Thursday, June 18, 2020
New York City's mayor, already accused of being an anti-Semite, is being sued for violating religious rights while allowing tens of thousands to protest and riot in the streets.
The Big Apple was devastated by COVID-19, leading to lockdowns that remain in place, but those restrictions seemed to vanish when protesters and rioters hit the streets after the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"The idea that there should be any limitation for gatherings at this point, anywhere in the state of New York, should basically be dismissed out of hand," says Christopher Ferrara, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, which is representing two Catholic priests and three Orthodox Jews in a lawsuit filed this week.
The lawsuit names Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state's attorney general, Letitia James.
CNN, among other news outlets, wrote a glowing story about the "Black Trans Lives Matter" rally in New York City, held June 15, where thousands filled Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.
The 30-paragraph story failed to mention the city's "Phase 1" lockdown, however.
The next day, June 16, city workers were filmed welding the gates of a public park in Brooklyn and then later returned with chains to secure the gates.
The park, known as Middleton Playground, is frequented by the area's Hasidic Jews but was shut down May 31 after the public failed to follow "social distancing" rules.
"That's not public health. That's just a grudge match," Ferrara tells OneNewsNow. "When you're in that situation, there is only one word to describe it: tyranny."
Mayor de Blasio, in fact, had already defended the mass protests weeks earlier while the city government was enforcing its lockdown rules on houses of worship.
Because the country is "grappling" with a race crisis "seated in 400 years of American racism," de Blasio told reporters on June 2, "I'm sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services."
The city's Jewish leaders who witnessed that comparison had already watched their city government shut down a Hasidic rabbi's funeral in late April.
The mayor called the gathering "absolutely unacceptable" in a Twitter post.
After the park gates were secured with chains Tuesday, Jewish leaders showed up with bolt cutters later that evening and cut the chains. A grinder was used to open locked gates at Midwood, another public park in Brooklyn.
"We're not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands," de Blasio said of the chain-cutting defiance.
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