You should know that thirty-two (32) members of the New York City Council voted to defund the New York City Police Department and a mere seventeen (17) voted against it. Practically the entire Bronx Delegation (7 out of 9 members) voted in favor of defunding the police. Those members were Vanessa Gibson, Diana Ayala, Andrew Cohen, Andy King, Rafael Salamanca, Richie Torres and Fernando Cabrera. Only two City Council members from the Bronx voted against this outrageous proposition when it was brought to the council floor for a vote. Those two (2) members were Councilman Mark Gjonaj and myself.
Among these thirty-two (32) anti-police voices were other Hispanic, Councilmembers like Francisco Moya from Queens and Ydanis Rodriguez from Manhattan. They decided by voting against the Police, and defunding them, less people would be arrested and therefore our jails would be empty.
How is it that it never occurred to them that by defunding the police, combined with the new bail reform, would create a dangerous environment for the people of New York. Those greatly impacted, with the recent rise in crime and shootings are the most vulnerable of our society, the elderly, children, and those everyday citizens who simply want to live in a safe city where they can make it to work and provide for their families.
As you well know, these days we all feel as if the criminals have more rights and protections than our police officers and we the people. The criminals brazenly commit violence against the police, and against the innocent without fear of repercussions. These policies have greatly emboldened those with the criminal mind who wish to do us all harm. The rise in crime and gun violence is evidence of that.
We have seen news reports that show our police officers being assaulted and mocked when buckets of water and bottles have been thrown at them, and profanities shouted at their faces, with no arrests. Police officers have been ambushed, shot, and killed while sitting in their squad cars. Senior Citizens (the elderly and disabled) have been assaulted, physically beaten in elevators, and hallways in their own residences, people have been shoved and pushed under subway trains, and children have been shot by stray bullets while simply going to McDonalds, or playing outside, even toddlers, and babies have fallen victim at the hands of those who wish to harm us and have been embolden by our elected leaders.
The most recent attacks on police officers came when Police Officer Jason Rivera (age 22) and his partner Police Officer Wilbert Mora were responding to a domestic violence call. P.O. Rivera and P.O. Mora, tragically, were shot and killed. Our prayers go out to both their families and loved ones.
Other violent crimes include an 11-month-old baby girl Catherine Gomez, shot in the face by a stray bullet, a 40-year-old woman, Michelle Go was killed when she was pushed in front of a subway train in Times Square, a 19-year-old girl Krystal Bayron working at a Burger King was shot and killed. Since January 01, 2022, five (5) police officers have been shot. This year 2022 has barely started.
As you could see, my dear reader, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that those policies like defunding the police, reducing, and eliminating bail has emboldened the criminal element of our society. It is time that our elected leaders recognize the impact that their policies have on us the residents of New York City.
These legislators need to wake up immediately and start working on behalf of our communities by first restoring the funds that were gutted out of the NYPD’s budget. They must also restore the support, resources, and tactics that worked and were available to law enforcement and helped reduce crime in our city.
They must restore bail, which will allow the judges and prosecutors to detain and hold those individuals they deem a menace to our society and detain those repeat offenders until their trial date. If necessary, I would suggest that they take a page from former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s policies and reinstate “Stop and Frisk”. Why? Because it took illegal guns out of the hands of the criminals, and more importantly, it worked to help law enforcement, reduce crime, and help keep New Yorkers safe.
You should also know that mental illness, or drug abuse is NO excuse to have policies that allow the criminally insane to wander the streets and commit violent crimes against New Yorkers. Our legislators need to get to work and get the criminally insane off our streets or we can expect the loss of more innocent lives.
I am Councilmember Rev. Rubén Díaz, Sr. and this is what you should know.