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NYC First Lady asks citizens to ‘physically intervene’ in violent crime after city defunded police

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio listens to his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS)
March 08, 2021

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife asked citizens on Saturday to “physically intervene” if they see a violent crime occurring, less than a year after pushing de Blasio to “defund the police,” and remarking that a world without police would be “utopia.”

“As attacks on Asian American communities continue, we’re asking New Yorkers to show up for their neighbors and intervene when witnessing hateful violence or harassment. I know that can be frightening when you aren’t sure what to do or say, but you can learn,” New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray tweeted Saturday.

She continued, “Fear is a normal feeling when stepping into a confrontation, but being prepared can help. I’ll share [Hollaback]’s 5 D’s, which are easy to remember tactics that we can all use to de-escalate a situation. D is for Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct.”

McCray expanded on the “5 D’s”, recommending people interrupt a “hate crime or incident” by engaging with the victim using a question like, “What time is it?”

She also suggested responding “directly to the aggressor or physically intervene” after assessing the situation.

“Be confident, assertive, calm. This is risky, but sometimes all we can do is speak up,” she tweeted. “If the harasser responds, try your best to focus on assisting the person targeted.”

A witness could also support a victim by recording the situation with a phone or by writing notes, “but please don’t share a video without the consent of the person being harmed,” she wrote.

In June 2020, McCray said a world without police would be “a utopia” during an interview with Time magazine following the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.

“That would be like nirvana, a utopia that we are nowhere close to getting to,” McCray told Time, referring to a possible police-free city.

In April 2020, de Blasio appointed his wife, who is also black, to be co-chair of New York City’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity. Months later, he doubled-down on her involvement, having her lead a “Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation” tasked with examining whether certain monuments and buildings should be removed or renamed due to their association with slavery, The New York Post reported.

Crime has been increasing in the city in spite of its non-policing efforts. In January 2021, the New York Police Department made 417 gun arrests, according to the city’s top cop, who said the arrests were a 75 percent jump from the previous year.

During a webinar hosted by the Police Foundation, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea shared concerns that NYPD officers were making over a dozen arrests per day, the New York Daily News reported.

“I would argue we’re making far too many gun arrests. We shouldn’t have to,” Shea told the foundation. “You really must ask yourself, and I think more people need to start asking this, ‘What the h— is going on with the firearms in New York City this year? What has changed?’”

Shea said the firearms crisis comes on the heels of one of the worst years for the city, with 4,280 gun arrests taking place in 2020, a 29 percent increase from the year before. Shooting incidents also jumped 754 from 2019.