Subway stampede, flamethrower, NYC shootings blamed on ‘perfect storm’ of police reform



From subway attacks to shootings, violent crime is on the rise in New York City – a surprising reversal after years of record declines.

On Thursday, a 40-year-old woman was pushed onto the subway tracks at Manhattan’s Union Square Station just before a train arrived. She fell between the rails and a row bed, police said, escaping with minor injuries. A suspect was immediately arrested.

Hours earlier Wednesday night, a man was pushed onto the rails at 42nd Street-Bryant Park station by a beggar after refusing to give him money, authorities said. The victim was able to climb back onto the platform and was not seriously injured. A suspect has been arrested.

Alex Weisman, a member of the original cast of Broadway’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, was attacked at an Upper West Side station on Tuesday afternoon. He suffered fractures around his eye which required surgery.

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“It’s not fair to the people who use this system,” Sarah Feinberg, interim president of NYC Transit, said of the attacks at a press conference Thursday. “It’s not fair to the woman who went through this today. We have a crisis in this city, and it absolutely must be addressed. “

Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the latest wave of crime in part on the closures of businesses and schools linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of the things that we depend on to keep people safe and stable were not there,” he said Tuesday.

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The increase in violence has raised fears that the city will return to a darker time decades ago when residents feared for their safety amid a crack epidemic. The new wave of crime comes as the city also grapples with a faltering economy and pressures to enact police reforms championed by racial justice advocates.

“It’s almost like a perfect storm,” Alfred Titus Jr., an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former NYPD homicide detective, told Fox News. “We had bail reform and then the police funding cut, which reduced the number of officers on the streets and the overtime that could be worked, and now we have COVID- 19.

Across the city, shootings have nearly doubled – from 698 last year to 1,359 this year as of Nov. 15, according to NYPD figures.

Deaths from the gunfire more than doubled, from 828 in 2019 to 1,667 this year as of November 15. There have been 405 homicide victims so far this year, up from 295 last year.

The NYPD declined to answer questions emailed by Fox News or provide a representative for an interview.

To help tackle gun violence, the NYPD eliminated its Homeless Outreach and Shelter Safety Unit – the team dedicated to helping homeless New Yorkers – over the summer and reassigned the agents.

Union police officials blame elected officials. The Police Charity Association, which represents grassroots officers, and the Association of Charity Sergeants have chastised local leaders and their progressive policies aimed at crippling officers on the streets and emboldening criminals.

Union leaders cite reduced police budgets, bail reform laws that sometimes require judges to release suspected criminals onto the streets, and more recently a program that forces social workers and paramedics to respond to calls. 911 calls for mental health instead of the cops.

“City council has virtually blocked the NYPD from making arrests,” SBA President Ed Mullins told Fox News. “We have cops out there right now who are reluctant to catch anyone just lest if it goes wrong we might get arrested.”

In this photo provided by the New York Police Department, a gun lies on the sidewalk that police say was used in the attempted hijacking of an off-duty NYPD officer in early November 11 in Brooklyn .  The city is grappling with an upsurge in violent crime and a growing number of brazen criminals following two people pushing down subway tracks in separate incidents that happened hours apart this week.  (NYPD via AP)

In this photo provided by the New York Police Department, a gun lies on the sidewalk that police say was used in the attempted hijacking of an off-duty NYPD officer in early November 11 in Brooklyn . The city is grappling with an upsurge in violent crime and a growing number of brazen criminals following two people pushing down subway tracks in separate incidents that happened hours apart this week. (NYPD via AP)

Mullins cited the “diaphragm law,” an anti-strangulation measure that prohibits officers from sitting or kneeling on a suspect’s back in a way that could constrict the diaphragm. The measure was enacted following the death of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Some of the recent crimes that have made headlines seem more brazen and bizarre.

A Brooklyn rapper turned himself into police on Wednesday after video of him detonating a flamethrower in the night sky while on top of a city bus went viral. The incident happened on November 8 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

No one was injured, but 25 passengers on board were transferred to another bus.

In another incident, a 70-year-old woman was struck in the face by a stray bullet Tuesday afternoon while driving a bus in Brooklyn. Two suspects are wanted.

A pair of parolees with multiple arrests reportedly broke into a house in Queens on Tuesday and held a family hostage during an hours-long standoff with police.

Earlier this month, a 64-year-old woman was robbed at the point of a knife in Queens. The suspect grabbed her violently as she walked and put a knife to her throat. He appeared to run away empty-handed, according to the New York Post.

Actor Rick Moranis was hit by a homeless man last month while walking near Central Park, police said. The man accused in the attack is suspected in several more in recent months.

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Some residents are fed up with crime and the coronavirus and have left the Big Apple.

More than 300,000 New Yorkers have left the city in the past eight months, the Post reported, citing data from the US Postal Service.

In a video released this week announcing his run for mayor, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former senator and NYPD officer, said the city was “in a dark place right now.”

“Whether it’s the pandemic or the violence on our streets, we don’t feel safe,” he said.

Over the summer, as nationwide protests raged over Floyd’s death and a spate of police shootings, the NYPD disbanded its anti-crime units – teams of plainclothes officers who targeted the violent crimes in some of the deadliest neighborhoods.

Crime quickly exploded and shootings increased.

In a tweet thanking a man for stopping an attempted kidnapping of a baby, City Councilor Robert Holden also spoke out against the city’s “diaphragm” ban.

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The Good Samaritan, Brian Kemsley, 33, restrained the man with a strangulation.

“Many thanks to Mr Kemsley for stepping up and stopping an alleged kidnapping,” Holden tweeted Wednesday. “Note that if Mr Kemsley were a cop he would face criminal charges due to our town’s reckless ‘no-diaphragm’ law, instead of being rightfully praised as a hero.”


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