NYPD Commissioner asks for calm, meaningful discussion after weekend of protests

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Josh Einiger has the story. (AP Photo/Ezra Kaplan)

The NYPD is trying to reduce violent and hate-filled speech after a weekend of protests and arrests, and on Monday, the police commissioner again called for calm and peaceful dialogue.

Some of the protests were large, and many carried signs saying Black Lives Matter, while others were against police and the recent shootings of black men by officers in other cities.

It all prompted NYPD Commissioner William Bratton to take a stand, voicing his concern that it's time for meaningful discussions.

"We need to hear each other," he said. "And it's hard to hear each other at demonstrations when they are yelling and screaming and not wanting to listen, but only to be heard."

The protests have increased in number following the two most recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana and have found many supporters here in New York. Bratton pointed to a published report of one protester.

"Stepped out of the line of marchers and up to face one of my officers and screamed, 'murderer,'" he said. "'Murderer.' A cop who was protecting her right and basically disparaged him."

While most of the marches were peaceful, there were incidents that prompted the arrests of 42 people.

"I think hateful speech towards the police is absolutely unacceptable, and anything that provokes violence is unacceptable," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "That's a very small number."

Bratton urged people not to broad brush verbal attacks against police.

"This kind of poison talk, calling the police murderers and racists, are the kind of generalizations that spew hate and not solutions," he said.

During the weekend of protests, Bratton also made several appearances and stressed the need for meaningful discussion of the issues.

"Try to find common ground and engage in dialogue," he said. "Because it's the dialogue that is going to make the difference."

Also weighing in on the issue was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who offered advice to black parents.

"If I were a black father and I was concerned about the safety of my child, I would say 'Be very respectful to the police,'" he said. "I'd also say, 'Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood, and don't get involved with them, because son, there's a 99 percent chance they're going to kill you, not the police.'"

Giuliani went on to attack the group Black Lives Matter.

"I don't see what Black Lives Matter is doing for black lives other than isolating them," he said. "All it cares about is the police shooting of blacks."

The comments brought a blunt response from de Blasio.

"Families of color trying to do the right thing, children of color that are trying to do the right thing, and they should not be denigrated by Rudy Giuliani," he said. "He says things that cause pain and divide people."

The pain is still as raw as it gets and protesters took the streets in Newark, New Jersey, Monday night.

In Brooklyn, interfaith leaders prayed for peace.

Police made dozens of arrests in Louisiana's capital city during weekend protests around the country in which people angry over police killings of young black men sought to block some major interstates.

Riot police in full gear stopped a group of protesters in Baton Rouge late Sunday in their attempt to walk onto Interstate 110 in Baton Rouge, thwarting a protest tactic that social justice activists have increasingly tried in several U.S. cities.

More than 1,000 people left a Black Lives Matter rally in Memphis, Tennessee, and walked up a bridge over the Mississippi River on Sunday night, temporarily blocking all traffic on Interstate 40.

At a West Coast protest, hundreds of people poured into the streets of in Southern California late Sunday night, blocking traffic for several minutes on the 405 Freeway. Authorities told the Los Angeles Times there were no arrests and no reports of violence.

Dallas' police chief offered a solution, saying recruitment since the tragedy is way up.

"Get off that protest line and put an application in. We'll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you are protesting about," Chief David Brown said.
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