NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, calling New York City’s recent descent into lawlessness and violence ‘predictable‘ given massive police budget cuts and the release of thousands of dangerous inmates from prison.
However, Mayor de Blasio has blamed the dramatic increase in gun violence, murder and crime on the “warmer weather“, the coronavirus pandemic, and the resultant economic uncertainty. .
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Commissioner Shea’s comments came after New York City continued sliding towards anarchy, with 63 people shot, at least 11 fatally, in 44 shootings separate shootings over the July 4th weekend.
One of the shootings was captured in disturbing video which showed an innocent 29-year-old man getting shot dead in front of his 4-year-old daughter as they crossed a street in the Bronx on Sunday.
DailyMail report: On Monday afternoon NYPD officials revealed that gun violence increased 130 percent in June, with more than 205 shootings – a trend that’s shown little sign of stopping into July.
De Blasio sought to defend his police reforms during a press conference on Monday afternoon where he blamed the surge in violence on the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor acknowledged that the city saw ‘too much violence’ between Friday and Sunday and said: ‘We have a lot of work to do to address it.’
But he argued that ‘there is not one cause for something like this’, citing failures by the court system, economic uncertainty and the fact that residents are restless after months in coronavirus lockdown.
‘This is directly related to coronavirus,’ de Blasio said. ‘This is a very serious situation. As we’re getting into warmer and warmer weather, we’re feeling the effects of people being cooped up for months, the economy hasn’t restarted – we have a real problem here.’
De Blasio vowed to ‘double down’ against violence with a multi-pronged response that would include an emphasis on neighborhood policing.
He called for ‘all hands on deck’ with community leaders and elected officials as the city works to bounce back from being ‘dealt a really tough hand’.
‘It was the health care crisis in March and April, May we were coming out of it, the warmer months,’ he said. ‘People are cooped up, they don’t have the normal things to engage their lives.
‘But we’re going to overcome it. It’s going to be tough and take hard work. I know it feels very unsettling for people but we’re going to fight it back.’
De Blasio’s comments came as the shocking video emerged of the shooting that killed a young father in the Bronx on Sunday.
Police said 29-year-old Anthony Robinson of Brooklyn was shot in the chest just before 6pm as he passed in front of 221 East 170 St with his daughter.
In the video the pair are seen crossing the street before a car drives up to them. A gun extends from the front passenger window and fires.
Robinson, who police said had many prior arrests, dropped to the ground on the crosswalk as his daughter ran for cover.
The father was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.
No arrests have been made in the shooting and police did not indicate any possible motive.
Speaking to NY1 on Monday morning, Commissioner Shea said he wasn’t surprised at all by the weekend’s surge in shootings.
‘This has been predictable,’ Shea said. ‘You heard me saying: “A storm is coming,” and we’re in the middle of it right now.‘
Shea tore into de Blasio and his administration last week after the city announced a $1billion cut to the NYPD’s budget in response to weeks of protests against racism and police brutality.
‘You’ll see in the City Council, [a] bow to mob rule,’ Shea said last Wednesday. ‘And let’s mark the date on the calendar and how long it’s going to be before we’re having a conversation about New York is crying out for more police. And I think that day has come.’
After the bloody weekend, Shea on Monday argued that there is plenty of blame to go around – including with the latest policing reforms.
He ridiculed a new local law that criminalizes the use of chokeholds, saying: ‘Police officers should not have to worry more about getting arrested than the person with the gun that they’re rolling around on the street with.’
Shea also railed against how the inmate population at Rikers Island has been reduced by half thanks to bail reform and efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus inside the notorious prison.
‘Where is the other half right now?’ Shea asked. ‘We’ve transplanted general population to the streets of New York City and it’s extremely frustrating. And don’t think this is happening by happenstance. This is organized.’
However, Shea said it’s not too late to address city chaos.
‘We can fix this,’ he said. ‘We don’t need a lot of new things.
‘What we need is support — and that’s in short supply. We need tools. We need the laws that make sense. And then we need resources. Those three things and we can turn this around quickly.’
NYPD Chief Terence Monahan also weighed in on the weekend violence on Monday, calling it ‘unacceptable’.
He said the surge was due to ‘a combination of things’, including the pandemic, new reforms and heightened tensions between police and citizens.
‘The animosity toward police out there is tremendous,’ Monahan said.
‘Just about everyone we deal with is looking to fight a police officer when we make an arrest, so it is vital that we get communities together supporting and speaking up for police.’
The Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, tweeted out against de Blasio Sunday, writing: ‘Criminals with guns fear no consequences,’ adding that the mayor owes his ‘constituents an explanation’.
Hours earlier, two NYPD officers were injured in the Bronx late Saturday after a bullet was fired through the windshield of their marked SUV.
The officers had pulled up to a barricade outside Mott Haven’s 40th Precinct just before midnight on July 4 when the shot was fired.
Chilling surveillance footage shows two pedestrians crossing the street in front of the idling SUV just moments before the bullet is seen piercing the windshield, sending a puff of debris shooting up from the vehicle’s hood.
The round passed between the two officers, who were sat in the front seats, and embedded into a divider between the back seats, authorities said.
One officer was cut in the face from shattered glass while the other suffered ringing ears. Both were treated for their injuries at local hospitals.
It remains unclear whether the vehicle was intentionally targeted or the bullet was a stray round. No arrests were immediately announced.