Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling on the New York Police Department to reinstate its recently-shuttered anti-crime unit as the Big Apple continues to struggle with a surge in gun violence.
The call from one of the city’s most influential Black leaders comes days after the tragic shooting death of 1-year-old Davell Gardner, who was struck in the stomach with a bullet during a family cookout.
“I think that a total elimination is something we need to reevaluate,” Adams, a former police officer, told CBS New York. “Right now, bad guys are saying if you don’t see a blue and white you can do whatever you want.”
“Babies are not supposed to be wearing these in a coffin,” Adams added while holding up a pair of baby shoes.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at the time that the unit, which focused primarily on seizing illegal guns, was responsible for a disproportionate number of shootings and complaints.
A holdover from the department’s “stop and frisk” era, the Anti-Crime Unit is no longer a 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 added.
“Make no mistake, this is a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city,” Shea had said, according to the Associated Press. “It will be felt immediately in the communities that we protect.”
But local community activist Tony Herbert told CBS New York this week that “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."
This past weekend alone, 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, the NYPD told Fox News.
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch criticized the disbanding when it was announced, warning that city leaders will 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. “They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences.”
Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Courtney Crawford and the Associated Press contributed to this report.