NYC First Lady Urges Residents to Intervene in Violent Crimes After Defunding Police
Chirlane McCray calls for interventions as crime soars in New York
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, has called on citizens to “physically intervene” to stop violent crimes, just nine months after “defunding the police” and redirecting money from law enforcement to “youth initiatives and social services.”
Violent crime in New York City doubled in 2020, up 75 percent last month compared to a year ago.
Shootings, burglaries, and violent, unprovoked crimes against Asians have also skyrocketed.
McCray wrote on Twitter March 6:
“As attacks on Asian American communities continue, we’re asking New Yorkers to show up for their neighbors and intervene when witnessing hateful violence or harassment."
As attacks on Asian American communities continue, we’re asking New Yorkers to show up for their neighbors and intervene when witnessing hateful violence or harassment. I know that can be frightening when you aren’t sure what to do or say, but you can learn.— Chirlane McCray (@NYCFirstLady) March 6, 2021
"I know that can be frightening when you aren’t sure what to do or say, but you can learn," McCray added.
“Fear is a normal feeling when stepping into a confrontation, but being prepared can help.”
McCray urged witnesses to step into the middle of a “hate crime or incident” and engage with the victim by asking a question like “What time is it?”
She also advised that witnesses “respond directly to the aggressor or physically intervene only after assessing the situation. Be confident, assertive, calm. This is risky, but sometimes all we can do is speak up.”
They could also “support a person in crisis by recording on your phone” and “check-in with the survivor after the incident. This shows them that they are valued.”
But earlier this month, Yong Zheng was killed in Brooklyn, intervening in the type of situation McCray is talking about.
McCray is no stranger to identity politics and has frequently decried anti-black racism and has a fractured relationship with the city’s police.
De Blasio named his wife as the co-chair of the city’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity in April.
De Blasio put his wife in charge of a “Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation” that will examine whether monuments and buildings honoring founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should be removed or renamed because of their association with slavery.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that this new commission needs to examine,” de Blasio told reporters.
“I think it is the time to evaluate the entire look and feel of this city, and a commission that’s focused on justice and reconciliation can really think about a bigger approach."
Last June, McCray said NYC would become a "utopia" if it abolished its police department, law courts, and prisons.
“That would be like nirvana, a utopia that we are nowhere close to getting to,” McCray declared, referring to the possibility of a police-free metropolis.
But in fact, the opposite has happened.