By their words, Cuomo and de Blasio endorsed “what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,” the judge said, thus sending “a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”
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Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband’s June 19 letter said the demonstrations in New York raised “several civil rights concerns,” while de Blasio’s statements and actions “raised substantial concerns about New York City’s commitment to evenhanded application of robust First Amendment protections.”
On Wednesday, Ed Mechmann, director of public policy for the Archdiocese of New York, said the mayor’s policy shows that religious liberty is now considered a low priority in the city.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, de Blasio has repeatedly aimed enforcement warnings at faith communities.
Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, which cover all five boroughs of New York City, suspended the public celebration of Mass on March 14 and March 16, respectively.