New York City was ravaged by gun violence over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to multiple reports.
Amid holiday celebrations and a crime wave following protests against police in recent weeks, dozens of people were shot in the city.
According to WNBC-TV, between Friday and Monday, police reported 44 separate shootings with 63 victims. At least ten victims who died of their injuries were targeted on Sunday alone, with nearly 40 of the weekend’s shootings occurring that day.
Over the same three days in 2019, there were 16 incidents and 21 victims.
WNYW-TV reported two NYPD officers were fired at over the weekend while driving a department cruiser in the Bronx.
Today, we are extremely fortunate to not be mourning the loss of hero cops in the Bronx — who could’ve been killed last night when their police car was struck by gunfire. Despite these dangers, officers are out there on behalf of every NYer. They’re all owed a debt of gratitude. pic.twitter.com/hH94cODVHD
— Chief Terence Monahan (@NYPDChiefofDept) July 5, 2020
A bullet ripped through the car’s windshield on Saturday, injuring one officer with broken glass while the other officer reported a ringing sensation in one of her ears.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea blamed some of the weekend’s violence on more criminals being free after they were released from jail amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“[T]here is a lot of gang activity, a lot of drug activity. It’s bad people with guns and it doesn’t get any simpler than that. We get people settling scores, we get people spraying a crowd. We had a bullet go through a young child’s bedroom this weekend, but thankfully the girl wasn’t there,” Shea told NY1-TV.
“The saddest part of it is this has predictable. You heard me say a storm is coming … and we’re in a perfect storm of sorts, with COVID, the Rikers population.
“Look at the Rikers population of the last year. Ask a sane person. It’s about half. And where is that other half right now? We’ve transplanted the general population to the streets of New York City and it’s extremely frustrating.”
Shea also placed blame on city and state politicians for not standing behind law enforcement officers, citing the city’s strict new ban on chokeholds, which is referred to as the “Diaphragm Bill,” as partial evidence that police officers are being subverted.
“We have to change that Diaphragm Bill that just came out of the city council. It is insane, and it is crippling police officers. 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.
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“And then we need resources. Those three things and we can turn this around quickly,” he said.
Meanwhile, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to disband the department’s plainclothes anti-crime unit last month.
The unit was instrumental for confiscating illegal guns and going after the city’s most violent criminals for decades, but was nixed in June, The New York Times reported, amid unrest following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“Here, the mayor eliminated the anti-crime units, which were probably the most effective tool that existed in the department for decades to fight violent street crime. So that was a direct signal of surrender,” Kelly said on the radio Sunday, according to WCBS-TV.
The mayor, though, blamed the violence on the city’s coronavirus shutdowns, the economy and the city’s courts.
“[T]here’s not one cause for something like this,” de Blasio told the New York Daily News on Monday, adding that the courts were “not working.”
De Blasio did not comment online regarding the violence as homicides spiked in New York City over the weekend, but he did comment on the controversy surrounding the name of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, which he described as “racist” on Independence Day.
The name is racist.
“Independence” isn’t just a holiday, its an ideal we live up to when we cast off the remnants of a hateful past.
Every sports team with a name rooted in this kind of bigotry needs to make a change. https://t.co/7uvp5EVPGH
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 4, 2020
The mayor was not the only city official criticized amid escalating violence.
Police commanders in the Manhattan borough publicly criticized District Attorney CY Vance on Twitter Sunday for being a “no show” at crime scenes amid the crime surge.
Complete No Show in Manhattan North!! Shame!! https://t.co/vF9KBWrZdS
— NYPD Patrol Borough Manhattan North (@NYPDPBMN) July 5, 2020
On Sunday, President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, also commented on the city’s violent weekend, and connected it with a deadly weekend in Chicago.
President Trump called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio to act, noting the federal government is “ready, willing and able to help, if asked!”
Chicago and New York City crime numbers are way up. 67 people shot in Chicago, 13 killed. Shootings up significantly in NYC where people are demanding that @NYGovCuomo & @NYCMayor act now. Federal Government ready, willing and able to help, if asked!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2020
In Chicago, nearly 90 people were shot and 17 died between Thursday and Sunday during another weekend of continued violence in that city, WLS-TV reported.
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