Two prominent members of the black community in New York City have called on the New York Police Department to reinstate the controversial "anti-crime" unit following weeks of increased violence and death in the city since its disbandment.
Last month, the NYPD announced that it would dissolve the controversial plainclothes unit after data allegedly showed its involvement in a disproportionate number of fatal officer-involved shootings in the city. The move was applauded by those who sought immediate change in the wake of George Floyd's death.
But in the weeks following the move, shootings in the city skyrocketed more than 200%, with a whopping 116 shooting incidents that occurred between June 15 and July 2. Things didn't get any better during the first two weeks of July as violence continued to grip the city resulting in several deaths, including that of a 1-year-old who was caught in the crossfire at a family barbecue.
Through July 12, 634 shootings have occurred in 2020, compared with 394 in 2019.
What are the details?
Now, some in the black community are calling for the anti-crime unit to be brought back, according to a report by WLNY-TV.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police officer, suggested the disbandment be "reevaluated" in a recent video in which he holds up a pair of baby shoes while speaking about the 1-year-old victim.
"Babies are not supposed to be wearing these in a coffin," Adams said.
"I think that a total elimination is something we need to reevaluate," he argued. "Right now, bad guys are saying if you don't see a blue and white you can do whatever you want."
Community activist Tony Herbert echoed the sentiment.
"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," Herbert said.
The violence has continued as NYPD statistics show a marked drop in gun arrests during the last couple weeks, WLNY-TV noted.
Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has decried the violence, calling it "heartbreaking," but has not proposed any solutions to the problem as of yet.
The mayor seemed to indicate that the prevalence of guns on the streets was the problem.
"So many guns out there — that is a New York tragedy and a national tragedy," he said at a news conference.
The "anti-crime" unit consisted of roughly 600 undercover plainclothes officers tasked with monitoring and clearing the streets of crime, including the illegal possession of guns. The officers formerly in the unit have since been reassigned to other duties.