Reverend Al Sharpton’s planned march across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to protest the death of Eric Garner is off. No, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not demand that Sharpton put an end to a planned protest that would have rendered much of the borough immobile, possibly putting lives at risk, should an emergency arise. Instead, New York’s fearless leader called Sharpton and “begged” him to change his mind, according to the New York Post.
As National Review Online reported, Sharpton’s National Action Network had not secured a permit to march across the Verrazano Bridge, the only bridge connecting the borough of Staten Island to the rest of New York City, and the mayor’s office was coy about how it planned to respond to the situation. Many politicians called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to force NAN to move the protest to a more convenient location.
A source told the Post that de Blasio, who was getting “hammered” in the press for his lack of a response on the march, tried to get Sharpton to “see the light.”
“Do you think that marching over this bridge will be a benefit to the progressive agenda?” De Blasio asked Sharpton, according to the source, who is described as being connected to City Hall and having “knowledge of the conversation” between de Blasio and Sharpton.
On Saturday August 9, Sharpton announced that instead of marching across the Verrazano Bridge, protesters would take buses, or “justice caravans,” across the bridge and hold a demonstration in front of the Staten Island District Attorney’s office on August 23.
According to the Post’s source, the possible march was “really threatening the de Blasio administration.” The source added, “They thought they could control the Rev, but no one can control the Rev.”
De Blasio seems to be learning that lesson the hard way.