roadway – go on the walkway. Don’t go on the street, go on the sidewalk – or whatever the announcement might be. It’s the obligation of the protestors to accept those instructions and work with the police. It’s very straightforward. People can continue protesting, as they have in many cases for hours and hours. But they have to respect the instructions of the police.
Question: Jimmy O’Neill [inaudible] suggested you taking a harder line. Did you authorize the harder line to be taken now [inaudible]
Mayor: Everything that happens in terms of our approach – our strategic approach is based on conversations between City Hall and One Police Plaza. We are in constant contact – many times a day in most cases – and we talk about the approach all the time. We have tremendous strategic unity. The broad framework – as I indicted over the last months – was developed by the commissioner, by Chief O’Neill, on what they thought made sense as a broad strategic framework, a flexible framework. I couldn’t agree more. We’ve also talked about some of the situations that didn’t work in the way we were comfortable with that we need to deal with. Especially incidents where there were unruly actions by a small number, including attacks on police officers, which are obviously unacceptable. So yeah, we’ll make tactical adjustments. But the strategy remains the same, and is something we always do in unison.
Question: So, yes, you did authorize [inaudible]
Mayor: Again, that’s your words, and I’m really going to ask today – we’re talking about important matters – if you guys want to sensationalize, if you think that’s your contribution to society, feel free. I’m giving you lots of quotes. Maybe you could borrow from one of these quotes – same strategy, some flexibility in terms of tactics to address some situations we’ve seen that we think have to be addressed.
Question: What kind of methods do you think offend the thousands of protestors who were out yesterday protesting against brutality and inequality that within ten minutes of the march beginning there were violent arrests [inaudible]
Mayor: I think, again, every question appears to be a little editorial, so let me make it value neutral for you. I think the city has an extraordinary tradition that’s played out day in and day out. People are going to protest again, perhaps today. I’ve heard again tomorrow. The reality here is, yes, we’ve been very, very successful at accommodating peaceful protests. There have also been some incidents that were just plain unacceptable. I couldn’t be clearer about it. I said it at the time – let me say it again now –
Question: [Inaudible] yesterday happened that was unacceptable?
Mayor: Again, hear me out. We do know certain individuals attacked police officers – unacceptable. We know certain individuals have attack property – unacceptable. We are constantly working to get the balance right. And what I’ve said – and I know the commissioner and the chief agree – is we’re going to have flexibility in each situation to determine what makes sense for the situation. I will go the other way with your question, with absolute respect. We’ve done something over months, and months, and months that affirmed our respect for the right to nonviolent protest. We’ve gone to extraordinary measures to work with the protesters and accommodate them. We will continue to, but if there are situations the police deem likely to cause unruly dynamics or violence, they have a right to do their job. And again, they issued clear instructions to the protesters. So, to people who want to work on this issue, here is an easy piece of advice – pay attention to the instructions of the police and I think everything will go fine. Communicate with the police. Coordinate with the police. There will be ample opportunity for people to get their point across but they need to do it in a constructive manner.
Question: You said you are in communication, practically every day, with the police about tactics –
Mayor: About everything. Not just about protest – about obviously, our efforts to bring down crime and many other facts. I’m saying the communication between me and Commissioner Bratton, and me and Chief O’Neill, is essentially a daily reality.
Question: Okay, great. So, after the situation in Baltimore – some of the protests there seemed a bit violent and you saw the clash with police, what kind of conversations did you have about New York City’s tactics and strategy, with regard to [inaudible]
Mayor: We’ve obviously reflected on some of what we saw in Baltimore but it was not part of our decision-making about the situation here. We, as I mentioned repeatedly, I’ll mention again – we have seen here, before anyone every paid attention to Baltimore, some things we found unacceptable and needed to address. Think of it this way, 90 percent – I’m going to make up numbers here to make a point – 90 percent of what’s happened has been done fairly for all concerned. Most of the protest has gone off in a nonviolent fashion. Most of the protesters have coordinated with the police. I have heard from many protesters over months that they appreciated the way the police comported themselves. I’ve certainly have talked to the police many times about how much they appreciate the efforts of the protesters to work with them. So, we’ve had a small amount of time – is it five percent of the time, ten percent of the time where something else happened. Some of that correlated pretty clearly to groups breaking off from the main protest with other intentions or going out into roads and bridges in a way that was particularly unruly and led to a situation that clearly, in some cases, led to violence. And so, we’ve seen a pattern. We have to address that pattern. But in the vast majority of cases, we’ll be able to keep to the core strategy, which is to allow a lot of flexibility so long as there is communication and respect for the police instructions.
