Mayor de Blasio voiced righteous thoughts Wednesday over Derek Chauvin’s conviction and demanded greater police accountability — even as city lawyers push a Manhattan judge to throw out an inquiry into Eric Garner’s 2014 death at the hands of an NYPD officer.
“All over the country, there was a sense of relief that justice was finally done. But it’s not enough,” Hizzoner said of the conviction. “George Floyd’s not here; he should be here.”
He went on to call for broad changes to the criminal justice system.
Just a day earlier, city lawyers asked a Manhattan judge to dismiss an inquiry into government officials’ role in the chokehold death of Garner, as well as what his family described as a subsequent coverup.
The inquiry will begin in mid-July, anyway, under instructions from state Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards, and de Blasio and former NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill may be asked to testify.
The mayor suggested Wednesday there was nothing hypocritical about talking big about police reform in the wake of Chauvin’s conviction while city lawyers fight the Garner inquiry. He argued justice has already been done in the latter case, pointing to the firing of Daniel Pantaleo from the NYPD for choking Garner.
“The fact that that accountability happened is what matters here,” de Blasio said. “It didn’t happen from the U.S. Justice Department, but it did happen here with the NYPD’s process.”
He also indicated he doesn’t want to testify.
“There are lawsuits and court actions hourly directed at the City of New York,” de Blasio said. “The Law Department’s very wise assumption is that it’s very, very rare, if ever, that a mayor gets involved in testimony.”
The mayor also moaned that he hasn’t gotten enough credit for police reforms to date. He recently championed bills making it easier to sue cops for misconduct, among other measures — the latest steps to address widespread criticism of the NYPD.
“I’m amazed that these big structural changes occur and they’re somehow hard for the … public discourse to take in,” he said.
“I hear from everyday people, they see the changes,” Hizzoner continued. “We got more to do, but this stuff moves the needle, there’s no question about it.”