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Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio was visibly disappointed with the decision rendered by Staten Island’s grand jury to not indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Unlike his predecessor, de Blasio has a personal stake in the racial strife that is gripping the nation. He made this clear during a press conference he gave to address the implications of Tuesday’s verdict. He emphasized the fact that having a son who could most likely be subjected to police brutality is a reality that he and his wife never forget. It is also a subject that both of them don’t take for granted which is why they both have made it a point to dutifully discuss the gravity of the situation with their son to ensure his safety by preparing him for unexpected encounters. “Because Chirlane and I had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face. A good young man, law-abiding young man who would never think to do anything wrong. And yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we’ve had to literally train him – as families have all over this city for decades – in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.”

De Blasio’s Statement:

This is profoundly personal to me. I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens. And I said to him, I did.

Because Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the dangers that he may face. A good young man, law-abiding young man who would never think to do anything wrong. And yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we’ve had to literally train him—as families have all over this city for decades—in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.

And that painful sense of contradiction that our young people see first, that our police are here to protect us, and we honor that, and at the same time, there’s a history we have to overcome, because for so many of our young people, there’s a fear. And for so many of our families, there’s a fear.

So I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane’s had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities—crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods—but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors.

That’s the reality.

De Blasio also goes on to stress that he and his wife share a bond with families in the same boat, families who have sons that they are constantly worried about because of the dangers that lurk in the streets. And the often times deadly consequences that come with being a Black male – “So I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane’s had to worry. Is Dante safe each night? There are so many families in this city who feel that each and every night. Is my child safe? And not just from some of the painful realities – crime and violence in some of our neighborhoods – but is safe from the very people they want to have faith in as their protectors”.

De Blasio also expressed his dismay that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter had to be created, saying, “It’s a phrase that should never have to be said, It should be self-evident. But our history, sadly, requires us to say that black lives matter.”

It conforms to something bigger that you’ve heard come out in the protests in Ferguson and all over the country. This is now a national moment of grief, a national moment of pain and searching for a solution. And you’ve heard in so many places, people of all backgrounds utter the same basic phrase. They’ve said “Black lives matter.” And they said it because it had to be said. It’s a phrase that should never have to be said. It should be self-evident. But our history, sadly, requires us to say that black lives matter.

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