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'One ill-thought protest could undo what we have spent years building'

August 6, 2019

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUG 6, 2019

 

Following news that the Police Benevolent Association and elected officials have planned to stage a “pro-Pantaleo rally” at tonight’s National Night Out, Council Member Debi Rose issued the following statement and letter to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill:

 

“I have and will continue to support our First Amendment rights to demonstrate for causes we believe in. However, we have expended so much capital to bridge gaps and build bridges in police-community relations in recent years, one ill-thought protest could undo what we have spent years building. For 35 years, National Night Out has been an event that residents and families look forward to enjoying. It is not an appropriate or constructive venue for a divisive, political protest.”

 

Council Member Rose sent the following letter Aug. 5 to Police Commissioner O’Neill and Borough Commander Kenneth Corey:

 

Dear Commissioner O’Neill and Assistant Chief Corey:

 

I am writing to you this evening about plans, promoted by Assemblyman Mike Reilly and Council Member Joe Borelli, to stage a “pro-Pantaleo” rally at tomorrow evening’s National Night Out.

 

Turning National Night Out into a rally to support an officer whom the NYPD has found to have violated internal rules is unacceptable and counter to the spirit of this nationwide event.

 

For 35+ years, National Night Out has sought to forge deeper police-community relations with positive programming that reaches all, and I have proudly attended in past years. Since before I took public office, I have worked closely with NYPD leadership on Staten Island, and I am proud of the bridges we have built and the relationships we have forged. Tomorrow should be a celebration of that progress and a commitment to continue this important work.

 

I will not participate in a National Night Out that sows division among our communities. I am calling on those who are turning a proven community-building event into a divisive, pro-Pantaleo demonstration to cancel their plans and enter the evening in National Night Out’s long-standing spirit of unity — and I hope you will join me in this call.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

Councilmember Debi Rose

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