Rev. Al Sharpton preaches public safety, will Albany listen?
Harlem’s Rev. Al Sharpton has joined the growing chorus of New Yorkers calling for tweaks to the state’s disastrous bail law and other criminal-justice reforms.
When it comes to improving public safety, The Rev is showing more sense than the Democratic lawmakers who run Albany.
“There are tweaks that can turn these good reforms into great ones by addressing issues like recidivism, giving our district attorneys the right tools, and helping the thousands of mentally ill New Yorkers forced out onto the streets,” Sharpton said Monday.
The reforms instituted by the Legislature have allowed a set of hardcore repeat offenders to feel immune from punishment. A surge in teen violence has followed passage of the Raise the Age juvenile reforms, as youthful gangbangers seem to have taken it as license to shoot their peers.
Sharpton, who last year cracked, “They are locking up my toothpaste [at his local pharmacy],” notes that wasn’t the intent of the reforms.
The one-time firebrand street preacher/street activist is an important ally for Mayor Eric Adams in his effort to get the Legislature’s help in turning back the tide of crime inundating the Big Apple.
For all his crusades against police brutality and racism in America, Sharpton never called for the wholesale depolicing of communities or for the dismantling of police departments. He faults “latte liberals” for backing the defund-the-police movement to the detriment of minority communities.
The Legislature should pay heed, as here Sharpton is in firm agreement with what New Yorkers of all stripes believe. A recent Siena poll found that 93% of voters across all races say crime is a serious problem in New York. And about two-thirds said they support the idea of giving judges more discretion in setting bail for defendants accused of serious crimes.
Lord knows, we’ve slammed Sharpton’s outrageous demagoguery for decades, going all the way back to Tawana Brawley and Freddy’s Fashion Mart. Our disagreements have been endless, and likely will never end. But we’ve never pretended he doesn’t know what they’re saying on the street.
Progressives, beware: If you’re at odds with Al Sharpton when it comes to keeping minority communities (all communities!) safe, you’re not really being progressive at all.