NEW YORK (AP) – A leading candidate to become New York City’s next mayor had to take time off from the campaign trail Tuesday to appear in court on a civil disobedience charge.
Bill de Blasio appeared before a Manhattan judge along with City Councilman Stephen Levin and other people arrested last month at a demonstration against the planned closure of a Brooklyn hospital.
After a short wait in line with other defendants facing minor charges, the Democrat and other demonstrators were assigned to a program that will lead to their cases being dismissed if they stay out of trouble.
De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has been trying to save Long Island College Hospital, a well-regarded but financially troubled medical center not far from his Brooklyn home. It is part of a state-owned hospital system.
“Civil disobedience is something you use when the normal governmental process isn’t functioning,” de Blasio said after his court appearance. “I came to the conclusion that something more dramatic had to be done to bring attention to the issue.”
After polling in the middle of the Democratic pack for months, de Blasio had a slight lead in one poll last week. Another poll had him tied with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
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