‘I can’t breathe’ looms over de Blasio’s tenure, 2020 run

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s relationship with New York City’s police force was destined to be rocky. He took office promising to overhaul how the city’s 36,000 officers interacted with the public, especially people of color.

But Blasio’s handling of the 2014 police killing of Eric Garner permanently poisoned his standing not only with officers, but many of the police reform activists who helped get him elected.

The ill will on both sides was apparent Monday, when the police department fired the officer who used a banned chokehold on Garner during an arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.

Reform advocates welcomed the decision, but criticized de Blasio for allowing Officer Daniel Pantaleo to keep his job for five years after Garner’s death. A police union chief angrily argued the mayor and police commissioner had “abandoned ship.”


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