Rev. Al Sharpton said Tuesday that defunding the police is a pipe dream for “latte liberals” who aren’t seeing the increasing crime in parts of New York City.
“To take all policing off is something that I think a latte liberal may go for as they sit around the Hamptons discussing this as some academic problem,” Sharpton told a panel on MSNBC. “But people living on the ground need proper policing. Yes, we need more resources in different areas like mental health, but we do not need our grandmothers prey to those that are being the users of products of the big gun manufacturers in this country.” (RELATED: ‘Defunding … Means Defunding’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Not Satisfied With Cutting NYPD By $1B)
Sharpton also pushed back when “Morning Joe” regular Willie Geist said that the surge in crime in New York is greatly exaggerated, saying that depended upon location.
“In the side of the city that I come from, which is blacker and poorer, we’ve seen more in terms of gun usage,” Sharpton said, referring to rich and poor New York as a “tale of two cities.”
The MSNBC host recalled the “attention” he received when he presented the eulogy for George Floyd and how, just one month later, he “preached a 1-year-old kid’s funeral in Brooklyn who was killed by a stray bullet.” Sharpton also noted the six people shot over the Labor Day weekend “at a festivity in Brooklyn.” (RELATED: ‘You Took My Son: Go To Hell’: Father And Grandmother Of Murdered 1-Year-Old Baby Speak Out Against Killers)
“On the ground it is certainly feeling more violent, feeling more unsafe, in unsafe communities, if you know what I mean,” Sharpton said, reiterating his concern that in some parts of the city “it feels more … dangerous.”
Although Sharpton said he has agreed in the past that “we must reimagine how we do policing,” he suggested that removing the police from an area “that is inundated with guns” isn’t going to make anyone feel safer.
New York City has seen a 30% increase in homicides this year from the year before, as of mid-August. Amid calls for defunding, its police department decided to disband its anti-crime unit at the same time that shootings skyrocketed in the city.