Cardinal, leaders meet about NYPD-community relations - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Cardinal, leaders meet about NYPD-community relations

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Timothy Cardinal Dolan gathered religious and city leaders with the focus of how to ease tensions between police and the community in advance of this Saturday's march to protest the death of Eric Garner.

Some of the leaders in this group are rarely photographed together, let alone seated at the same table. But they were brought together over concerns about possible protest violence by the cardinal, one of the most powerful figures in the city and who commands respect across the board.

Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy stood alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio, the first lady, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton after the two-hour closed-door meeting at the cardinal's private residence. Also in the group was one of the police commissioner's harshest critics, The Rev. Al Sharpton, who predicted that Saturday's rally on Staten Island over Eric Garner's death would be peaceful. Garner died after being placed in an apparent chokehold by police.

The police commissioner said improving relations is not just the responsibility of police. He said that respect must be a two-way street. He said the NYPD is ready for the protest, expected to draw more than 15,000 people.

Former NYPD Lt. Darrin Porcher said the police department's preparation will pay off with a peaceful demonstration.

The religious leaders say this first meeting won't be the only one and that they hope to meet regularly to advance understanding between city residents and the NYPD.

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