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Police Commissioner To Koch: Apologize For Jackson Attacks

April 26, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward said Tuesday that Mayor Edward I. Koch ought to apologize for his ″divisive″ attacks on Jesse Jackson during the New York primary.

Ward, the city’s first black police commissioner and a Koch appointee, said the mayor’s acknowledgement that he had been left ″bloodied″ but unbowed by the uproar surrounding his criticism of Jackson did not suffice as an apology.

″It’s not enough to say ‘I’m bloodied.’ ... It’s not a time for more people to get bloodied 3/8 If you’re bloodied, maybe you need Florence Nightingale. You don’t need somebody else with a bat and a hatchet,″ Ward told reporters at City Hall.

At an appearance in Washington on Tuesday, Koch offered an apology for hurting black people’s feelings but stopped short of saying he was sorry for his remarks.

″When you ask me about blacks and their sensitivity, I’m sorry that I injured their feelings but I will try to redress that as best I can,″ he said. ″Not just with words but with programs.″

He said his new budget on May 9 would include housing, health and education programs aimed at helping New York’s blacks.

Asked if these programs were evolving because of the harsh criticism to which he has been subjected, Koch, who has said he plans to run for a fourth term next year, replied, ″Oh, sure. Absolutely.″

During the campaign, Koch criticized Jackson’s stand on Israel and said Jews and other supporters of that nation would be ″crazy″ to vote for him.

He also said he thought Jackson’s positions on national spending would bankrupt the country, that his defense policy would disarm the United States, and that he had ″lied″ about his actions the night the Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

Ward said he did not know Koch’s intentions in making those remarks.

″But, whatever the mayor thought he was doing ... I’m here to tell him, and I think the whole city community, black and white, is saying that, ’It didn’t come out right, Ed. And it has a divisive tone to it. And there is a time for some healing and consensus playing that this city really can’t afford what’s come out of this. And enough is enough and times is tough.‴

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