New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday his son Dante fears police brutality, despite being an "exemplary" teenager who never gets into trouble, the New York Daily News reported.
"He is everything you could ask for. He has worked hard throughout his whole life. He is an exemplary student. He follows every law," De Blasio said. "And yet, he has that fear, that he will be misunderstood, there will be an assumption."
The mayor, who is white, has two children, Dante and daughter Chiara, both of whom are half-black. De Blasio made the comments while addressing issues of race on the Brian Lehrer show on radio station WNYC. He was speaking in response to an African-American grandmother in the Queens borough of New York City who was concerned over "racist" cops. She worried for her teenage grandsons.
De Blasio said the call illustrated the"fear that parents of color, parents of children of color, feel all the time" then talked about his son, who recently completed his freshman year at Yale University.
He said Dante's fears are the reason why "Black Lives Matter as an idea is so important."
"We have to, as a country, dignify and respect young men of color in particular, all people obviously, but young men of color have been the focal point of so much suspicion, so much negativity," he said, according to the Daily News.
De Blasio did later tell a black police officer who called in that he thinks it's "intolerable" when people yell "vile" insults at officers, but called the Black Lives Matter social justice movement necessary.
De Blasio has had a difficult relationship with police in the city. A Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association survey this year found that 96 percent of the 6,000 officers who responded held an unfavorable view of the mayor, according to the New York Post. New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton has said the Black Lives Matter movement paints police with a broad brush and labels them as "racists" and "murderers."