One of New York City's most powerful black ministers has issued an ultimatum to Mayor Bill de Blasio, demanding that the mayor make wholesale changes to the NYPD and fire the officer who put Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold – or else he'll get the mayor fired, reports WCBS.
The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem is one of the most respected black clergymen, and he laid down the gauntlet – saying the mayor's reelection could very well depend on making major changes to the Police Department, including firing the officer involved in Eric Garner's death.
"I'm thinking that would be bold action," Butts said. "The police commissioner can do it, and if he refuses to do it, de Blasio ought to dismiss his police commissioner."
Butts said de Blasio will have a heavy price to pay if he fails to act.
"If he refuses to do that, then we have to look seriously at whether he should continue to be the mayor of the City of New York," Butts said.
Butts wields enormous power as pastor of Abyssinian Baptist, which builds affordable housing and schools. He is also furious that the mayor has refused to meet with his group of clergy and community leaders from all five boroughs about demands to eliminate the so-called broken windows policing policy, and make NYPD policies fairer to minorities.
In the meantime, Butts said he is meeting with potential candidates to run against de Blasio in 2017.