- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 4, 2014

President Obama called New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday to commend him for New Yorkers’ “constructive” demonstrations in response to a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers in the chokehold death of a black man.

Speaking at an education conference in Washington, Mr. Obama said he phoned the mayor and praised Mr. de Blasio for the way he and New Yorkers were reacting to the grand jury’s decision Wednesday.

“I commended him for his words yesterday and for the way New Yorkers have been engaging in peaceful protests and being constructive,” Mr. Obama said.

The president said noted that the mayor had attended meetings at the White House Monday in response to the civil unrest over a police shooting last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, and said he wants to work with Mr. de Blasio and others to address unfairness in the criminal justice system toward “communities of color.”

“Too many Americans feel deep unfairness when it comes to the gap between our professed ideals and how laws are applied on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Obama said. “I intend to take more steps with leaders like [Mr. de Blasio] in the months ahead.”

Mr. Obama said beyond ensuring that “police and law enforcement and prosecutors are serving everybody equally, there is the larger question of restoring a sense of common purpose.”

“At the heart of the American ideal is this sense that we’re in it together, that nobody is guaranteed success, but everybody’s got access to the possibilities of success, and that we are willing to work not just to make sure our own children have pathways to success but that everybody does, that at some level everybody is our kid, everybody is our responsibility,” he said. “We are going to give back to everybody.”

Mr. De Blasio said Wednesday the grand jury’s decision in the July death of Eric Garner made him think about his 17-year-old son, Dante, who is biracial.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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