After the death of a man in NYPD custody on Staten Island spurred outrage and left many elected officials troubled, Mayor Bill de Blasio postponed his departure for a vacation in Italy, which had been scheduled for Friday evening.
“He thought it was important to be here tonight,” a City Hall aide told reporters Friday.
The mayor will spend the night making calls to community leaders, though it had not been determined if he would speak to the family of the man, Eric Garner, who died after police wrestled him to the ground in a chokehold for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. City Hall senior staff has spoken to Mr. Garner’s family, the aide said.
“The Mayor will postpone the departure for his upcoming family vacation to Saturday, in order to attend to City business. Updates to the Mayor’s schedule will be provided as they become available,” said spokesman Phil Walzak.
The mayor’s family will depart with him sometime on Saturday, his office said.
Mr. de Blasio spent about an hour talking on the phone and meeting with senior staff on the plaza outside City Hall Friday, at times pacing and gesturing to his staff with his hands. When he walked back into the building, he would not take questions from reporters.
“We’ll have more to say tomorrow,” Mr. de Blasio said.
A slew of elected officials released statements Friday about the death of Mr. Garner, questioning the NYPD’s tactics and calling for an investigation. The Daily News posted video of the incident. Mr. de Blasio told reporters in a late afternoon press conference — which ended not long before his scheduled departure — that he was “troubled by the video” of the incident.
Rev. Al Sharpton has planned to hold two separate rallies Saturday — one at his National Action Network and one in Staten Island.
Mr. Walzak and two other staffers, Chief of Staff Laura Santucci and spokeswoman Monica Klein, are already in Italy. The mayor’s office also announced Friday the cost of the three staffers attending the trip — $12,764.38, including flights, hotels and per diem expenses, with staffers paying their own way on legs of the trip without official business.
This story has been updated with information about Mr. de Blasio declining to speak to reporters Friday evening.