In the wake of a shooting last weekend in Brownsville that left one person dead and triggered calls for NYPD policy changes, Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel says stronger federal gun laws and more local funding for youth intervention programs are what’s really needed.
The shooting on Saturday night after the conclusion of Brownsville’s annual Old Timers’ Day celebration left 11 people injured and had one police union official blaming NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill’s policies for the bloodshed. “We’re losing control and cops are afraid to do anything,” Sergeants Benevolent Association head Ed Mullins told PIX11. “Cops on the street are walking around with their hands tied.” Mullins argued that cops’ authority had been undermined by the widely circulated videos of people dousing officers with water. O’Neill fired back that the union head was a “keyboard gangster.”
For Ampry-Samuel, who represents Brownsville and was at the event when the shooting occurred, that argument missed the real driver of gun violence in places like her district (which, it’s worth noting, had seen a 16 percent drop in index felony crimes through July 21 over the same period in 2018, including a 40 percent reduction in murders and a 27 percent decline in shooting incidents): the supply of and demand for firearms.
“It’s really looking at it on the federal level: access to guns. We are not manufacturing guns in Brownsville, right? So we have guns that are coming into our communities. And that’s because it’s just an open market. You can purchase guns in other states and be able to get it here,” she said on Wednesday’s Max & Murphy Show on WBAI. “On a local level, we need to be able to provide our young people with an incentive to do the right thing. Instead of picking up a gun and having just negativity in your life, provide that young person with something else. Provide them with access to workforce development opportunities. Provide them with training opportunities.”
Listen to the rest of our conversation below, or hear the full show, which includes an interview with Councilmember Brad Lander about comprehensive planning, desegregation and the mayor’s presidential campaign:
Max & Murphy: Alicka Ampry-Samuel Responds to the Old Timers’ Day Shooting
Max & Murphy: Full Show for Wednesday, July 31, 2019