This weekend was a violent one, with over 45 shooting across New York City. In addition to four people being shot (including one police officer) at this weekend’s West Indian Labor Day Parade in Brooklyn, New York City Assemblyman, Jumaane Williams, and an aide to Bill de Blaisio (Public Advocate), Kirsten John Foy, were both arrested after walking down a side walk, which had been closed by the police to non-officer pedestrians.
However, will a beer with Mayor Bloomberg smooth out this issue (which he suspects to have been a big “misunderstanding”)? For Assemblyman Williams, more than that will be needed.
After having shown his city credentials, Williams states that he was handcuffed while on the phone with a police chief to whom he was explaining his situation. Meanwhile John Foy, who also showed his credentials to police, argues that he had his head shoved into a patch of grass. Both Williams and John Foy have been unequivocal in their belief that their race has led to their mistreatment, and that this event is symbolic of the “stop, question, and frisk” approach the NYPD has taken towards young men of color in New York City.
Mayor Bloomberg has since suggested that a few cold beers between himself, John Foy, Williams, and the NYPD officers involved would solve this issue. Following in the model of President Obama’s 2009 beer summit in Cambridge, MA, involving a black Harvard professor and a Cambridge police officer, Bloomberg hopes a public showing of relaxed reasoning and dialogue will bring this matter to a close.
However, in addition the fact that Jumaane Williams is not a beer drinker, it may be a bit naive of the mayor to think that just cold beer and conversation can diffuse the high level of tension in this situation. However, it actually help might chill things out.