Question: Can I just follow up?
Question: What you’re describing, I understand. But what we’re hearing – I’ve heard anyway, for example from New York [inaudible] doesn’t comport with any of the circumstances you’re describing. There are more people out there acting [inaudible]. You know, so, how to you reconcile that? You’re [inaudible] you know, splinter groups that are out to cause harm. That is not we’re hearing.
Mayor: Well again, you’re editorializing. That’s your understanding from the assemblyman, who I have a lot of respect for. And I’m sure whatever he saw, he is reporting honestly to you. But I’m trying to talk about a bigger reality. These are discussions that have gone on for a long time about how to approach these things right. And again, the incidents I’m referring to didn’t happen yesterday. They happened over the last weeks, so it’s something we’ve been thinking about. But I think the reality is it’s rush hour. It’s a busy intersection. The police logically say, okay, we want people to stay on the sidewalk in this instance. We think, in the midst of all these people and all these cars, getting out in the streets is going to be a problem – just stay to the sidewalk. And people have to respect that. The folks that I’ve talked to from my team that were there saw, I think, a different picture than some have relayed. Obviously, we’ll have plenty of accounts from all different people. But I think the core of this is straightforward. We’re sending a clear message – right to protest is sacred, so long as it’s nonviolent. We will accommodate it. When the police give an instruction, respect the instruction.
Question: Mayor, Commissioner Bratton released a report today giving a pretty strong defense of [inaudible] led to more [inaudible] basically, it works and the implication being we don’t want to change it. Your reaction to that report? Do you agree with its conclusions, and will it make it more difficult to reach any accommodation in terms of what the City Council [inaudible]
Mayor: I’m going to say to all of you, we’re dealing with a multi-layered dynamic here, and I’m going to ask you to recognize in your reporting the complexity of the issues at hand. But first, I have to say upfront – there’s been some – and I would not say this of the majority of you present – there’s been some clear misreporting in the last few days about some kind of deal being made with he City Council, or being imminent – that’s an absolute falsehood. That is plainly inaccurate. It would be nice to stop seeing it in the media because it’s false. So, I think I’ve clarified that. The speaker, who is a good friend and colleague, offered a set of proposals just days ago. The commissioner has met with her. I’m looking forward to having conversation with her. But that’s going to be an ongoing discussion that has really just begun. What I think the commissioner’s report makes clear is that a lot of progress is happening already, and I am in absolute agreement with the commissioner on the core vision here, which I think I’ve affirmed many, many times but I’ll do it again. I believe that quality of life policing is one of the reasons why we have lower crime than we ever did in history and, in fact, it continue to go down. I believe these strategies – broken windows and quality of life policing strategies – are, by definition, living, breathing ideas that change with the times. I give the example – the great reduction in low-level marijuana arrests, the increase in activity around Vision Zero. That’s just in the lat year – two major revisions to the broken windows strategy in the last year. So we’ll always weigh other options for what makes sense, but we’re not going to move away from the strategy. We just won’t move away from the strategy because it works. We’ll listen to any proposal. We’ll evaluate those proposals to see what makes sense. But meanwhile – I give Commissioner Bratton, Chief O’Neill, and the entire leadership of the NYPD tremendous credit that they are consistently reducing some of the interactions between police and individuals in the community that cause a lot of the tension. Those numbers are extraordinary in the report. The peace dividend that they commissioner talks about is already happening now. So this work is happening on a lot of layers. When I say it’s complex I’m saying I don’t blame anyone who says, well, can we talk offense by offense, and would you change this one? Would you change that one? That’s a valid discussion we’ll continue to have. But I also want to recognize – within the current rubric, things are changing already in a very big way, and that needs to be understood.
Question: I wonder to what extent you think that what’s really going on here is a much deeper, more disturbing, more dangerous movement away from the kind of liberal ideas that you’re espousing, or even Reverend Sharpton has been espousing for the last 10 years. And it’s really gotten to a point where people see these incidents and they intentionally want to confront the police in a violent way, almost as if saying, you know, we’ve had enough. We are now really at war with you, and that there’s a much more confrontational, intentional movement going on that your rhetoric might not reach.
