Jackie Rowe-Adams, Co-Founder of Harlem Mothers SAVE, was appalled to hear of a recent cop shooting in the Bronx. As a mother who lost two of her children to gun violence, she longs for a future where nobody – neither police nor civilian – lives in fear of getting shot.
“The flow of guns coming into our community – they’re not only shooting us, but now they’re shooting the police!” said Rowe-Adams. “I lost two kids to gun violence. I don’t wanna see another mother, another family hurting. And I’m talking about the officers’ families, too. So when we go out each day, we have to make sure that everybody’s safe. We have to stop putting negative thoughts in our young folks’ heads that the police is bad. And if they’re bad, then we can make them good!”
Yesterday, Rowe-Adams joined a plethora of electeds and community leaders from across the five boroughs to speak at a press conference about the shooting.
The press conference took place yesterday at 12 p.m., at 1 Police Plaza. Leading the conference was Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D). He was accompanied by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D); Queens Borough President Sharon Lee (D); Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D); and Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) and Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), among several others.
Last weekend, a gunman identified as Robert Williams attempted to assassinate several officers in two separate attacks within the Bronx’s 41st Precinct. Williams managed to shoot and hospitalize two officers before his arrest on Sunday morning.
“We are clear; the prerequisite to prosperity in this city is public safety,” said Eric Adams. “Public safety gives us the authority to voice our concerns on any issue. When we look at the assembly of people here, a cross section of New Yorkers who have come together and clearly standing in a very uniform fashion, we’re saying that no matter where we are on law enforcement, we’re all on the same ground. Violence only begets violence, and we do not support violence of this magnitude in our city.”
For Gale Brewer, the most important takeaway from the incident was the importance of increased gun control.
“I want to add what everyone here knows; we have to get guns off the streets,” said Brewer. “It’s not a new refrain, but it is absolutely necessary. And we can’t do it by cheating; we can’t do it without working together, in the kind of coalition that [Eric Adams] has put together today.”
On a similar note, Ydanis Rodriguez stressed the need to crack down on the weapons black market, suspecting that the guns used in the shooting were smuggled in from outside New York.
“We need to shift the national conversation towards the black market, selling illegal weapons,” said Rodriguez. Those weapons that he used most likely came from out of state. Because it is so easy for someone to purchase a gun from another state and bring it to New York. So I think that we need to continue doing more. There are millions of individuals who own guns in this nation without proper permits.”
Meanwhile, Jumaane Williams used his time on the mic to clarify that, although he may be critical of the police as individuals and as an institution, he refuses to tolerate violence against them.
“My hope is that police officers who are watching today see the array of voices all across the city and know that we support them,” said Williams. “No matter what we say about reform, no matter what we say about trying to make police better, it should not be misconstrued for anything other than what’s best for this city and supporting the men and women who wake up every single day to do a good job with the community.”
Adrienne Adams concurred, pointing out that the relationship between officers and civilians doesn’t have to be adversarial.
“We will forever condemn any act of violence committed against [officers],” said Adrienne Adams. “The one thing that we’ve not mentioned yet this afternoon is that this is not an ‘us versus them’ kind of thing. A lot of us have family members who are ‘us’ and ‘them’. We have family members who are standing up and sacrificing their lives on a daily basis.”
However, some reporters were quick to point out the ways in which NYPD officers have contributed to the tension between civilians and law enforcement. In particular, they cited NYPD sergeants’ union head Ed Mullins, who pledged to “declare war” on City Hall after the shooting.
In response, Eric Adams clarified that he does not tolerate that sort of rhetoric, regardless of who it comes from.
“We do not endorse that position,” said Adams. “My peers and I are unified in our position that a ‘war’ on any side is not a war that we support.”
Sharon Lee closed out the press conference with a pledge to ensure that her borough stands in solidarity with the Bronx during these troubling times.
“Queens stands in solidarity with the Bronx,” said Lee. “Any assault on an officer is unacceptable. Any attempted assassination of an officer is unacceptable. And we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the NYPD, and of the Bronx.”