New York City is, like many of the cities in our nation, is seeing a massive surge in violence. While many argue gun laws–or the lack of them–is the reason for that kind of thing, but the truth is that violence is more complicated than that.
The people who have violence more in their face than anyone, though, are the police. They tend to know a bit more about it than most.
For one ex-NYPD detective, the blame lands squarely on politicians.
The rise in gun violence in New York City this summer is a result of “deadly sins” committed by Democratic politicians, retired New York Police Department (NYPD) Detective Pat Brosnan told “America’s Newsroom” on Monday.
Brosnan was responding to calls by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres for an investigation into whether an unannounced NYPD work slowdown accounts for the rise in crime. Torres and Adams suggested to WABC-TV that some officers may be protesting city and state reforms in the wake of George Floyd‘s death in Minneapolis police custody.
“Both politicians, the councilman and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams are 1,000% wrong,” said Brosnan, who added that “the 100% uptick in gun violence, meaning twice as many New Yorkers will be shot versus this time last year,” is a result of what he refers to as the “deadly sins.”
“It started with defunding the police, it moved into disbanding [the] city wide anti-crime [unit], they’re the folks, by the way, who take the guns off the street,” Brosnan explained. “It moved on to disinterested prosecutors, [who say], ‘We’re not going the prosecute those crimes. Not important, instead let’s empty the jails’ [and are] discharging prisoners.”
Brosnan said all of those actions “desecrated the NYPD” before adding that “just when it couldn’t get worse, they dropped … the diaphragm law on us in mid-August like a hand grenade.”
There, Brosnan is referring to a ban on chokeholds.
Now, I’m not sure that Brosnan is right, but I’m even less sure that he’s wrong. When departments are being defunded and task forces created to deal with a specific threat are being disbanded is immediately followed with a surge in violent crime, it’s kind of hard not to see the possibility that the two are related.
I won’t say it’s definitive because I don’t want to fall into a logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, or “after, therefore because of.” I’d want more definitive data.
That said, I can’t rule it out, either, especially since so many other cities are following the same pattern. They’ve reduced funding for their departments and done away with groups meant to combat specific crimes only to see an influx of violent crime. It’s enough to at least suggest Brosnan may have a point.
I’m not ready to claim that’s all there is. Violence, after all, is complicated and there are a lot of ways we can look to reduce violence. However, you don’t cut funding to the police and then just pray these other methods that will take years to produce results suddenly work faster. That’s for damn sure.