Saturday’s Times Square shooting shows the the city can’t afford to “defund the police,” mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang said during a Sunday morning appearance at the Crossroads of the World.
“The truth is that New York City cannot afford to defund the police,” Yang said near the site of Saturday’s wild shooting, which injured three innocent bystanders including a 4-year-old girl in the hot spot to shop for toys.
“When I talk to New Yorkers I get a very different message every single day,” he said.
“New Yorkers are concerned about rising rates of of violent crime, petty crime, street homelessness. This is what we are seeing, and we need our city’s leaders to step up right now.”
Four-year-old Skye Martinez was waiting in line with relatives to shop for toys at Line Friends on Saturday when a gunman arguing with three other people opened fire on the crowd, striking her and two other bystanders.
Martinez and the two other victims, who are both tourists, are all expected to survive.
Yang, who along with former cop Eric Adams leads the polls for the June 22 mayoral primary, said the incident highlighted the crucial role of police in keeping the city safe — particularly as it seeks to dig itself out of its COVID-19 economic slumber.
“Nothing works in our city without public safety, and for public safety we need the police,” Yang said. “My message to the NYPD is this: New York needs you. Your city needs you. We need you to do your jobs professionally, responsibly, and justly.”
“And as you do these things, the people of New York will have your backs. I will have your back. Defund the Police is wrong for New York City.”
As mayor, Yang said he would “appoint reform-minded officers to help gets guns out of our communities,” and deploy more cops to neighborhoods with high gun violence.
June’s 2021 Democratic primary will be the first citywide election to use the new ranked-choice voting system.
New Yorkers will be able to select their preference of up to five candidates for mayor and other offices. Ballots will be tallied by first, second, third, fourth and fifth choice, eliminating the need for runoff elections.