New York, NY – The newly-installed New York City mayor insisted the city’s subway system was safe after a homeless man pushed 40-year-old female Deloitte Consulting executive to her death in front of a moving train on Saturday.
“New Yorkers are safe on the subway system,” NYC Mayor Eric Adams told reporters during a press conference on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
“I think it’s about 1.7 percent of the crimes in New York City that occur on the subway system,” Adams said. “Think about that for a moment. What we must do is remove the perception of fear.”
“Cases like this aggravate the perception of fear,” he added.
But critics pointed out that 40-year-old Michelle Alyssa Go, who was Asian American, was just standing on the 42nd Street and Broadway – Times Square subway station’s platform waiting for a train when she was shoved from behind onto the tracks in front of a train, WNYW reported.
The incident occurred at about 9:40 a.m. on Jan. 15 as the southbound R train was pulling through the station.
Go died and police arrested 61-year-old Simon Martial in connection with her murder, WNYW reported.
Martial, who has an extensive criminal history that included serving time in prison, was wanted on an outstanding warrant when he killed Go.
But New York Police Department (NYPD) Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Go was not the first woman Martial attempted to push onto the tracks on Saturday morning, WNYW reported.
“This incident was unprovoked, and the victim does not appear to have had any interaction with the subject,” Commissioner Sewell told reporters.
Police said that Martial first approached another woman and got in her space, making her “very, very alarmed,” WNYW reported.
The woman told officers that she tried to move away from him and that he got so close to her she thought he was about to push her in front of a train.
Then a moment later, the woman was walking away when she saw Martial push Go in front of the train, WNYW reported.
Martial screamed “I am God” as police walked him to the police car in handcuffs after he was arrested, WNYW reported.
The incident was one of many violent attacks that have recently occurred on the NYC subway system, but the mayor continued to insist the transit system was safe for commuters.
“This is a safe system because of the job of the transit officers have carried out,” Adams said. “We’re going to continue to enhance, to deal with the mental health crisis that we have in our system.”
But NYPD sources told The Police Tribune that crime in the city’s subway system was probably worse than statistics showed.
“I can’t believe it’s that little,” the veteran officer said. “They’re out of their minds. I won’t take the subway. It’s not worth it.”
“I supposed 1.7 percent sounds good if you want to go by statistics,” the officer said. “But in reality, if you have to wonder if some nutcase is going to push you onto the tracks every time you take the train – and it’s not just a ‘what if’ scenario because it happens on a regular basis – then no, it’s not safe. I tell people not to take the subway on a regular basis.”
The officer said that as a former transit captain for NYPD, Adams knows the reality of what’s going on in transit and he’s disappointed in the way he sugarcoated the safety issue.
That said, he told The Police Tribune that he hasn’t given up hope that Adams will bring the right kind of leadership to the city.
“It’s too soon to judge and there’s been so many hiccups,” the officer said.
The early weeks of Adams’ mayoral administration have been plagued by accusations of nepotism after he appointed his younger brother and a close friend who is a disgraced former NYPD official to key public safety positions in the city.
On Jan. 7, Adams appointed retired New York Police Department (NYPD) Sergeant Bernard Adams to NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Government Affairs, a job that comes with a $242,000 salary.
Adams brushed off allegations of nepotism but less than a week later, he demoted his brother to head of mayoral security, a gig that only pays $210,000 per year.
That appointment must still be approved by the city’s Conflict of Interest Board (COIB).
Adams also continued to defend his selection of a long-time friend, former NYPD Chief Philip Banks for deputy mayor of public safety.
Banks resigned from NYPD in 2014 after he was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in a federal corruption probe, CNN reported.
He denied accusations that he had taken bribes in exchange for favors as a police chief.
Adams told CNN “there were some real mistakes and errors” made by Banks but said his new deputy mayor of public safety hadn’t actually been “accused of a crime.”
Then he said Banks was the best person to tackle the city’s skyrocketing violent crime.
But an NYPD source told The Police Tribune that Banks’ appointment was more concerning to him than almost anything else the new mayor has done so far.
“I have more concerns about him bringing Banks on board,” the veteran police official said. “What kind of favors does he owe that guy? There’s no reason to bring an unindicted co-conspirator in a bribery scandal on board in a new administration.”
“Banks was also instrumental in Eric Garner’s death because he was the NYPD official pushing enforcement of quality-of-life crimes. But when Garner died, he took a step back and didn’t support the officers who were doing what he told them to do,” he said.