Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted an interfaith roundtable meeting on Wednesday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton met with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and other religious leaders, in advance of the weekend rally in Staten Island protesting Eric Garner’s death, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The goal of the closed-door meeting was to devise a communications strategy that would help ease brewing tensions amongst New York City residents around how the city ultimately will handle Garner’s case as it concerns the NYPD and whether justice will be served.
“We want this to be a transcendent moment for this city,” said de Blasio said at a news conference following the meeting. “We’ve experienced a tragedy with the death of Eric Garner. But this is not about a single incident or being mired in the past. This is about a very purposeful and consistent effort forward. It has to be done— it’s a way of saving lives.”
The mayor described the gathering as “extraordinary” and “uplifting” and he said he hoped it will help heal wounds and repair relations between the New York Police Department and the community.
Cardinal Dolan and the other leaders at the event will “help us send a message of peace and reconciliation all over this city,” said de Blasio of the meeting.