VIDEO: NYC Majority Leader Cries Over Words NYPD Uses To Describe Gangbangers
New York, NY
York, NY – New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo broke
down in tears during a public safety committee meeting on Wednesday, as
NYPD officials described a database system they have established to help
track and combat gang violence (video below).
The NYPD database is a tool used to help track the members of approximately 500 gangs and crews operating in the city, the New York Daily News reported.
database is a vital tool in keeping the city safe,” Chief of Detectives
Dermot Shea explained to the committee. “When violence erupts between
two groups, it is vital for us to know who might retaliate and who is
likely to be targeted.”
Opponents of the
Criminal Group Database have declared the system to be racist, due to
the fact that 95 percent of the 17,600 people entered into the system
are African American or Hispanic, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reported.
Chief Shea noted
that most gangs and organized crime groups “are not typically diverse
organizations,” according to the New York Daily News.
“To hear about the fact this database exists, on first sight, on first hearing — it seems very problematic,” Cumbo said.
‘takedown’ and ‘crews’ and to talk about our children that way,” Cumbo
lamented, shaking her head. “It’s really, I mean, maybe just because I’m
a new mom and I’m really hormonal, but it is terrifying to hear about
our children in that way. To be referred to as ‘crews’ and ‘gangs’ and
‘takedowns,’ and I mean, it just…”
According to Chief
Shea, the average age of those entered in the database is 27 years old –
nearly a decade older than the “children” Cumbo expressed being
“The words we use,
the language we use,” Cumbo continued through tears, according to the
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. “To hear us talk about them like
this. To talk about them like numbers in a database.”
“They are people,”
she said, according to the New York Daily News. “They are our community.
They’re valuable. We can’t continue to look at people as casualties.”
Chief Shea noted
that law enforcement used the same process to successfully topple
Italian-American organized crime rings in the 1980s and 1990s.
The NYPD still tracks terrorist groups, motorcycle gangs, and Russian and Albanian organized crime, he added.
Chief Shea explained that 50 percent of the 789 shootings that took place in the city in 2017 involved a gang member.
“Plainly stated, it would be irresponsible for the department not to track members of gangs,” he said.
The database is routinely updated to keep the list of entries current and accurate.
“Our goal is to
make sure that everyone who is in the database is actually a gang
member,” Chief Shea said. “We are in the era of precision policing.
Saturating the database with non-gang members limits its usefulness.”
work diligently to ensure that we do not accidentally ensnare innocent
people into the database,” he continued. “The numbers back that up … In
fact, the average person in the database has been arrested 11 times,
five of which are for felonies.”
Logic aside, Cumbo
appeared to be fixated on words the NYPD used and the fact that the
database had ever been conceptualized in the first place.
devastating to hear about how we see our young people, and the
vocabulary that we utilize, and the lack of connection to helping them,”
It was unclear
which words Cumbo may have deemed to be more appropriate in discussing
the facts surrounding gang violence, but she did offer one suggestion.
The City Council
Majority Leader proposed that police use the database to help those
listed to access resources, including employment, the Observer reported.
are entrepreneurial individuals who have some talents and some skill
sets to do something,” she said. “This city just increased the amount of
summer youth employment… from 28,000 to 75,000.”
“I just hope that my son is never in a situation like that,” Cumbo added, as onlookers began to applaud.
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