Police Commissioner Ray Kelly blasted community leaders for what he believes was a lack of response to the recent spate of gun violence that left 77 injured or killed in the city last week, according to the New York Daily News.
“Many of them will speak out about stop-and-frisk” but are “shockingly silent when it comes to the level of violence right in their own communities,” Kelly said at an event in Harlem on Tuesday, according to the paper.
Kelly argued that there has been no demonstration about and shot in the leg at Bed-Stuy's Roosevelt Houses playground over the weekend.
“I'd like to see some political outcry,” Kelly said, according to the Daily News. “I want them to be outraged that a three-year-old child is shot on the streets.”
Elected officials were outraged at Kelly’s comments, with City Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Brooklyn, calling his words “presumptuous and patently false,” as well as an “insult” to communities like his, according to the article.
“Maybe he'd like to come with me when I go to the families of the victims just hours after they’ve lost a son and see just how silent I am,” Williams said.
In an email statement, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (57th A.D.) called the increased violence "deeply troubling," and attributed it to the fact that there are too many guns and too few jobs: "It is unnecessarily divisive for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to cast blame on others who do not have direct responsibility for the safety of our city."
Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Prospect Heights, agreed, writing via e-mail that "[b]laming elected and community leaders will not bring back the lives of those who died from senseless violence over the last few days."
"The NYPD needs to increase and re-distribute resources through hiring more police, developing new community policing strategies, supporting preventive organizations that interrupt and stop violence, and engaging the community in a real dialog geared towards ending violence. The police commissioner's comments are a distraction from the fact that stop-and-frisk is a failed policy," she added.
Jeffries suggested city and civic leaders put their heads together to find solutions to violence, rather than letting it divide the city.
"Moving forward, it is my hope that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration will work closely with civic leaders to address the violence problem and improve the relationship between the police and the community," he said.