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‘I can’t breathe’ case looms large over de Blasio’s tenure

August 4, 2019
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This Aug. 1, 2019 file photo shows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he answers questions after the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN in Detroit. De Blasio's handling of the death of Eric Garner at the hands of officers in 2014 permanently poisoned his relationship with officers and also many of the activists who had helped elect him as a reformer. Both sides are now following around the country as he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
1 of 3
This Aug. 1, 2019 file photo shows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he answers questions after the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN in Detroit. De Blasio's handling of the death of Eric Garner at the hands of officers in 2014 permanently poisoned his relationship with officers and also many of the activists who had helped elect him as a reformer. Both sides are now following around the country as he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s relationship with New York City’s police force was destined to be rocky.

He took office as a police reformer, promising to overhaul how the city’s 36,000 officers interacted with the public — especially people of color.

But it was de Blasio’s handling of the 2014 police chokehold death of Eric Garner that permanently poisoned his standing with officers and many of the activists who helped get him elected.

Now, the end of the police disciplinary process is coinciding with de Blasio’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he’s facing questions and a fair amount of criticism on the national stage about the case.

De Blasio was interrupted at Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate by chants encouraging the firing of the officer. Two days later, an administrative judge recommended the police department do just that.

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