by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In light of the recent subway shooting in New York City, a 2019 letter from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressives calling to defund the police has been put in the spotlight.
Multiple signatories to the letter continue to “stand by” the original letter urging then Gov. Andrew Cuomo to abandon a plan to put 500 more officers in the subway despite the many people who believe that more police in the subway system could have prevented the crisis.
“Punishing the poor does not create a safer environment. Instead it threatens the very foundation of our community. That is why my New York colleagues and I wrote a letter to @NYGovCuomo asking him to help put an end to MTA’s dangerous policing policy,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter along with a photo of the letter in Dec 2019.
“In our view desperately needed resources would be better invested in subway, bus, maintenance and service improvements,” the leftists wrote. “We are urging the MTA to divest from this current model of criminalization.”
The plea was signed by Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Jerry Nadler, former Rep. Jose Serrano and State Sens. Alessandra Biaggi, Julia Salazar, Michael Gianaris, Luis Sepulveda and Jessica Ramos, among others.
“…we would like to remind you of the historic racial discrepancies in enforcement and the way communities of color, both MTA riders and workers, bear the brunt of over-policing,” the letter said.
Views seem unchanged even in the face of rising subway crimes, including this week’s mass shooting.
“Police budgets have never been higher, and Mayor Adams increased numbers of police in the weeks before the shooting,” Ramos said according to the New York Post. “If we’re going to look back years into the past, let’s look at the austerity that allowed so many people to fall through the cracks.”