There was quick reaction Wednesday to blunt comments by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who challenged community leaders and politicians to do something about the violence plaguing the city. State Sen. Eric Adams called on Kelly to walk the streets in Brooklyn with members of several grassroots organizations to see what they're doing about violence. Marc Santia reports.
That was the message of dozens of community leaders and local authorities, who rallied Wednesday in Brooklyn to condemn a recent spate of violence -- including the shooting of a toddler in a playground.
"This needs to stop," said Jose Rivera, whose son, Isaiah Rivera, 3, was shot in the leg Sunday while he was playing in a sprinkler near his home in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Police said he was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle. "It needs to stop today. Who's the next victim?"
"It shouldn't take a 3-year-old boy to bring a community together to understand that enough is enough," he said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly accused local community leaders Tuesday of staying silent on the issue of gun violence. He said the leaders who were quick to rail against the city's stop-and-frisk policies were doing little to voice concern over violence in their own neighborhoods.
"I haven't heard any outcry," he said. "There hasn't been outrage."
But Brooklyn state Sen. Eric Adams told NBC 4 New York Wednesday said Kelly was wrong.
"Take a walk, talk to the people who are tired of violence," Adams said, inviting Kelly to visit the neighborhoods in his district.
"Why do children have to worry about getting shot while playing in the park?" asked a teenager who attended the rally. "Why can't we just have a safe childhood?"
Police Monday arrested two men in connection with Isaiah's shooting. They are still searching for a third man, Jashid Chambers.
"This is a strong community, a strong neighborhood," said District Attorney Charles Hynes. "And there's no reason why an empty-headed thug should be able to carry guns and shoot people like Isaiah Rivera."
Adams said his constituents don't think stop-and-frisks are effective. During a walk with an NBC 4 New York reporter, he met a Crown Heights resident who said he was concerned about his young son living amid violence.
"I don't want my son to get caught in the crossfire," said Kareith Ingram.
But he doesn't believe stop-and-frisks are the solution.
"I've been stopped and frisked in front of my own son where I had to have a stranger hold my son down and maintain him," he said.
It was a disturbing sight for the kindergartener.
"'Just stop touching his backpack and leave him alone,'" the boy recalled saying when his father was frisked.
Adams said Kelly was placing too heavy an emphasis on statistics and that he should instead be focusing on people.
"By coming out here and walking the street, you're now removing yourself from the numbers, and you're going back to doing the human part of policing," said Adams, a former police officer.
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