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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Blasts Mayor Adams’ Hardline Approach to Crime

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has slammed Mayor Adams’ tough approach to tackling the city’s crime crisis. (Photos: Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography (L) and (R) Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.)

April 4, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has slammed the mayor’s new policies aimed at tackling the city’s crime crisis.

The Queens-Bronx congresswoman took to Instagram Saturday to pan the hardline measures Mayor Eric Adams has implemented since he took office in January in order to rein in soaring levels of crime.

Ocasio-Cortez gave a thumbs-down emoji when responding to a question during a Q & A session with her followers on the social media platform. A follower had asked the progressive lawmaker for her opinion on the mayor’s policing strategies and his NYPD funding proposals.

The congresswoman ripped into some of the mayor’s crime battling policies which include bringing back plainclothes police teams and removing homeless encampments.

“Cutting virtually every city agency’s budget while raising NYPD’s, bringing back the plainclothes unit notorious for misconduct and responsible for an enormous percent of all NYC police killings, torture in the form of solitary [confinement] at Rikers and destroying homeless people’s sole belongings/shelter in the middle of winter while defunding the very shelter system they’re supposed to turn to?” Ocasio-Cortez posted to her Instagram story.

“It’s a no for me,” she wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken supporter of the “defund the police” movement – and is often seen as one of its leading advocates – which rose to prominence following the death of George Floyd, who was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. She has called for diverting much of the police budget into programs pertaining to education, housing and various social services.

However, Adams has not proposed increasing the NYPD budget. Instead, he plans on trimming it by nearly $30 million to about $5.41 billion, according to his 2023 budget proposal. The 2023 budget begins July 1.

Nevertheless, Ocasio-Cortez says that pumping large sums of money into police departments will not bring crime rates down.

“Police budgets have NOTHING to do with crime levels,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “If they did, crime would be at their lowest rate across the country, because police have more money than ever before.”

The congresswoman also wrote that tough policing practices — like plainclothes units — were not the answer to rising crime levels.

In Queens, crime is up 51 percent for the year through April 3, compared to the same period a year ago, according to city data.

The Queens Post reached out to the mayor’s office for comment but has yet to receive a response.

In February, Adams brought back the plainclothes units — which were disbanded in 2020 by former Mayor Bill de Blasio – in an effort crackdown on illegal guns and major crimes. The units have netted more than 100 arrests since it launched— and nearly 70 percent of the people busted have a prior criminal history, according to the New York Post.

Ocasio-Cortez took aim at the plainclothes unit on Instagram, saying that it has been responsible for a significant portion of the deaths caused by the NYPD.

She did not provide data to support her case, although a 2018 study by The Intercept found that the NYPD’s plainclothes units were responsible for nearly one-third of the department’s fatal shootings from 2000 to the time of the study, despite making up around 5 percent of the entire police force.

Ocasio-Cortez argued that the root cause of the city’s crime crisis stems from broader social policies and that more policing would not work.

“But as long as people think we can police our way out of problems that our housing, education and healthcare policies created we are going to continue having crime and violence,” she wrote.

She characterized “violence” as something more extensive than just physical acts.

“And by violence I don’t just mean people committing it but also [the] system and [the] power committing it against people.”

Ocasio-Cortez was also critical of Adams’ approach to the homeless crisis, such as sending cops into transit hubs to get rid of people who loiter in the subway system. The city has also been removing homeless encampments in an effort to connect people living on the street with social services and shelters.

She also opposes Adams’ plan to cut the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) budget from around $2.8 billion to $2.15 billion in the upcoming fiscal year—although a large portion of the reduction is tied to the loss of $500 million in COVID-related federal funding allocated to the agency, according to City Limits.

The city, however, would direct less money to adult shelters in the upcoming fiscal year, according to his proposal.

Ocasio-Cortez also called out the city’s use of solitary confinement at Rikers Island prison, labeling it as torture, while she ended the segment by writing that the U.S. military sends money to police departments.

“Did you know that even the U.S. military spending also gets funneled to police departments?” she wrote.

“It’s called program 1033. Google it.”

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7 Comments

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Ana Luisa

An important part of being a congresswoman is negotiating the best deal possible for your constituency…chasing Amazon out of LIC while refusing to meet with them was an act of lunacy if her mission is to improve the lives of those living in Astoria Houses and Ravenswood. I take the ferry often with a single mom from AH who has to drop ger kid off in elmhurst, has to then get to hallets cove to take the ferry all the way to wall street where she works minimum wage job #1, just so she can them go to midtown for job #2. She then pocks her kid up in Elmhurst and the heads back to AH. If Amazon had moved into the neighborhood, her local emplyment options would have quintupled, vastly improving her quality of life …not to mention conmuting budget. I get AOC has good intentions but she does not have the IQ points to make her good intentions happen. Time
for us all to make a change. Tired of the centrist majority being drowned out by toddlers with zero understanding of how life works.

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Pat Macnamara

Any comment from her majesty following today’s near massacre on the subway in Brooklyn?

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Karl

I am sure she will blame a lack of organic plant based meals for non binary fetuses as a root cause of this evil act! The only thing AOC excels at is defending ineffective marketing terms. Increasing funding for mental health units for the nypd is not “defunding the police” It is redirecting funds. This gal (and generation) aint that bright!

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James

Program 1033 is a brilliant program that doesn’t waste equipment that we paid for. Our law enforcement need military grade equipment to deal with the animals and violence in this city.

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Bill

Guess AOC has been blind to the rise in crime in Queens and the entire city. In addition, the perception is that crime is out of control. Sadly, she is out of touch with the vast majority of her constituents who think defunding the police is pure liberal drivel.

First, get crime under control, then we can talk about reforms!

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