Mayor hopefuls spar over policing after Times Square shooting

New York: The shocking shooting of three people in Times Square prompted the city’s mayoral hopefuls to weigh in on controversial police reform on Sunday, with the front-runners in the race denouncing the movement to defund police and sparring over whose crimefighting proposals are the strongest.

Stray bullets struck two women and a 4-year-old girl on Saturday at the popular tourist destination when an argument escalated into gunfire among several men,

“New York City cannot afford to defund the police,” Yang said.”When I talk to New Yorkers, I get a very different message every single day.”

Yang’s remarks were his strongest to date in support of the NYPD. They came amid calls from some of his rivals to cut billions of dollars from the Police Department budget, a position inspired by last year’s protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

 Eric Adams criticized Yang’s response to violence when it struck close to home.

“You know what, Andrew? These shootings have been happening blocks from my house for years and blocks from the houses of poorer New Yorkers for years,” said Adams, a former NYPD captain campaigning as a “working-class” candidate.

As of last Sunday, the city had 132 homicides, according to the NYPD, up 17% from 113 during the same time frame last year. Shootings have surged, with 463 victims as of last Sunday, a spike of 79% from last year.

A new poll last week showed Adams moving ahead of Yang, a businessman who gained national prominence during his unsuccessful 2020 run for president, to take the lead in the race for the first time.

Adams has promised to reconstitute the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime unit — shut down after years of criticism for its aggressive tactics — with a focus on finding shooters and illegal guns. He has proposed better police training, too.

Progressive candidates Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley have proposed massive NYPD budget cuts — Morales wants a $3 billion reduction, while Wiley is calling for a $1 billion trim.

They each have said the funds would be better spent on services to communities.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy New York Daily News)

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