NEW YORK - The NYPD's top cop is pointing the finger directly at people who called for defunding and abolishing the police last year for the current state of gun violence in New York City.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea was asked during FOX 5 NY morning program, ‘Good Day New York,’ about the shooting of a tourist in broad daylight Thursday, the latest in a string of gun crimes in the city.
"A 71-year-old man from Florida who comes to New York City, crossing the street, shot," said Shea. "We've had this conversation before. To everyone that was defunding, that was abolishing last year, the silence right now is deafening."
The rallying cry was about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. Protesters said it was time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America.
In response, cities including New York, enacted policies to move funding from police departments. Since then, New York City has seen crime, particularly gun violence, skyrocket.
"Whether it is a legislator that refuses to fix broken laws or those that were tweeting abolish the police, you own this. They need to step up and make the fixes that New Yorkers deserve," said Shea.
Earlier this year, City Hall announced extensive reforms to the department that included identifying at-risk officers and applying early intervention strategies. The officers could undergo retraining or be reassigned.
Gun violence remains a serious problem across the city that requires more policing, not less. Some efforts have been made to address the current state of crime.
"I think we've seen small progress. You saw members of the city council sign a letter and send it to Albany," said Shea.
But contrary to last year's anti-police rhetoric, Shea said most everyday New Yorkers he encounters want more police on the streets.
"Literally, every night I'm hearing from New Yorkers across the city saying the same thing: we need more police."