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New York City commuters enduring recent violent incidents on the subway are being told to “keep both eyes wide open” because they are essentially on their own.
The head of New York’s Police Benevolent Association issued a dire warning to residents in the wake of a series of random attacks involving subway riders being shoved onto tracks. The incidents are part of what is being criticized as “a very disturbing trend” and elected leaders are being blasted for essentially ignoring the problem while preventing law enforcement from protecting citizens.
“The politicians have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want cops enforcing transit system rules, connecting the homeless with services, engaging with seriously mentally ill people or doing any of the things necessary to prevent these terrifying random attacks,” PBA President Pat Lynch said, according to the New York Post.
“That is their choice to make, but who is replacing us in those roles? Right now, nobody,” he added.
“While our elected leaders are closing their eyes and wishing the problem away, we recommend that all New Yorkers keep both eyes wide open while in our transit system,” the head of the NYPD’s largest union warned.
“There are people who work hard to keep the subways safe and then there is Pat Lynch, who actively roots for a more chaotic, violent city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio spokeswoman Avery Cohen fired back. “He cannot be taken seriously on public safety and his latest words are insults to the people he supposedly represents.”
A sense of lawlessness in de Blasio’s city has contributed to the rash of shoving incidents, but part of the focus has also been on the mentally ill in the city and the questionable effects of an exorbitant mental-health program run by the Democrat leader’s wife, Chirlane McCray.
“ThriveNYC seems to be a scam and has done nothing to address the mentally ill,” Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said.
“The only chance of stopping the violence lies in the hands of Transit Chief [Kathleen] O’Reilly, who truly cares about the people of this city, her officers and doing what is right,” he added. “The NYPD should give her unlimited resources to help make the subway system safe again.”
The rise in violent crimes in New York comes in the wake of protests and rioting over the summer and a shift in handling smaller crimes, with a zero bail policy and a general lack of support for police by city officials. There have been four incidents of subway riders being shoved just since mid-October.
A 40-year-old woman was violently pushed onto the subway tracks last Thursday, but luckily escaped with her life. A suspect in the incident in Manhattan’s Union Square station was arrested, WABC-TV reported and Liliana Sagbaicela ended up with eight stitches in her head.
The 24-year-old suspect, reportedly emotionally disturbed and homeless according to police, was charged with attempted murder, felony assault and reckless endangerment.
**WARNING: Disturbing Content**
Another suspect was arrested the previous night when a 36-year-old UPS worker was shoved onto the tracks at the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station. The commuter apparently had refused to give the homeless man any money.
Police arrested 23-year-old Justin Pena and charged him with attempted murder and reckless endangerment, according to WABC. The suspect had also been arrested back in January when he allegedly punched a 62-year-old man riding a train.
Over the weekend, a 29-year-old rider was attacked at a Brooklyn station when a man began screaming at him on a train, followed him off at a station and shoved him onto the tracks, according to the New York Post. Another incident last month involved a 28-year-old woman being pushed onto the Times Square subway tracks.
Though not shoved onto tracks as other victims, Broadway star Alex Weisman needed surgery after he suffered fractures around his eye when he was attacked at an Upper West Side station last week.
“It’s not fair to the people who are using this system,” Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit interim president, said at a news conference last week. “It’s not fair to the woman who experienced this today. We have a crisis in this city, and it absolutely has to be addressed.”
With a surge in crimes and the elimination of the NYPD’s Homeless Outreach and Shelter Security Unit this summer, de Blasio looked to blame the recent problems on the coronavirus pandemic.
“A lot of things we depend on to keep people safe and stable weren’t there,” he said.
But police union officials vehemently disagree.
“The City Council pretty much took away the ability of the NYPD to make arrests,” Mullins told Fox News. “We have cops out there right now that are hesitant to grab anybody simply out fear that if it goes bad we may get ourselves arrested.”
New York Congresswoman-Elect Nicole Malliotakis blasted New York’s Democratic leadership during an interview with Fox News.
FLAMETHROWERS, SHOOTINGS, & SUBWAY ATTACKS: NYC sees another sharp rise in violent crime. New York Congresswoman-Elect @NMalliotakis breaks down how the Big Apple could recover.
— Fox & Friends First (@FoxFriendsFirst) November 23, 2020
“This mayor seems very disengaged with what’s going on in his city,” Transit Workers Union official Eric Loegel told The Post, calling the shoving attacks “a very disturbing trend”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who announced he is running for mayor, said in a video this week that the city is “in a dark place right now.”
“Whether it’s the pandemic or violence in our streets, we don’t feel safe,” he said.
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