NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is calling on community leaders who protest “stop-and-frisk” policies to speak out against gun violence instead.
Kelly said community leaders and activists are quick to rail against stop and frisk, but remain silent when it comes to putting an end to the violence.
Shootings are up 12 percent over this time last year. There were 77 during last week’s heat wave, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
Kelly said Tuesday he is stunned by the silence of some he said should be leading anti-violence efforts.
“The fact of the matter is that 96 percent of shooting victims are people of color, yet the community leaders are not speaking out about this. We’d like to hear from them,” Kelly said Tuesday.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg has reaction with community activists
Some leaders are accusing Kelly of trying to distract the public from a rise in violence across the city and the Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams disputed Kelly, calling his comments “obscene” and “out of touch,” 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported. Williams said he and others do speak out against gun violence, but it falls on deaf ears, WCBS 880 reported.
“We haven’t been silent. The mayor and the commissioner have been shockingly deaf,” Williams said.
As head of “Man Up,” Andre T. Mitchell has been working for years trying to stop the violence in Brooklyn and called Kelly’s comments an insult to everything he’s worked so hard to do.
“You have caused a serious divide. How dare you assume and take a position, that we, those of us who fight on behalf of the voiceless, day in and day out, are not doing our job,” Mitchell said.
State Sen. Eric Adams accused Kelly of “attempting to divide the city on racial lines, on passion of dealing with violence,” he told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
“Police Commissioner Kelly’s comments were disgusting,” Adams told CBS 2’s Kramer. “His comment that we are not doing enough was a hidden message that blacks are not doing enough, that blacks don’t care about violence and Hispanics don’t care about violence, when we do.”
Adams invited Kelly to tour high-crime areas Wednesday to get a first-hand look at grassroots efforts to stop the violence.
“If he believes we’re not doing a good enough job, come out and join me commissioner and see what these people are doing every day,” Adams challenged.
The police commissioner flatly turned down the invitation, saying he’s been doing it for 40 years and didn’t need to do it again with Sen. Adams, CBS 2’s Kramer reported.
On Wednesday, Kelly said he wouldn’t change anything about what he said.
“I’m not going to address any issues like that. My statement was something that I’ve been saying for quite a while,” Kelly told CBS 2’s Kramer.
Community activist Tony Herbert told 1010 WINS that he supported Kelly’s remarks.
“The commissioner is right, there are a lot of elected officials who are not doing anything,” Herbert said. “If they can march in Harlem, and have thousands of people, then they should be marching on these drug dealers and these gangbangers and say ‘We’re not going to have this.'”
On the streets, there were some who agreed with Kelly that politicians have not done enough. Mike Tucker said he lost his son to gun violence.
“Where are they? They wait until something happens, then speaks out about it. It’s too late then. Be out here before, prevent,” Tucker told CBS 2’s Kramer.
But there also were others who said Kelly’s comments came a little late.
“There is outrage over the violence. I know most people in this neighborhood. They really dislike the amount of shootouts that happen,” said Glasson Williams of Bushwick, Brooklyn.
What do you make of Kelly’s remarks? Sound off in our comments section below.