New York City mayor Bill DiBlasio had hoped to be able to deliver a speech extolling the virtues of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr with minimal confrontations. It turns out, he found himself caught between the legacy of the past and the determination of Black Lives Matter to create an America for tomorrow that finishes Dr. King’s vision of equality for all.
De Blasio was delivering remarks about King at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Fort Greene when several protesters jumped to their feet and ranted about the NYPD’s “broken windows” policy, and the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
“Broken windows policing is not in MLK’s legacy,” shouted Mike Bento, 30, of Harlem. “The hiring of Bill Bratton, the architect of New York’s new Jim Crow, is not in MLK’s legacy.”
De Blasio, who was caught off guard by the commotion, tried for calm.
“Brothers and sisters, please,” de Blasio pleaded. “I’m trying to read the words of Dr. King. Let’s talk about King’s legacy.”
But the demonstrators went on.
About 10 officers assigned to keep the protesters out of the church eventually escorted them out the backdoor as the mayor continued to speak.
Outside, about 250 demonstrators marched in the church’s courtyard, waving picket signs and chanting Black Lives Matter slogans as dozens of cops stood watch.
The demonstration was part of a coordinated series of direct actions from different Black Lives Matter affiliates around the country, aimed at honoring, celebrating, and restoring Dr King’s true legacy as an activist for social revolutionary ideologies.