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Aug 20, 2014

NYC mayor turns to clergy to heal rift over police choke hold

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio turned to the city’s religious leaders on Wednesday to help heal relations between minority communities after a black man on Staten Island died last month after police put him in a choke hold.

De Blasio held a private meeting with his police commissioner and a dozen Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergymen. Afterwards they held a press conference that at times sounded more like a prayer service, with repeated paeans to the importance of unity.

Aug 20, 2014

With union deal, curtain falls on Met Opera’s labor dispute

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The curtain will rise on Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” next month at New York’s Metropolitan Opera after a deal was reached early on Wednesday with the third of its three largest unions, averting a threatened lockout.

Among the provisions was the hiring of an independent analyst to monitor the Met’s budget, according to The Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE.

Aug 19, 2014

NYC grand jury to hear police chokehold case

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City prosecutor said on Tuesday he will present evidence to a grand jury next month in the death of an unarmed man who police put in a chokehold while arresting him.

Daniel Donovan Jr., the district attorney in the New York borough of Staten Island, said in a statement that Eric Garner’s death had been investigated “with a full appreciation that no person is above the law, nor beneath its protection.”

Aug 12, 2014

Times Square’s costumed superheroes fight back against bad press

NEW YORK (Reuters) – After a spate of arrests and bad publicity, the costumed characters who pose for tourist photographs in New York’s Times Square in the hopes of a cash tip have formed an association to preserve a livelihood that has come under increasing scrutiny.

Dozens of people dressed as Spider-Man, Batman, Elmo, Mickey Mouse and other children’s favorites, roam the crowded sidewalks and pedestrian plazas around Times Square each day, beckoning toward passing kids and their camera-toting parents.

Aug 11, 2014

New York police to Times Square tourists: call 911 if a superhero pesters you

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York police have begun handing out fliers to tourists in Times Square telling them that tipping the costumed superheroes and children’s characters who pose for photographs is optional, and to call the 911 emergency number if they have complaints.

The fliers are part of an aggressive crackdown after a string of arrests of people dressed as characters who have gotten into confrontations with tourists or police, including one dressed as Spider-Man charged last month with punching a police officer who intervened in a tipping dispute.

Aug 9, 2014

Bridge protest over NYC man’s arrest death to proceed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A march to protest the death of a New York City man in police custody will go ahead later this month on Staten Island, organizers said, although plans to walk over the bridge linking the island to the rest of the city have been scrapped.

Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist behind the march, said on Saturday that protesters would drive in a caravan of cars and buses from Brooklyn to the point where Eric Garner, 43, died last month while being arrested by police.

Aug 6, 2014

Jeweler FabergĂ© forces Brooklyn’s Faberge restaurant to change name

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge has ordered Faberge, a Brooklyn restaurant and banquet hall, to come up with a new name by the end of August after FabergĂ©, the luxury jewelry company favored by the tsars of Russia, successfully sued for breach of copyright.

Faberge, the restaurant, opened last fall in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay, a neighborhood with a large Russian immigrant population.

Aug 5, 2014

NYC police union denies choke hold used in man’s death

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York coroner’s ruling that a police choke hold caused the death of a Staten Island man was politically motivated, the head of one of the city’s police unions said on Tuesday, denying that officers used the outlawed form of restraint to subdue the suspect.

“This was not a choke hold,” Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said at a press conference, referring to a July 17 incident in which Eric Garner, who was accused of selling illegal cigarettes, died in a scuffle with police.

Aug 5, 2014

DOJ finds NYC’s Rikers Island breaches rights of young inmates

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City’s Department of Correction routinely violates the constitutional rights of male teenagers at the Rikers Island jail complex by tolerating a “culture of violence” that permits the savage beating of young inmates, according to a federal report released on Monday.

The 79-page report, prepared by the U.S. Justice Department, describes a fearful and brutalized environment in which correction officers regularly batter young men, sometimes after they are handcuffed and dragged out of sight of surveillance cameras. The excessive use of force goes well beyond what is needed to control the inmates, it said.

Aug 4, 2014

NYC jail routinely violates rights of teen inmates: DOJ

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday a multi-year investigation of New York City’s Rikers Island jail has found a pattern of conduct that violates the constitutional rights of adolescent male inmates.

The findings, which focused on the use of force by jail guards, solitary confinement and violence at the city’s largest detention facility, recommended that New York begin housing teenage inmates elsewhere.