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‘Blue Lives Matter’ Dispute Reportedly Sinks Mental Health Event In NYC

August 17, 2019 - 3:18 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – As the NYPD deals with a rash of suicides, a seminar meant to connect cops with mental health counselors was postponed, reportedly amid a disagreement between ThriveNYC staffers and a Staten Island council member’s office over the pro-police group Blue Lives Matter.

Everything seemed to be ready to go for Monday's event—a partnership between Council Member Joe Borelli’s office and ThriveNYC, a mental health initiative run by the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray.

But ThriveNYC staffers called Borelli staffers a week in advance, saying they weren’t comfortable with a logo for the group Blue Lives Matter being on a flier for the event. The group was started in response to the 2014 killing of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

Monday’s event was eventually postponed after the two sides couldn’t find common ground over the group's sponsorship, Borelli told the New York Post.

ThriveNYC had offered to provide what the flier called mental health first aid training for first responders.

Seven NYPD officers had committed suicide this year when the event was being planned—a number that has increased to nine in recent days.

Speaking with WNYC, Mayor de Blasio, who is McCray’s husband, said the issue could have been fixed. He also disputed the notion that the event was canceled over Blue Lives Matter's involvement.

“A massive mental health initiative trying to get help to people who need it—and folks want to talk about some dispute over sponsorship and how a meeting is called,” de Blasio told the radio station.

De Blasio, a Democrat, accused Borelli, a Republican, of running to the media for “cheap shots” and called the whole thing “absolutely ridiculous.” The mayor said he doesn’t know the details “of what some midlevel person said or didn’t say.”

“I would have fixed this in a heartbeat. Chirlane would have fixed this in a heartbeat. Anyone would have fixed it,” de Blasio said.

According to the New York Post, a deputy director at ThriveNYC admitted in an email that the group “mishandled” the seminar.