Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a page from President Barack Obama, and suggested a "beer summit" to work out the tensions caused after police officers shoved and handcuffed two black city officials who said they had permission to walk on a blocked off sidewalk during the West Indian American Day Parade.
The mayor told reporters he assumes the altercation will turn out to be a "misunderstanding," and that the officers, Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams, and public advocate aide Kirsten John Foy "have a beer together and work it out."
In a statement, Williams and Foy said they appreciate the gesture, but the incident was “bigger than the three of us over a beer.” They’d rather have a meeting with the Mayor and the Police Commissioner, where young black and Latino New Yorkers can talk about their interactions with police.
In 2009, President Obama hosted a similar beer related meeting at the White House between black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Junior and Sgt. James Crowley, a white police officer who had arrested Gates for disorderly conduct in Gates' own home. The incident prompted a national debate over racial profiling.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly met with Williams and Foy about the incident and said the NYPD is investigating.