Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa called Saturday for the return of “old-school ways” of policing — including the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy in order to stop the “open warfare involving teenagers” on Big Apple streets.
Sliwa held up a copy of today’s New York Post with the headline “Too Young to Die” and photos of some of the at least 21 young people killed this year — as he spoke outside the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn where 16-year-old Kyla Sobers was shot in the head Friday by a stray bullet as she hung out with friends after school.
The teen was in surgery Friday night and remained in critical condition Saturday, authorities said.
“This front page says it all,” Sliwa said. “Politicians don’t want to deal with it. Most of the citizens don’t want to deal with it because it’s not their children. These are children of color. Children who predominantly live in the inner city. Children who live in public housing complexes for the most part.”
Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, reiterated his call for the NYPD to “stop, question and frisk” young people.
“You have to be able to take these young individuals, mostly males, and you have to be able to pat them down,” he said. “And you have to be able to pat them down in front of others, to know that they don’t have weapons.”
The policy — which was challenged over its effectiveness and ultimately stopped over racial profiling concerns — was a tool used by the NYPD’s anti-crime unit, a team of some 600 plainclothes cops who took a proactive approach to removing guns from the street. The unit was disbanded in 2020, marking an end to the stop-and-frisk era.
Sliwa said the unit needs to be revived.
“Men and women who are out there who are undercover who know where the guns are, who know where the gangs are,” he said.
Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams has also denounced the city for disbanding the unit and has said he supports stop and frisk when it’s done legally.
“Our guns and gangs crisis is stealing the futures of our young people while it endangers our entire city. We have a moral responsibility to get guns off our streets to protect our children, and we are failing,” Adams said Saturday.
Ed Mullins, the head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said that “political policies are just as much to blame as the people who squeeze the triggers.”
“It’s a combination of a lot of attacks on the criminal justice system,” he said. “There’s bail reform, lack of prosecution by the district attorneys. The law is written for them to prosecute. They prosecute on their own opinions, not on law.”
Tony Karon, 60, a journalist who has lived near the scene of Friday’s shooting for 18 years, said he heard the gunshots and later learned his car was hit.
The two back windows of his Subaru SUV were blown out and the back seat and the floor of the vehicle were covered in shards.
He said he was more concerned about the victim than his car, and called the rise in violence “terrible.”
“I think it’s a sign that the city is not working for the people, somehow,” Karon said. “There is something wrong. This is not like a pathology of one kid here, one kid there. This is like a pattern so something is wrong.”
Additional reporting by Melissa Klein
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