Police Commissioner Ray Kelly faced criticism Wednesday for asking reporters why there has not been more community concern over recent shootings from leaders who railed against the city's stop-and-frisk policy, hours before an already planned demonstration against such violence took place at a Brooklyn public housing project. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Ministers and elected officials gathered in the apartment of 3-year-old Isaiah Rivera's family Wednesday, praying for peace and thankful he's OK.
The little boy was grazed twice as bullets ripped through the air at his playground at the Roosevelt houses Sunday.
"I think it's time for us as a community to recollect ourselves, reevaluate, restructure the direction we need to go with our children," said Rev. W. Taharka Robinson of the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition. "It's very important for everyone to see that we can mobilize, organize and strategize to get something done to deal with this issue of violence in the community."
They then rallied at the location where the violence occurred. Many more community leaders and officials joined in, telling residents to put down the guns and turn in those people who have illegal guns.
Do you agree with the commissioner’s remarks? What more can communities do to stop violence in their neighborhoods? Do stop-and-frisk procedures and gun buyback programs work? Read New Yorkers' thoughts.
“There’s no question that the 22 years that I have been DA, the enormous drop in crime is due substantially to community involvement," said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. "What we have to do is encourage folks to help and they can do it anonymously.”
Overwhelmed by the message and show of support, Isaiah's father wiped away tears.
"It should not take a 3-year-old boy to bring the community together, to understand enough is enough," he said.
Leaders said as well as discussing violence in the community, families must also start to speak about preventing violence in their own homes.
Earlier in the day, while swearing in a new academy class of more than 1,200 officers, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly basically stood by his words from Tuesday, saying elected officials don’t speak out enough against violence where they live.
More than 1,200 police recruits were sworn in to the New York City Police Department's Police Academy during a ceremony at Queens College Wednesday.
"What I was saying was that the political leadership, somebody, it is willing to attack the police department but not willing to take on the big issue, which is crime happening in their own neighborhoods," he said.
Kelly furthered his point on Inside City Hall Wednesday, where he said he thinks local leaders are concerned with the violence but are more willing to criticize the police department, which he said is trying to address the problem.
In an interview with Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly discussed the recent spate of violence while defending the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy. Watch the full interview here.
But many elected officials fired back, saying the commissioner is dead wrong and off the mark.
"What is it going to take before the commissioner understands, don't point the finger at innocent people that want to partner with him," said State Sen. Eric Adams. "Let's go out and get the people who are pointing guns at innocent people."
"We haven't been silent," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams. "The mayor and the commissioner have been shockingly deaf."
The big question is whether the war of words make a difference in preventing violence.