News, Culture & Society

NYC’s most influential black politician calls for NYPD anti-crime unit to be reinstated

The Brooklyn Borough President has called for the return of the controversial NYPD anti-crime unit just a month after it was shut down due to anti-cop protests as shootings in the Big Apple continue to spike. 

Eric Adams, one of NYC’s most influential black politicians, claims that the plainclothes unit, whose job it was to get guns off the street, may need reform but should not have been completely eliminated. 

The former cop, who is running for mayor in 2021, said that the absence of the unit led ‘bad guys’ to believe they can do ‘whatever you want’.  

He made the comments after another violent weekend in New York City and a spate of shootings which resulted in the death of a one-year-old child.  

Brooklyn Borough President, one of NYC’s most influential black politicians, claims that the NYPD anti-crime unit should never have been disbanded  as he spoke about recent shootings

‘Babies are not supposed to be wearing these in a coffin,’ Adams told CBS while holding up a pair of baby shoes.

‘I think that a total elimination is something we need to reevaluate. Right now, bad guys are saying if you don’t see a blue and white you can do whatever you want.’

Outlining his vision for the return of the unit for the New York Post, Adams, the leading Democratic candidate for mayor, said that unit needed to replace its ‘overly aggressive officers’. 

In their stead would be placed ‘cops more suited for high-difficulty police work’. 

‘Moving forward on police reform does not mean we have to move backward on public safety. The problem with the precinct level anti-crime unit wasn’t the strategy behind it — it was some of the officers in it,’ he said. 

Adams added that he would ‘shift detectives and other officers from low-crime areas to crime hot-spots when surges occur’.

On June 15, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea disbanded anti-crime plainclothes units that had focused on stopping people and searching for guns. 

The controversial units had been involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner and have long been criticized for aggressive tactics and so in a major redeployment, the country’s largest police force reassigned some 600 plainclothes officers, effective immediately. 

The NYPD’s anti-crime units, which focused primarily on seizing illegal guns, were responsible for a disproportionate number of shootings and complaints, Shea said of his decision. 

The commissioner made the announcement amid a nationwide reckoning over police brutality sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.

Adams is running to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio, pictured, in 2021. The Brooklyn Borough President, a former cop, claims he would return the anti-crime unit disbanded just last month

Adams is running to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio, pictured, in 2021. The Brooklyn Borough President, a former cop, claims he would return the anti-crime unit disbanded just last month

A holdover from the department’s ‘stop and frisk’ era, the anti-crime unit no longer fit in a department that has shifted to relying more heavily on intelligence, data and tools like video, DNA and shot-detection technology to fight crime, Shea said.

‘Make no mistake, this is a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city,’ Shea said. ‘It will be felt immediately in the communities that we protect.’ 

Yet Adams is just one of several voices calling for its return to get guns of the streets as the violence in the city increases.  

According to CBS, shootings last week went up 277 percent – 49 compared to 13 in 2019 – as NYPD statistics showed a huge drop in gun arrests. 

The number of victims also went up 253 percent, 60 compared to 17 in 2019. 

Toddler Davell Gardner Jr. was among those fatally shot in NYC over the weekend

Toddler Davell Gardner Jr. was among those fatally shot in NYC over the weekend

Shootings were up more than 50 percent this year over 2019 with 585 incidents reported as of July 5 and June was the most violent month in the city since 1996, the New York Post reports. 

Just last weekend, there were 28 shooting incidents and 35 victims across the city’s five boroughs, compared to just five incidents and six victims during the same Friday-to-Sunday period last year, Fox News reports. 

Among them was one-and-a-half-year-old Davell Gardner Jr. who was fatally shot as he sat in his stroller outside the Raymond Bush Playground in the Bedford-Stuyvestant neighborhood in Brooklyn. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio decried the shootings Monday stating, ‘this is not anything we can allow in our city. It is heartbreaking’. 

‘It’s heartbreaking for so many reasons and begins with the fact that there are just so many guns out there and that is a New York tragedy,’ de Blasio said.  

Yet community activist Tony Herbert told CBS that the mayor has young Garnder’s blood on his hands. 

‘The guns keep going off and now we have a 1-year-old and the blood is on the hands of the mayor and the state Legislature,’ said Herbert. 

The disbanding of the anti-crime unit had already caused outrage among cops when it was first announced. 

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch warned city leaders that they would have to ‘reckon with the consequences’.

‘Anti-Crime’s mission was to protect New Yorkers by proactively preventing crime, especially gun violence. Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have clearly decided that proactive policing isn’t a priority anymore,’ Lynch had said in a statement. 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Blasio, pictured right, has been harshly criticized for allowing for the plainclothes anti-crime units to be disbanded. Adams, pictured left, said there is a need to ‘reevaluate’

‘They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences.’

Former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly also blasted Mayor De Blasio for the move. 

‘He has eviscerated the police department. One of the most important, significant things [de Blasio] did was to eliminate the anti-crime units throughout the city — they are the real crime fighters,’ he told Fox. 

‘[They were] the ones who have been able to address the violent crime for several decades in New York City. That unit is gone.’ 

De Blaiso has doubled down on the decision, however, on Tuesday lauding the move to eradicate the gun-hunting unit. 

‘This is something that very, very sadly we’ve seen in the past and we’ve had to fight back before and we will fight back again,’ de Blasio told reporters.

‘We do that by bringing police and community together in a common cause,’ he added. 

The mayor placed the blame for the spike on crime on the coronavirus pandemic. 

‘Every aspect of life has been dislocated,’ he said. ‘C’mon, we’re not dealing with business as usual here.’