NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the wake of the Jersey City shootings, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decried anti-Semitism, established a new police unit to eradicate hate groups, and in the face of rising hate crimes, puts the NYPD on high alert to protect Jewish communities.
The press conference began with a moment of silence.
“I want to start by honoring the victims of yesterday’s horrific attack in Jersey City,” the mayor told reporters, including CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
Because for de Blasio the horrific attack across the river was personal. Two of the people gunned down live in Brooklyn, members of the Satmar Hasidic community. Rabbi David Niederman spoke about what happened to one of the victims, Moshe Deutsch, the son of a close friend.
“A few hundred bullets went into a body of a … 24-year-old child. How can we as a community, as people, bear that?” Niederman said.
The mayor reacted forcefully and quickly, ordering the NYPD to go on high alert and send counter terrorism teams to protect Jewish communities for the foreseeable future. He also denounced the rise of anti-Semitic attacks and vowed to do everything in his power to stop them.
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“Anyone who tells you that Jews are different than you is sowing the seeds of hate and destruction for all of us,” de Blasio said. “Don’t treat the holocaust like something that could never happen again. Don’t treat any horrible acts of hate against any community as if they couldn’t happen here.”
The mayor disclosed that with hate crimes soaring he and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea have decided to establish a new unit within the NYPD to investigate racially and ethnically motivated extremism. It will go by the acronym REME.
“There’s a common theme here. It’s ignorance and it’s hate and it has got to be denounced by everyone,” Shea said.
Chief of Counter Terrorism John Miller said the new unit will include representatives of the state police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Kramer asked Miller, “to give some idea of how this unit will try to prevent crime from happening?”
“Many of these groups have literally taken a page out of the ISIS handbook in terms of propaganda and encouraging acts,” Miller said. “The idea is to have the intelligence, use the analysis, and then execute the prevention, which is the key.”
The mayor, who has often called for reducing jail time for people, on Wednesday demanded that prosecutors adopt what he called a “culture of consequence” for hate crimes, namely stiff penalties and jail time.