Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and several fellow progressives vehemently opposed an MTA plan to hire 500 new cops to patrol the subways.
The 2019 letter from the lefty group has come under new scrutiny after a shooting rampage in a Brooklyn subway left at least 30 injured and caused mass panic.
“In our view desperately needed resources would be better invested in subway, bus, maintenance and service improvements,” the letter read. “We are urging the MTA to divest from this current model of criminalization.”
The letter warned of the “historic racial disparities in enforcement” and claimed that “communities of color” would be unfairly targeted by the new officers.
In addition to AOC, the missive was signed by many of the city’s anti-cop, Squad-adjacent progressives, including Upper West Side Rep. Jerry Nadler, former Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano, State Sens. Michael Gianaris, Luis Sepulveda, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Alessandra Biaggi.
Both Ocasio-Cortez and Nadler have previously called for defunding the police, as have Sens. Biaggi, Ramos and Salazar.
“Punishing the poor does not create a safer environment. Instead it threatens the very foundation of our community. That is why my New York colleagues and I wrote a letter to
@NYGovCuomo asking him to help put an end to MTA’s dangerous policing policy,” AOC said in a tweet along with the letter in December 2019.
Former Gov. Cuomo announced the plan for new officers at a press conference in June 2019 and said the new officers would be there to crack down on fare evasion and general violence in the system.
“We’ve had 2,300 harassment incidents of MTA employees [in 2018],” Cuomo said. “One hundred assaults, stabbings, punchings, violence against MTA employees. These are public servants. There are people who are doing a very difficult job. You think it’s easy?” he said at the time.
The plan was ultimately put on hold when the pandemic hit. Subway crime is surging, according to the most recent NYPD stats.
“Police budgets have never been higher, and Mayor Adams increased numbers of police in the weeks before the shooting,” said Ramos. “If we’re going to look back years into the past, let’s look at the austerity that allowed so many people to fall through the cracks.”
Sen. Biaggi also defended the letter. “I stand with MTA workers and want to focus police on violent crime against workers and riders, rather than on petty crime. That was the goal of the letter and I stand by it,” she said.
This is an excerpt from New York Post.
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