New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is causing a stir with recent comments about community leaders being “shockingly silent” on the topic of increasing violence in New York City.
Last week, seventy seven people were shot in the five boroughs, including a three year old in Brooklyn. Commenting on community resistance to stop-and-frisk policies, Kelly said that “many [community members] will speak out against stop-and-frisk” while being “shockingly silent when it comes to the level of violence right in their own communities.” He went on to describe how city leaders are quick to demonstrate against the city’s measures to prevent violence, yet become inactive when young community members become the target of actual violence.
Kelly’s thoughts on the recent developments sparked anger among city officials, including Rev. Al Sharpton and city councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), who said that members of the community have repeatedly spoken out against the violence, but their calls to action have fallen upon deaf ears. State Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) saw Kelly’s comments as illustrating his “disconnect” from the atmosphere surrounding these events, while city councilwoman Melissa-Mark Viverito (D-Manhattan) thought Kelly’s comments were “really irresponsible and quite inflammatory.”
Leaders seem to be divided between focusing on stop-and-frisk practices that have yielded highly prejudiced results against minorities (87% of those stopped and frisked in 2011 were black or Latino, and 90% of those stopped were released without being charged or ticketed).