N.Y. Official Accepts Koch's Explanation of Jackson Remarks

Associated Press

Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward, who had called on Mayor Edward I. Koch to apologize for his remarks about the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said Wednesday he was satisfied with the mayor's explanation--even though Koch refused to call it an apology.

Ward, a Koch appointee who is the top black official in the city, added that Koch is "an outstanding mayor" and vowed to put the matter behind him.

On Wednesday, a letter from Koch was published in the New York Times in which Koch said "It was never my intent to draw political lines with racial or religious borders" during the heated New York Democratic presidential primary. Koch endorsed Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore Jr. in that campaign and said Jews would be "crazy" to vote for Jackson because of his backing of a Palestinian state in the Middle East.

Koch was asked if his letter was an apology to Jackson.

"I'm not characterizing it," he said.

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