Black community leaders in New York City are taking Mayor Bill De Blasio and NY Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to task over their decision to curb police powers, which they say have led to a rise in violent crime throughout the metropolitan city.
In recent weeks, New York City has seen soaring rates of violence, with the New York Post reporting that shootings soared 205 per cent after the NYPD disbanded its plainclothes anti-crime unit following a reconfiguration of the police department.
The city saw three times as many shootings over a two-week period since mid-June over the same period in 2019.
The move to disband the plainclothes unit was lauded by Black Lives Matter activists and others demanding change in the wake of George Floyd’s death during his arrest by the Minneapolis police in May, and have continued their calls to defund and disband police forces nationwide.
Black community leaders — whose communities were most affected by the violence — have voiced alarm, gathering in Brooklyn to call upon the mayor and the city council to put a stop to the violence and reverse the decision to disband the unit.
Washington Examiner reports that the black activists disparaged the Black Lives Matter-oriented police reforms proposed by the city, whom they accused of allowing the Marxist-aligned movement to dictate city policy at the cost of innocent lives, and urged the mayor not to sign the police reform bill recently passed by the City Council.
“The African American community is saying we don't want crime here. Ninety-five per cent of the people here are decent, law-abiding citizens, and the law is for the lawless," Bishop Gerald Seabrooks said on Tuesday, following five shootings on the Monday night before. “So, please, mayor, take your handcuffs off of the police. Let them police with professionalism, respect, and courtesy.”
Former police officer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams condemned the city for slowing down police action.
“Babies are not supposed to be wearing these in a coffin,” said Adams, who held up a pair of baby shoes after a one-year-old had died late Sunday in a shootout at an outdoor cookout.
“I think that a total elimination is something we need to reevaluate,” he added. “Right now, bad guys are saying if you don’t see a blue and white you can do whatever you want.”
A person of interest was picked up in relation to the shooting by the US Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force on Thursday, NBC New York reported.
"There's two types of community activists. There's the community activists that are real community activists. They're the people that live in those communities," said former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who spoke alongside community leaders.
"They want anti-crime, because they have to live there. Now you have community activists that are from outside — the outsiders. Those are usually the guys jacking up the crowds against the cops,” he said.