New York, NY – Nine people died and 41 more were shot during a bloody 4th of July weekend that New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Dermot Shea called “predictable” on Monday morning.
A 17-year-old boy was fatally shot Sunday night on Davidson Avenue, near West 176th Street, in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx, WPIX reported.
Police responded to the scene and found Brandon Hendricks suffering from a gunshot wound to his neck.
Hendricks was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, WPIX reported.
The teenager had graduated from James Monroe High School just two days before he was shot to death.
Police have blamed the surge in violent crime on lawmakers who released inmates from jail due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and new bail reform measures that kicked in at the beginning of the year that did away with cash bail for most offenses, the New York Daily News reported.
Then violent protests and riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd drove a wedge between the police department and many of the communities it serves.
There were 250 shootings in the first 28 days of June this year, as opposed to just 97 in the same timeframe in 2019, the New York Daily News reported.
Murders are up by 23 percent citywide, with 176 homicides as of June 28 as opposed to just 143 by that date in 2019.
“This has been predictable,” Commissioner Shea said during an interview on Monday morning, according to the New York Daily News. “You heard me saying, ‘A storm is coming’ . . . and we’re in the middle of it right now.”
Fifteen people were shot on between Friday and Saturday, and one gunshot victim died.
Someone else was stabbed to death on Friday night, the New York Daily News reported.
Commissioner Shea said that there was plenty of blame to go around for the sudden spike in crime.
He pointed to having reduced the inmate population at Rikers Island by half as a massive part of the problem, the New York Daily News reported.
“Where is the other half right now?” the police commissioner asked. “We’ve transplanted general population to the streets of New York City and it’s extremely frustrating. And don’t think this is happening by happenstance. This is organized. Go onto closerikers.org and read. The roadmap is there.”
He said that NYPD’s precision policing focused on known criminals has also resulted in fewer arrests citywide, the New York Daily News reported.
“But there is a tipping point, and you’re seeing what happens now when you cross that tipping point,” Commissioner Shea said.
The commissioner blamed an “insane” new local law that prohibits officers from exerting any pressure on a suspect’s diaphragm for less pro-active policing in recent weeks, the New York Daily News reported.
“Police officers should not have to worry more about getting arrested than the person with the gun that they’re rolling around on the street with,” he said.
But Commissioner Shea hasn’t given up hope, the New York Daily News reported.
“We can fix this,” he said. “We don’t need a lot of new things. What we need is support — and that’s in short supply. We need tools. We need the laws that make sense. And then we need resources.”
“Those three things and we can turn this around quickly,” the police commissioner added.
But the rank-and-file on the city’s police force was not as optimistic.
NYPD sources told The Police Tribune that the newer, gentler laws about how officers are supposed to take suspects into custody have everyone confused and worried.
“As long as they’re cooperative it’s very easy to arrest people,” a veteran officer said. “It’s the moment they become uncooperative and you have to use more force that you’re going to have more suspects getting injured and more cops getting injured. In reality, the way you’re going to have to throw people to the ground without getting on top of them has far more potential for injury.”
“If you fall on someone by accident while you’re struggling trying to take them into custody, you’re in violation of the law and can be charged,” he explained.
“Everyone is extremely frustrated,” the officer told The Police Tribune. “There’s a big ‘what now’ question because you’re going on generations of training and now suddenly not only is this out of policy, it’s a criminal act. It’s not something you’ll just lose vacation days over or a blot on your permanent record – that now is available to the public, by the way – now you can face criminal charges and crippling financial implications. Which I think is by design.”
“The first indictment for this is around the corner,” he continued. “I think the DA’s are licking their lips to see who will be the first to charge a cop under this new law. It’s demoralizing.”
He said that most NYPD officers are doing the bare minimum to reduce the likelihood of being put in that position, and the results of the stand-down can be seen in the never-ending illegal fireworks and scores of people shot every weekend in the city.
The source told The Police Tribune that officers have begun leaving NYPD as fast as they can.
“The exodus has begun,” he said. “It started as a trickle but now that spigot is broken and people are leaving as fast as they can.”
The veteran cop speculated that the number of retirements is going to overwhelm the city.
He said the NYPD’s academy class of 2000 was huge and that all of those officers are going to be eligible to retire this fall.
“Anybody who isn’t sitting in a cushy indoor day job is going to get out,” the NYPD officer predicted.