Two days after Fernando Ferrer said, in front of the Sergeants' Benevolent Association, that he didn't think Amadou Diallo's death was a crime, simply a tragedy, politicians and even Diallo's mother have been weighing in. This is a big deal for mayoral hopeful Ferrer because these words seem to be a a change from 1999, when he protested outside Police Headquarters. Diallo's mother, Kadiatou Diallo, has told the media that she's "very hurt" by Ferrer's remarks, given his past support. Some political consultants say Ferrer didn't shoot himself in the foot but, as Hank Sheinkopf put it, "What voters don't like is inconsistency, and his inconsistency is going to hurt him." Though Ferrer is claiming he has been consistent, Steinkopf added that C. Virginia Fields "should send him flowers."
Fields herself made it a point to issue a press release saying, "The shooting of Amadou Diallo was indeed a tragedy, but it was not an accident and to my mind it rises to the level of a crime." Representative Charles Rangel's remarks were interesting:
"I think that Freddy got carried away with the sea of blue uniforms and forgot that those guys don't live in the city of New York." Told of Mr. Ferrer's explanation of his comments, he said, "A candidate for mayor should know the legal implications of the word that he used, and maybe I'm getting carried away as a former prosecutor but when you're talking about police and indictment, it has a different meaning."
Gothamist has to agree - it's not like Ferrer is a political neophyte. It should be interesting to see how Ferrer continues to deal with the fallout, but it doesn't seem like other mayoral would-bes can capitalize on it, because race and police relations gets to be extremely touchy.
The NY Times' Joyce Purnick writes that Ferrer has "perfected the art of inconsistency."