Ex-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly Warns NYC’s Future Is ‘Very Bleak’ and Big Apple Could Be Heading Back to High Crime Levels of the 70s and 80s
Frances Mulraney et al., Daily Mail, July 8, 2020
Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly warned that the future for New York City is ‘very bleak’ as he slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio for cuts to the police department and hit out at bail reform.
Kelly, 78, predicted that crime in the city could increase to levels not seen since the 1970s and 80s, claiming ominously that ‘we’re going to go back in that direction’.
He also warned that the spiking crime and impact of the coronavirus could drive businesses and people from the city, voicing skepticism about whether New York will ever return to the place it was pre-pandemic.
The former commissioner, who served in the 90s under Mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg, was speaking to Fox News Tuesday after a violent weekend in the Big Apple.
At least 41 people were injured and nine killed following a troubling spike of shootings across the holiday weekend. A spokesperson for the NYPD said the majority of the incidents occurred within a 15-hour time period.
Among those injured were two NYPD officers in the Bronx late Saturday after a bullet was fired through the windshield of their marked SUV.
Shootings in New York City have doubled every week for the last three weeks.
Last week, the city has experienced a 142 percent surge in shootings compared to the same time period last year.
The shocking wave of violence came as the city was still reeling from anti-police brutality protests and weeks of lockdown brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, leading Kelly to voice ‘serious concerns’ as to how the Big Apple will recover.
‘New York was the safest big city in America for several decades, a lot of hard work done by a lot of people,’ Kelly told Sean Hannity on Tuesday before hitting out at Mayor de Blasio and claiming his actions were at the root of the surge in crime.
‘I lay the problems of New York City solely at the feet of [Mayor] Bill de Blasio,’ he fumed.
‘He has eviscerated the police department. One of the most important, significant things [de Blasio] did was to eliminate the anti-crime units throughout the city — they are the real crime fighters.
‘[They were] the ones who have been able to address the violent crime for several decades in New York City. That unit is gone,’ Kelly continued.
‘The police are demoralized, retirements are at record levels, and the future is quite frankly very bleak in New York, certainly for the next 18 months under this administration.’
Kelly added that he had been in the city during the 1970s and 80s and that there are ‘a lot of indicators that we’re going to go back in that direction’.
‘The future is not good,’ he said.
The former NYPD commissioner also took a hit at New York bail reform law introduced this year.
The reform sought to reduce the number of people who were in jail awaiting their trial by abolishing bail for many misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes.
Some critics of bail reform believe it leads to more crime. In January 2020, the NYPD released figures showing a spike in crime and pointed the finger at the new, looser bail rules.
NYC public defenders have argued that it is due to a decrease in the number of criminal cases city prosecutors are pursuing.
‘That bail reform act could be changed very easily just by giving judges the discretion to keep people in custody who are a danger to society,’ Kelly claimed.
‘Virtually every state in the United States has that privilege except for New York and the New York State Legislature will not do it.’
He added that the continued spike in violent crime will lead to ‘serious questions about whether businesses will remain or if businesses will return to New York’.
Kelly has placed the blame for the recent chaos in NYC on de Blasio after the mayor’s decision to slash $1 billion from the NYPD budget last week.
He called the hefty budget cuts a ‘direct signal of surrender’.
It was NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea who previously disbanded an anti-crime plainclothes unit that had focused on stopping people and searching for guns, as referenced by Kelly.
As violence spiked over the holiday weekend, President Donald also criticized de Blasio, in addition to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, warning them that he’s ‘ready’ to intervene if necessary.
‘Shootings up significantly in NYC where people are demanding that [Gov. Andrew Cuomo] and [Mayor Bill de Blasio] act now,’ Trump continued. ‘Federal Government ready, willing and able to help, if asked.’
Trump also referenced the rise in violent gun crime in Chicago, which appeared to experience the worst of the violence this weekend as 77 people were injured in shootings and 14 were killed, including two children.
The Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, tweeted out against de Blasio Sunday, writing: ‘Criminals with guns fear no consequences,’ adding that the mayor owes his ‘constituents an explanation’.
Hours earlier, two NYPD officers were injured in the Bronx late Saturday after a bullet was fired through the windshield of their marked SUV.
The officers had pulled up to a barricade outside Mott Haven’s 40th Precinct just before midnight on July 4 when the shot was fired.
Chilling surveillance footage shows two pedestrians crossing the street in front of the idling SUV just moments before the bullet is seen piercing the windshield, sending a puff of debris shooting up from the vehicle’s hood.
The round passed between the two officers, who were sat in the front seats, and embedded into a divider between the back seats, authorities said.
One officer was cut in the face from shattered glass while the other suffered ringing ears. Both were treated for their injuries at local hospitals.
It remains unclear whether the vehicle was intentionally targeted or the bullet was a stray round. No arrests were immediately announced.
There were harsh words to be had among members of the NYPD for District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who failed to turn up at any of the city’s shooting scenes Sunday.
