Incoming NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton was given a whole-hearted welcome over the weekend by an unlikely figure: Rev. Al Sharpton, who was a frequent critic of the once and future top cop back when Bratton ran the department in the 1990's.
Speaking before the National Action Network in Harlem on Saturday with both Bratton and mayor-elect Bill de Blasio in attendance, Sharpton said it was Bratton's work in Los Angeles during the intervening years that changed his mind.
"They kept telling me the police chief is really trying to bring the city together, and I, you know me, I said 'Who, Bratton?'" Sharpton said to laughter. "But after about a year of everybody working together and crime going down, and they were saying this thing is working, I said, 'You're talking about my man Bill, you know, from home!'"
Sharpton also invoked recently departed South African icon Nelson Mandela, in whose memory NAN was holding the event, to offer cautionary words for the future.
"You cannot mourn Mandela and then profile his grandchildren," Sharpton said, referring to the NYPD's controversial practice of stop-and-frisk.
Bratton swore to reform the practice.
“My commitment to you is that your police force in your city will be respectful,” Bratton said. “It will practice what Mandela preached. It will demand respect for all, compassion for all."