Mayor: I appreciate the, first of all, good intention behind the question, and also I think it’s a thoughtful question that we need to ask. But I have a very strong view – the answer is no. I think the people who have perpetrated violence are very, very few in number – very few. I think we have a social discourse problem that we should get to heart of, where a small number of people commit acts of violence and because of the nature of 24-hour news cycles – and all sorts of other things – it gets magnified in an extraordinary fashion. Whereas the day-to-day painstaking work of bringing police and community together, by definition, hardly get looked at, at all. And I think there’s an imbalance there that has to be addressed. I think, you know, a little bit of attention, thank God, was paid in Baltimore to the clergy, and the community leaders, and the parents who intervened in the name of peace. Some attention finally was given to the peacemakers, but much, much more attention was given to the small group of perpetrators. So that’s an imbalance in the discourse, and it is underlined by a lot of other inequalities in our society. It’s underlined by a lot of divisions that we still have to deal with. It doesn’t shock me that that’s the nature of the coverage, and it doesn’t move us forward. But I think your question is can people still believe that change can happen. The vast majority of people who have gone out and protested have done so in nonviolent fashion all over the country – vast majority. So much so that in fact we have seen numerous examples of nonviolent protestors isolating the violence-doers, working with the police to isolate, not wanting to be associated with them. And I’ve said that for months now – nonviolent protestors should help the police arrest the violence doer, should point out who they are, should isolate from them. And I think that’s happened in a lot of instances. So, no, I think we’re at an important point in our nations history. These issues are coming up so powerfully – the issues of the relationship between police and community, the incarceration issues, the income inequality issue. They’re all moving with great speed right now. It is a time of profound social change. I think the nonviolent movements will win the day. And I think more and more people will align to them. I think there’s a lot of history that back that up. I think the few violence-doers will be successfully isolated. But no, I don’t think we should mistake for a moment that the vast majority of people are actually looking for hope and looking for a solution. It’s time more of us gave it to them. Michael?
Unknown: We have time for a couple of more, guys.
Question: I asked this in the [inaudible] our understanding was there was some difference in expectations last night where some protestors were surprised to be told that they should remain on the sidewalk or remain the park. So I want to ask [inaudible] the commissioner, and your aides have gained these last few months, is it a fair expectation the marching on avenues or on highways that we saw last December is not going to be condoned moving forward in the city?
Mayor: I think – I don’t for a moment discount why you would ask the question. But I want you to listen carefully – what I’ve said already and from what I’ve heard Commissioner Bratton talk about earlier at well. There’s a core strategy, and there’s flexibility in each situation. If 20,000 people show up, you’re probably going to say could you all stay on the sidewalk, right? You’re going to say, okay, we’re going to find a way to accommodate you on the roadway but we want this to be done the right way in a nonviolent fashion. That’s exactly what happened when 20,000 showed up. There was a lot of coordination, a lot of communication, and that’s what we expect. And I think, again – based on my rich history in this area – the vast majority of organizations seek out the police to coordinate, and the police are very available to them. I remember all the different – when I was in the Central America movement – I remember all the time that you knew who the people were in the movement who talked to the police all the time. Everyone had each other’s numbers and met all the time to coordinate – it’s very good. So that’s going to be the norm. And I think if you’ve got a particularly large group, you want to accommodate them in the smartest way, and that obviously could involve the street. When you have smaller groups, it is much preferable to keep them to the sidewalk for every reason. We want the city to keep moving, we want to minimize unruliness and potential violence. When people start fanning out in lots of different directions, it’s much harder to keep the pace, keep the calm, keep things in an orderly manner, which is what we ask our police to achieve. So no, I think you should interpret this is as a specific protest where the police commanders on the scene believed it was smarter to say here are the ground rules today, and we want you to abide by these ground rules. I think you’re right – some protestors assumed it was something they had experienced before. You shouldn’t assume that – every situation’s different. You should listen to the police. You should talk to the police. I’ve been to plenty of protests where people say, you know, could we do this? Would that work? What if we use this route? Is that okay with you? And the police say, okay, give us a few minutes, let’s see if we can do that. People have that interchange. That’s what’s going to keep happening. But I don’t think you should, sort of, if you will, stereotype it. I don’t think you should take one moment in history and say, well, this is a fundamental [inaudible]. It’s not – it’s a core strategy that’s the same, with some tactical flexibility.
