Pol, activists demand action to curb gun violence
by Benjamin Fang
Jul 07, 2020 | 2467 views | 0 0 comments | 145 145 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Borough President Eric Adams stood on Black Lives Matter Boulevard to call for a response to a surge in shootings.
Borough President Eric Adams stood on Black Lives Matter Boulevard to call for a response to a surge in shootings.
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In response to a recent uptick in shootings in the city, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called on the police department and City Hall to come up with an urgent response to curb gun violence.

According to NYPD data, as of June 21, shootings have risen 42 percent compared to the same time period last year. On June 30, there were six shootings in Brooklyn, including one that hospitalized an 11-year-old boy.

Adams cited several other examples of recent incidents, including a man who was killed on Dean Street after he posted a cryptic message on Facebook, a young basketball player who was shot in the neck, and a graduating student who was shot at an event.

The borough president’s message was further amplified after another rash of shootings during the July 4th weekend, when more than 40 people were injured and at least nine were killed due to gun violence, according to reports.

“Six shootings in an hour is unacceptable,” Adams said. “We need an immediate response.

“We are concerned about that leading into the summertime,” he added, “where we have historically witnessed an increase in gun violence.”

Standing near the Black Lives Matter mural painted the previous week in front of Borough Hall, Adams said advocates wanted to send a message that “all Black lives matter.”

“When we say Black Lives Matter, we mean Black Lives Matter from police abuse and from gun violence,” he said.

The borough president also demanded that Police Commissioner Dermot Shea conduct an investigation into whether cops had responded slowly to crimes throughout the city. He called for an analysis of both 911 and 311 calls “to see if police officers have not been responding accordingly.”

Adams said he received reports of either no-shows or slow appearances in response to violent crimes. One took place on Troy Avenue, where a couple was “in the process of being violently assaulted,” but the police never responded, he alleged.

In other cases, Adams said the police took four to five hours to respond. The mayoral candidate said communities won’t accept “what appears to be a slowdown in police response” to crimes.

“Our communities won’t be held hostage for those who may have hurt feelings because we’re saying police correctly and effectively,” he said. “We’re not trading off our public safety for our public right to have a police department that responds with the dignity and respect we deserve as citizens.”

Anthony Beckford, president of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn, said elected officials should provide adequate funding and resources so “guns can be traded off for something better.”

“When we say Black Lives Matter, it’s not only due to police violence, but it’s also due to the violence within our communities,” he said. “We will not stand for it. No one in this movement will stand for it.”

He said communities need more youth programs and interventions.

“I have lost too many friends and too many family members to gun violence,” Beckford said. “We will not tolerate it.”

The NYPD’s top brass, including the commissioner, have blamed the surge in shootings on recent criminal justice reforms, including bail reform, resulting in fewer people jailed on Rikers Island.

Adams said while he has a “great deal of respect” for Commissioner Shea, he said the top cop “should trouble himself with policing,” not politics, which should be left up to lawmakers.

“That’s the role of the police, not to come up with policies to say why they can’t do their jobs,” he said. “The role of the police is to say regardless of the policy, we are going to do our job.”

The borough president, a former NYPD captain who served in the police department for more than two decades, said he policed in environments with different mayors and administrations.

“After 22 years, there was only one thing I was clear on,” he said. “No matter who’s the mayor, who’s on the City Council, I’m still the person that protects the public.

“That’s what I want my police officers to do,” Adams added. “Don’t worry about the politics, worry about the policing.”
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