Neal Kwatra Explains Why Many New Yorkers Turned Their Backs on Mayor de Blasio

New York City gave its mayor the cold shoulder after his enforced curfew in late spring went wrong. 

“The most charitable assessment is that his mayoralty is on life support,” said Neal Kwatra, CEO of Metropolitan Public Strategies (MPS), a high-level political consulting firm.

Kwatra came to that conclusion after reviewing how the mayor and his police department handled the protests that began with the death of George Floyd and continued unabated for about a week. De Blasio’s tolerance of NYPD misconduct led to harsh criticism from the public and some of his most ardent supporters, past and present.

A brief review:

Saturday, May 30: Protestors gathered in New York to seek justice for the death of George Floyd, who was wrongfully killed by police by police in Minneapolis on May 25. At nightfall, NYPD vehicles bulldozed through crowds with their patrol vehicles, sending some protestors flying. The incident outraged much of the general public and even some of the mayor’s most ardent supporters.

Some 400 of his past and present advisors and staff signed onto a letter openly expressing their lack of confidence in the mayor’s leadership abilities and calling for the mayor to cut NYPD funding. The letter included disturbing snapshots of police plowing through groups of protesters. 

Monday, June 1: For the first time since World War II, a citywide curfew was enforced to control protesters, widespread looting, and violence. Citizens were required to stay home between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Normally, police use curfews as a worst-case scenario to curb violence, but the way this curfew was implemented only exacerbated the tension between police and the community they are supposed to serve and protect. 

Wednesday, June 3: After declaring an even stricter curfew running from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Mayor de Blasio faced more widespread criticism as social media blew up with horrifying videos showing police violence against peaceful protestors as well as New Yorkers just trying to get home. One video showed several officers using their batons on protesters. Later in the day, two police officers were wounded in a gunfight with a man who had stabbed a police officer.

Thursday, June 4: Mayor de Blasio held a news conference at Kings County Hospital about the wounded officers.  Then, he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, spoke at a memorial for Floyd in Brooklyn. Members of the crowd booed de Blasio and turned their backs while chanting “resign” and “I can’t breathe” during his 90-second address.

Clearly, de Blasio’s curfew and defense of police brutality put a permanent stain on his mayoralty.

About Neal Kwatra

Since  founding  MPS in 2013, Neal Kwatra has been at the forefront of the most hotly contested political and advocacy campaigns in New York and across the nation. Kwatra expanded the reach of MPS into the strategic management of nationally recognized grassroots and issue advocacy campaigns, including the #FightFor15, where New York became the first state to pass a $15 minimum wage.

Image credit New York City – May 26, 2014: Mayor Bill DeBlasio speaking at the 2014 Memorial Day ceremonies at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument in Riverside Park — Photo by LeeSnider


Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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