Question: Is there some value in communicating a more consistent policy on protests?
Mayor: I think the consistent policy I said is – it’s quite consistent to say we’re going to work with people, we’re going to accommodate them within certain boundaries. I don’t think you can say, you know, here’s the ironclad for every situation because there’s a big complicated city. I have confidence – having been a public servant, having been a protestor – I have confidence the NYPD knows how to work out each situation, and certainly knows how to work with protestors that want to work with them. And if we keep doing that, I think we’re going to be fine. Gloria?
Question: Mr. Mayor, some of the advocates who were at [inaudible] mentioned that you met or spoke with the Reverend Al Sharpton about the protests today. Can you share with us what some of his concerns were? And some of what they said was that the arrests last night are a direct contradiction of a lot of the things that you have tried to do since you took office –
Mayor: No. That says – I’ll speak to it. First on the first point, then on the second. I had for weeks had a meeting planned with Reverend Sharpton to talk about efforts surrounding fighting income inequality nationally. That was the core of what we talked about. We talked about obviously currently events as well. In terms of the question of what does it signal – again, don’t overrate one moment where a situation was handled because of the dynamics of that moment. What is 100 percent clear is the number of stops having gone down, and they continue to go down; the reduction in marijuana arrests; the implementation of body cameras; the retraining of the police. My friends, these are big structural changes. So, I would like to add up all the column inches and minutes that are going to go into one incident in Union Square versus the huge structural changes that are happening in our policing strategies and our relationship with the community. I’d like for you to do the blaring headlines about the 25 percent reduction in civilian complaints. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. So no, the policy, the vision of profound reform, of bringing police and community together, of creating a more fair city is being work on every hour of every day. And that will continue. And the right to peacefully protest will be respected in every situation. We’ll find a way to make it work. But when we think there’s a possibility of violence and unruliness, it’s our obligation to address that. And think about it, if the commanders on the scene made a decision that they wanted to put some ground rules in place and people who wanted to peacefully abide by those ground rules could continue to protest – it sounds to me that the strategy is quite consistent, and folks need to hear it for what it is. Michael?
Unknown: Last one, guys.
Question: Mr. Mayor, you’ve said multiple times during this news conference that they protesters need to respect the instructions of the police – either stay off the bridge, stay off the road – obviously in 2013 you were arrested. Do you – in retrospect, do you think that, you know, what you did at that protest was wrong? And does it possibly undermine the message that you’re trying to get out today –
Mayor: Michael, I’m astounded at that question. Let me try and work with you. I would think you knew a little bit more about the history of nonviolent social protest. You know, the civil rights movement – maybe you’ve heard of it? The idea when you –
Question: Yesterday [inaudible] arrested because they were in the street.
Mayor: Again, my friend, you’re attempting such an extraordinary jump. I have to school you for a moment. Civil disobedience – it’s called civil disobedience – Ghandi, King, etcetera. You plan with the police what’s going to happen. I don’t know if you were there that day in 2013. It was the most choreographed thing on earth in terms of how the police wanted to handle it. We didn’t make it up. We said we’re protesting the closure of a hospital. This is our intention. People will get arrested because they’re protesting. How do we do this? The police said, okay, you’re going to do this, we’re going to give you this warning – you’re going to do this, we’ll do this, and then we’re going to arrest you. This has gone on for generations. So that is very different than people ignoring the instructions of the police, going out in the roadways and bridges, and then there’s a chaotic situation that sometimes leads to violence. They are literally apples and oranges. So no, I am very proud to have worked in the tradition of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. There’s a lot of the folks who want change on these issues who are working in that tradition this very day, and I don’t know a police officer who doesn’t understand that, and doesn’t understand how to work with that. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about people who, in some instance – and they have been a clear minority – have decided to not respect the instructions of the police, not agree upon how they will get arrested, or communicate and coordinate, but go beyond the instructions and create and unruly situation, and in some cases a violent situation, which the police have to address.
So, thank you, everyone. Thank you.