‘Manhattan DA Cy Vance where are you? No show at any shooting scene!!! Our community is being attacked, there have been 24 people shot in the city in the past 24 hours….Where Are You!!!” the official account of NYPD Patrol Borough Manhattan South tweeted Sunday evening.
Patrol Borough Manhattan North’s commanding officer, Assistant Chief Kathleen O’Reilly added: ‘Complete No Show in Manhattan North!! Shame!!’
In the first shooting of the night, young father Jose Cepeda was shot in the chest shortly after midnight on Sunday in East New York, Brooklyn, New York Daily News reported.
The 20-year-old reportedly had a ‘disagreement’ with a friend outside of his home on Atkins Avenue before shots rang out.
Cepeda taken to Brookdale University Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
In Harlem Sunday, a 23-year-old was fatally shot on West 116th St. near Morningside Park around 2:40am.
Police were made aware of the shooting after the victim checked himself into a hospital and died minutes later.
A 19-year-old man was fatally shot in the chest and a 27-year-old left injured after being struck by a bullet to his left shoulder at 4:20am, following a dispute on East 39th St. in Flatbush.
While the teen was pronounced dead at King’s County Hospital, the older victim was said be in a stable condition.
A 22-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were later shot a short distance away on nearby Euclid Ave earlier the same evening.
The man was shot in the chest and the woman was wounded in the right leg around 2:30. Both victims were taken to Brookdale University Hospital and were expected to survive, police said.
In another chaotic scene, six people were wounded during a shootout that erupted at a party in Harlem, on 131 Street and Lenox Avenue.
All six of the victims were taken to hospital. One of the victims, a 26-year-old male was said to be in a critical condition and likely to die.
A triple shooting also reportedly took place at 306 East 171 Street in the Bronx just before 8:30pm on Sunday.
Two victims of the victims are ‘likely to die’, law enforcement sources said. The nature of their injuries or the circumstances leading up to the shooting remain unclear.
A 15-year-old boy was also shot in the chest on Madison Avenue, in East Harlem, and was rushed to Mount Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital in a stable condition.
Meanwhile, one of the children killed in Chicago was identified by her family as seven-year-old Natalie Wallace.
The girl was playing outside her grandmother’s house in the city’s Austin neighborhood during a Fourth of July party when a vehicle pulled up and three men emerged and began shooting indiscriminately at about 7pm.
Natalie was shot in the head and rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to the Chicago Tribune.
‘Chicago’s heart is broke,’ Chicago police Chief Fred Waller said. ‘A 7-year-old girl was taken from us. She was here visiting family. Now she’s gone.’
Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted: ‘Tonight, a 7-year-old girl in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun.
‘We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.’
Seven other people were wounded in the same Austin attack, including a 32-year-old man who is now in fair condition.
Waller said police are reviewing video of the incident and no arrests have been made.
Another shooting in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood left four people dead, including a 14-year-old boy who has not yet been identified.
Four others were wounded in that shooting, including boys ages 11 and 15.
The Tribune reported that four men stormed a holiday gathering and opened fire before fleeing the scene. They have yet to be arrested.
Three other shootings in Chicago on Saturday killed a 34-year-old woman, a 31-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, per ABC7.
A total of 63 people were injured and 17 killed in the Windy City from Thursday afternoon to Sunday 6am.
In a shooting in Lawndale, on the city’s West Side, six people were shot at about 1.15am after someone in a vehicle fired into a group shooting off fireworks.
A 20-year-old woman was killed and three men were left in critical condition. Two other men are in good condition following the shooting.
Last year in Chicago over Fourth of July weekend six people were killed and 63 were wounded by gun violence.
Saturday marked the city’s third consecutive weekend where a child under 10 has been fatally shot.
The Chicago Police Department deployed 1,200 additional officers over the weekend with a goal of reducing violence that accompanies the holiday each year.
‘It’s not just on the police department. Not just on the fire department. Not just on elected officials,’ Mayor Lightfoot said in announcing the increased police presence.
‘All of us have to embrace our notion of community and think about what we can do, each of us in our own way, to make our communities safe and healthy and vibrant.’
Many other cities reported an alarming increase in gunfire mixed in with the celebratory fireworks on Saturday.
In Detroit two people were killed and five were injured in gun violence over the holiday weekend.
A family of five people was driving home from a cook out when they were shot around 1am on Saturday in the 8300 block of Homer Street when someone pulled up beside them and started shooting.
A 39-year-old woman died in the shooting. A 40-year-old man is in critical condition and the three other male victims – aged nine, 12, and 15 – are expected to survive, according to ClickOnDetroit.
Also in Detroit a 15-year-old boy was shot early Saturday around 12.10am when a vehicle pulled up and a passenger asked the victim a question then shot the teen, according to Fox2. He is in stable condition but that shooter has not been caught.
