Hochul Tight-Lipped After Meeting With Gun Violence Interrupters

Governor Kathy Hochul and former Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin hold a roundtable meeting in Brooklyn on gun violence. Photo from Governor’s Flickr account.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration was tight lipped about a “community roundtable meeting” in Central Brooklyn Tuesday, which had the stated purpose of stemming gun violence. 

The meeting including Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, but no local elected officials, was held at Bedford Stuyvesant’s Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street. Following the meeting Hochul’s spokespeople issued a statement, but refused to give the location of the meeting or elaborate on what was said.

The administration also did not answer any PolitcsNY questions regarding support or lack thereof for Mayor Eric Adam’s wanting to tweak both recent bail reform and Raise the Age legislative reforms made in the past few years.

“Today, we, along with several members of the Hochul Administration, met with New Yorkers who are fighting the rising scourge of gun violence on the ground in our communities. Given the urgency this challenging time demands, the State recognizes the necessity of hearing directly from our violence prevention leaders on what they need and how the State can offer support,” Hochul and Benjamin said in a prepared statement after the meeting.

Among those present at the meeting were Anthony Newerls, who heads the nonprofit Brownsville In Violence Out, is the president of the 73rd Police Precinct Community Council and works for the Church Avenue Block Merchants Association (CAMBA).

Newerls confirmed the meeting was at Restoration Plaza, but refused to discuss any details of the meeting until he spoke with his “Bosses” at CAMBA.

Among those also present were Erica Ford from LIFE Camp, Derick Scott from Operation HOOD and Omar Jackson from Stand Against Violence East Harlem (SAVE).

Hochul, the unelected incumbent governor, hinted in the joint statement that politics and funding of these non-profits – possibly to garner support for herself in the upcoming Democratic Primary – might have been at play in the meeting.

“From the Interstate Taskforce on Illegal Guns that is fighting the flow of illegal guns through eight states, to legislation banning ghost guns in New York, to tripling funding for violence prevention and intervention programs, this Administration has taken bold steps to fight gun violence,” Hochul and Benjamin said.