NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents in one Brooklyn community are saying enough is enough when it comes to the troubling increase in shootings.
Dozens marched in Crown Heights on Tuesday, hoping to send a clear message, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
The group lit a candle to mark a spot where a 21-year-old was murdered at the end of June. Members said it has been one apocalypse after another, from COVID-19 to the increase in shootings that have plagued this community.
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Outraged residents marched to end the alarming spike in gun violence. Sunday’s killing of 1-year-old Davell Gardner Jr. in Bedford-Suyvesant heightened the sense of urgency.
“I’m a grandmother. How can somebody just draw a gun and shoot in a crowded community knowing that children are out there?” one Crown Heights resident said.
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Save Our Streets organized the march. Faith Cofield is one of its violence interrupters.
“I was once them. I was the problem. I just let them know there is more things to life than just fighting and picking up guns,” Cofield said.
Cofield is effective because of her credibility on the streets, but residents say years of mistreatment by police have fractured necessary relationships.
“We’re dealing at this time with a police department who has said because we can no longer choke you to death, we cannot do our jobs,” majority leader Laurie Cumco said.
There has been plenty of finger pointing to explain the surge in violence.
“They’re listening to the people on the picket line, at the protest, and are passing laws that make it impossible for police officers to do their job,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.
But those who protested George Floyd‘s death were at the march Tuesday.
“There’s an opportunity for people inside a community who are hurting to call for change, to call for reform, but also to have it where the people are protected,” said Rahson Johnson, the program manager for SOS Crown Heights.
Watch Ali Bauman’s report —
There was another rally Tuesday outside the Bedford-Stuyvesant park where Davell Gardner Jr. was shot. The baby’s parents clutched his framed photos.
“He was just learning how to talk and some cowards took his life,” Davell’s grandmother said. “When is it gonna stop? How many more lives have to be lost? How many mothers have to keep burying their kids?”
State Attorney General Letitia James, who has been investigating NYPD misconduct, applauded police for their response.
“We may have our differences, but you better understand they investigated this case, and I’m confident there will be an arrest,” she said.
Communities don’t want to choose between safety and respect.
“These communities, again, they have a right to live in a place where they’re not getting shot and have a right to do that with accountable and transparent policing,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said. “These communities have a right to demand better policing and safer streets at the exact same time.”
The marchers want to be a part of a solution and hope local leaders will follow suit.