New York Mayor: ‘Don’t Surrender to Violence’

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “New York Mayor: ‘Don’t Surrender to Violence'” – below is their description.

“One gun on the street is a gun that’s endangering our entire city.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams said to city residents after a New York City police officer was killed Friday night while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son.

Hours before gunfire in Harlem left one police officer dead and another fighting for his life, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said addressing gun violence is his top priority as shootings soar.

The death of the 22-year-old officer, who was responding to a domestic dispute, comes two weeks after a teenager was murdered working the night shift at an East Harlem Burger King. The violence has drawn outcry from residents of New York’s densest borough — where shooting incidents have doubled from a year prior — and scrutiny of Bragg’s approach to public safety.

Bragg, who has been under pressure over a memo he issued forswearing prosecutions of certain crimes, said street crime will be a top priority for his office, especially shootings. He said he hopes to use gun-tracing technologies and go after the “drivers” of violence.

“We have a real crisis going on with guns, particularly in the upper part of Manhattan, that is really destabilizing communities,” Bragg said in an interview Friday with Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power With David Westin.”

There have been 13 shootings in Manhattan so far this year, compared to seven during the same period in 2021, according to New York Police Department statistics. Among the most shocking of those was the murder of 19-year-old Burger King clerk Kristal Bayron-Nieves in an apparent botched robbery. The shootings of the officers Friday were two of several that have occurred citywide in 2022.

Bragg, 48, sought to strike a different tone on Friday than the memo he released days after his Jan. 1 inauguration. In that memo, he set new guidelines for his office’s prosecutors, who were instructed not to bring charges that stem from incidents like low-level drug arrests or fare evasion and to prioritize alternatives to pretrial incarceration by limiting the use of cash bail.

Though he pledged to take such steps during his campaign, the memo resulted in sharp criticism, including from New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, the first Black woman to hold that job. Many noted that resisting arrest was among the crimes that would no longer prosecuted.

On Friday Bragg said he was talking about a “narrow area” of cases where resisting arrest was charged alone and not along with assault, for example.

“Violence against police officers is never going to be tolerated,” he said. “Anyone who tries to punch or kick or otherwise harm an officer is going to be held accountable.”

Bragg also said he would expand resources devoted to hate crimes and domestic violence, which he said has been on the rise during the pandemic. The hate crime unit has “great leadership” but is very small and needs to be expanded and must partner with local communities, he said.

“What I’ve heard as I’ve traveled throughout Manhattan is that there’s a reluctance to come forward to law enforcement from some communities, and some people are more willing to go forward through a community group,” Bragg said. “We are both focusing on building cases and prosecuting cases and also mindful that we might not be hearing about everything that we want to be, so strengthening our community ties as well.”

Though he was far from the most progressive candidate in the Democratic primary for district attorney, Bragg’s push to downgrade crimes has led to comparisons to his counterparts in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Critics says progressive prosecutors in those cities have driven a spike in crime rates.

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