One day after a grand jury declined to indict a New York police officer in the death of Eric Garner, prompting angry protests and calls for reform from elected officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday announced the start of a significant retraining of the nation’s largest police force.
Mr. de Blasio said the grand jury’s decision had focused the public’s attention on the relationship between the police and the public. “Fundamental questions are being asked, and rightfully so,” he said. “The way we go about policing has to change.”
The de Blasio administration did not immediately explain in detail what the training would entail and how the city would cover the considerable costs of such an undertaking.
Addressing the reaction on Wednesday to the grand jury’s decision, Mr. de Blasio said he understood the frustration of so many and he called on people to channel that anger into working for change.
“People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives,” he said.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said the retraining would require some 22,000 officers to complete a three-day course.
The program, beginning this month, is modeled on the periodic required firearms retraining that all officers must regularly undergo. Mr. Bratton first announced the department-wide retraining effort in the wake of Mr. Garner’s death. He provided further details at a City Council hearing in September, including learning “de-escalation” techniques. Continue reading “Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Retraining of New York Police”