You are reading

Queens Legislators Split on Mayor Adams’ Plan to Combat Gun Violence

Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a plan to combat gun violence in the city during a press conference at City Hall Monday (Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office)

Jan. 25, 2022 By Allie Griffin

Queens lawmakers are split on the mayor’s recently released plan to combat gun violence — with some applauding it while others denounce it.

The 15-page plan titled “The Blueprint to End Gun Violence” was unveiled by Mayor Eric Adams Monday following a number of high-profile shootings this month, including the fatal shooting of two young NYPD officers Friday night.

The plan includes both immediate intervention actions to get guns off the street and long-term initiatives to address underlying issues that lead to gun violence.

Many Queens legislators praised the plan for Adams’ support of the city’s community-based violence prevention programs and his pledge to invest in mental health services and youth employment.

At the same time, multiple borough officials criticized his proposal to essentially reinstate the controversial anti-crime unit that was disbanded by the de Blasio administration.

They also took issue with Adams’ desire to revoke some bail reform measures — such as allowing judges to set bail if they deem a defendant to be dangerous — and the proposed utilization of facial recognition technology in investigations.

Another part of the plan that faced pushback was a proposal that would allow prosecutors to charge 16- and 17-year-olds for gun possession in criminal court, rather than in family court. It would make an exception to a 2017 state law that raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18.

Astoria Council Member Tiffany Cabán said the mayor’s plan would move the city backward into a system of punishment and surveillance.

“I strongly oppose reversing common-sense bail reform, removing vital safeguards on the rights of the accused, expanding the use of facial recognition technology, and moving minors accused of gun possession out of family court and into criminal court,” she said in a statement.

Cabán particularly bashed the part of the plan that brings back the NYPD anti-crime unit, made up of plain-clothed officers embedded in specific neighborhoods.

Adams, a former NYPD officer himself, plans to send “neighborhood safety teams” of plain-clothed officers into 30 precincts where 80 percent of the city’s violence occurs in the next three weeks, according to his plan. The teams will specifically focus on recovering illegal guns, but critics say past iterations have only created greater violence.

“Particularly troubling is the Mayor’s proposed revival of the NYPD’s plainclothes unit,” Cabán said. “The fact is, that unit was ineffective at reducing gun violence…”

She argued that the unit actually inflated violence, citing a 2016 NYPD report that found that nearly half of officers involved in “adversarial conflicts” were in the plainclothes unit.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, who represents southeast Queens, said the proposal needs more public input given the history of similar police units.

“Concerns have been raised in communities about the plain clothes unit’s ability to reduce violence, given its past history of initiating undue violence,” Adams said in a statement. “This proposal – along with others to change city and state criminal justice policies – requires further public dialogue and transparency.”

However, the proposal was lauded by some Queens electeds. Council Member James Gennaro, for instance, said he supported the decision to bring back the unit.

‘I applaud @NYCMayor for laying out a comprehensive, common-sense plan to curb gun violence,” Gennaro tweeted. “We need to make public safety our TOP priority! And reinstating the #NYPD’s plainclothes unit will be crucial in making our streets safer.”

Astoria Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, meanwhile, criticized a part of the mayor’s plan that would change how minors are prosecuted for gun possession.

“My constituents did not send me to Albany to put 16 and 17 year olds in prison or to give judges even more discretion to criminalize poverty,” he tweeted.

Mamdani’s colleague, Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas, also rejected the plan. She took issue with Adams’ desire to roll back bail reform measures, stating that it would unfairly target communities of color.

“Everyone wants their community to be safe. But that must include safety from a carceral system that disproportionately harms Black, Brown, and poor New Yorkers,” she tweeted alongside a screengrab of the plan’s bail reform proposal. “I’m a no on this, Mayor.”

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who helped push the bail reform measures through the state legislature in 2019, said revoking the reforms was the wrong decision. He said the city must instead fight the trafficking of guns from other states into New York in order to reduce gun violence.

“We must effectively combat illegal guns coming from other states — not rollback effective reforms to our criminal legal system,” Gianaris wrote on Twitter.

However, Adams’ plan did get the backing of some Queens officials.

Rep. Tom Suozzi, who represents a section of northeast Queens and parts of Long Island, said he supports Adams’ proposed adjustments to the state bail reform law.

“I agree 100 percent with the Mayor,” Suozzi, who is also running for governor, tweeted. “This is exactly what I have been saying since I first laid out my crime plan on January 4th.”

Republican Council Member Joann Ariola, who represents a portion of the Rockaways and southeast Queens, said she’s confident in the plan.

“As a member of the NYCC Public Safety Committee, I believe the measures in @NYCMayor “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” will have both short term and long-term effects on creating a safer NYC for all,” Ariola said on Twitter.

Council Member Robert Holden, a moderate Democrat, also announced his support.

“I support @nycmayor‘s blueprint to end gun violence,” he tweeted. “It’s a comprehensive plan to let cops do their jobs and get guns off the street. It’ll also finally tackle our mental health crisis, encourage judges to use discretion, proactively help people before a crisis arises and more.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

City hosting walking tours at the new Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways on Sunday

This Sunday, May 19, the city is conducting walking tours of the newly opened Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways to showcase the 35-acre beachfront jewel developed on a formerly vacant illegal dumping ground on Beach 44th Street in Edgemere.

The tours, hosted by the Department of City Planning (DCP), NYC Parks, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow participants to explore the preserve’s diverse ecosystem. The large preserve is a component of the upcoming Arverne East housing development, which, when completed, will be one of the most environmentally conscious developments in the United States, achieving net zero and eliminating the need for fossil fuels on-site.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.

Young man chased, punched out and robbed in Cambria Heights by gunman who remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 105th Precinct in Queens Village are looking for a gunman who chased his victim through Cambria Heights before beating and robbing him on the night of Wednesday, May 8.

A 22-year-old man was in front of a business establishment at 229-02 Linden Blvd. when he was approached by a stranger. Sensing danger, he took off running eastbound toward the Cross Island Parkway with his assailant in pursuit.