AOC challenger offers New Yorkers safety, pushes death penalty for cop killers

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According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 2021 was the “deadliest year for law enforcement officers in history.” In the wake of two more police officers murdered in New York in what is starting out as a potentially deadlier year than the last, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) faces a Republican challenger, Desi Cuellar, who is calling for the death penalty for all convicted cop killers.

Cuellar spoke about the recent violence against police in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“What breaks my heart the most is that officers like Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora are heroes — everybody says that, nobody has a problem saying that,” Cuellar said Wednesday. “But it is a shame that our brave men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us have to die before we look at them or refer to them as heroes.”

Thousands of civilians and uniformed officers were in attendance at Rivera’s wake at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on Thursday, coming from as far as Virginia, Canada, Massachusetts and overseas to pay their respects to the young officer’s family. Fellow Officer Mora, who succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday after battling for days in critical condition, is an organ donor and it is said his selfless act will save the lives of five individuals.

Cuellar is a National Guardsman of Cuban descent whose family fled the communist Castro regime. His announcement came directly after a rally he attended on Wednesday outside the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“The blood of these officers is on the hands of these spineless politicians like AOC, or anybody on city council, or even the mayor right now, unless he does something about it,” Cuellar said, referring to new NYC Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat who so far appears to offer only lip service amid soaring violent crime in his city.

“Nobody in politics on the left cares about holding back the criminals, all they care about is holding back the police.”

“The problem we face today is that the mindset of the modern criminal is one that understands that they will not face severe consequences for their violent actions,” Cuellar said. “And honestly, it feels like we are getting a lack of action on this crisis from both sides of the aisle. Everyone needs to wake up.”

Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired police sergeant and spokeswoman for the National Police Association said both sides of the political aisle should speak out about rising crime, adding that although Rivera and Mora’s deaths brought about attention due to their young ages (Rivera was 22 and Mora 27) she hopes that the issue of violent crime remains at the front of the public’s mind, particularly as it relates to whom they elect to lead in government.

“We used to, if you were that kind of criminal, committing horrible violent felonies, at some point you would get a lengthy prison sentence,” Brantner Smith said. “That’s not happening as much in a lot of cases.”

New York has seen five police shootings in the first four weeks of 2022, but they are not alone.

In Houston, police and families are still mourning the murder of Harris County Cpl. Charles Galloway over the weekend and the death of Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ramon Gutierrez on Monday after a drunken driver slammed into him during a traffic stop.

If that wasn’t enough, three more Houston Police officers were wounded on Thursday in a shootout with a suspect who had barricaded himself inside a home, after which an hours-long standoff with SWAT ensued. Officers had initially responded to a home disturbance call before the suspect opened fire. The suspect eventually surrendered and was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound to his neck. It was unclear at the time whether it was self-inflicted or officer-inflicted.

Houston PD released the names of the wounded officers Thursday night on Twitter.

TX Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement following the shooting Thursday:

The state of Texas grieves at the news of yet another violent attack on our law enforcement officers, this time on three members of the Houston Police Department who were shot this afternoon while serving their community. Violence against the police will never be tolerated in the Lone Star State. The State of Texas will ensure that the City of Houston and the Houston Police Department have the resources and support they need to ensure swift justice for the perpetrator. Please join Cecilia and me in praying for the officers who were shot and injured, as well as for the safety of all law enforcement who serve and protect our communities across the state.

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