On Friday around 7.30pm a 19-year-old woman was shot and killed on the city’s west side after someone fired shots into the car she was a passenger in.
Gun violence also rocked Baltimore, leaving one person dead and eight injured.
Baltimore Police said a woman was killed and a man were wounded in a double shooting on Saturday morning.
Hours earlier on Friday night four women were shot in a quadruple shooting in southwest Baltimore.
On Saturday evening a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old man were injured in a shooting around 7.30pm.
A 28-year-old man was found in the southeast side of the city early Sunday suffering gunshot wounds.
In St. Louis, three people were killed and 11 injured across a 15 hour period. Four of the injured victims were children.
In one of those shootings, a four-year-old has been left in critical condition after being shot in the head by a stray bulletin the Vandeventer neighborhood around 10.45pm Saturday.
Thirty minutes later, a seven-year-old girl, a 45-year-old woman and a 25-year-old were shot on the 1100 block of East Gano.
They had been standing outside when two suspects fired shots at them from an alley, police said. Their conditions weren’t given, but police said their vitals were stable.
At least seven shootings were reported in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, leaving four people wounded and one dead, according to WREG.
A woman was fatally shot while watching fireworks on Saturday night.
A teenager in the Whitehaven neighborhood was rushed to the hospital in critical condition after neighbors reported hearing an argument at a home before gunfire broke out.
‘We were over here,’ a witness to that shooting said. ‘We were just fixing up our tables, and next thing we know, we see the ambulances come all around, and then the police came. I said: “What’s done happened here?”‘
‘I could just imagine what the other people’s family is doing, what they’re going through,’ the witness added.
About 30 minutes later, a woman was driving on Interstate 240 when a man driving a gold Pontiac began shooting at her vehicle.
Police said that woman is okay but the suspect has not been captured.
Another shooting in South Memphis on Saturday night left two men injured.
One of the men told WREG he was backing out of his driveway on Alcy Road when he was shot at by three men driving by in a Saturn Vue.
‘When I backed into the middle of the street, I kind of paused for a little bit because I heard a lot of fireworks, what I thought were fireworks, but they were gunshots,’ the man said.
The first victim said the attack appeared to be random.
‘They’re just shooting,’ he said. ‘The car was in front of them, and they’re just shooting. They don’t know those people. They’re just shooting at those folks because they were in front of them.’
No arrests have been made in any of the Memphis shootings, police said.
At least five shootings were reported in Cleveland in the first five hours of July Fourth, leaving four people wounded.
And in Omaha, Nebraska, police have asked the public for information on six separate shootings reported between Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Eight people were injured in those shootings and all are expected to recover.
In Philadelphia, five people, including a six-year-old boy, were killed and 14 were hurt in 12 separate shootings across the weekend.
The first shooting was reported around 10.30pm on Saturday where a 37-year-old woman was shot twice in her legs and a 21-year-old male was grazed by a bullet in the head. Both are in stable condition.
A second shooting left two men, 26 and 22, suffering gunshot wounds to the leg. Both are in stable condition.
Then on Sunday, around 1pm, a six-year-old boy was shot in the chest at a home on the 4600 block of Kendrick Street, in the city’s Upper Holmesburg neighborhood.
The boy died hours later from his injuries after being rushed to a hospital by a family member.
It was not immediately clear what led to the shooting or if police had identified any suspects.
Just over an hour later, a 37-year-old woman was on the 1900 block of Clarence Street when a gunman opened fire at 2:13pm.
The woman was shot 12 times in the torso. She was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital at 2:38pm.
A weapon was recovered and a person was arrested in connection to the shooting. Police have not yet revealed the suspect’s identity or revealed any details in the circumstances that led to the shooting.
Authorities in Greenville County, South Carolina, are currently investigating a shooting at a nightclub that left two people dead and eight wounded.
Video footage posted to social media showed people at what appeared to be a rap concert inside the club. The clip shows people inside the club hurrying toward the exit before the screen goes blank and gunshots are heard in the background.
Two Greenville County sheriff’s deputies noticed a disturbance at Lavish Lounge just before 2am, and saw a large crowd running out of the building, Sheriff Hobart Lewis said at a press conference.
Lewis told Greenville News the incident was ‘probably gang related’. He said authorities are searching for two suspects, though no physical description of the gunmen has been released as of Sunday morning.
An investigation is also underway in North Carolina after a 74-year-old woman was killed by what police described as reckless ‘celebratory gunfire’.
Durham police were called at 11pm Saturday to a report of a gunshot wound along the 500 block of Burlington Avenue. The victim, Paulette Thorpe, was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
Last night as people throughout Durham peacefully celebrated the July Fourth holiday with their friends and family, a small few chose to put our community at risk by carelessly firing guns into the air,’ Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said
‘This reckless behavior led to the tragic death of Ms. Paulette Thorpe,’ she said. ‘Ms. Thorpe’s death reminds us that we as a community must work together to prevent these senseless acts, so that no family suffers such a tragedy ever again.’