NEW YORK — Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly reportedly blasted leaders in communities of color Tuesday for being "shockingly silent" in the face of rising violence in their neighborhoods, even as they were outspoken against the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics.
"There doesn't seem to be any major community response," Kelly said at an event in Harlem, according to the New York Daily News. "The casualties of this are mostly young people, mostly young men of color… It's something that should be addressed, and should be addressed by political leadership."
Seventy-seven people were shot in 62 incidents between July 2 and July 8, according to NYPD statistics collected by the New York Post — a 32 percent increase in shooting incidents compared to the same stretch last year.
Kelly's criticism comes in the wake of the shooting of a 3-year-old boy, who was playing in a sprinkler in Bedford-Stuyvesant Sunday.
“Ninety-six percent of our shooting victims are people of color, yet these community leaders are not speaking out about that,” Kelly said. “I'd like to see some political outcry. . . . I want them to be outraged that a 3-year-old child is shot on the streets."
Seventeen people were shot on the Fourth of July alone, police said.
"We've had demonstrations about virtually every other issue in this city, except the level of violence," Kelly added.
The commissioner's comments drew the ire of elected officials and community leaders, who insisted that political and civic groups have been working to reduce gun violence in their neighborhoods.
"The mere fact he made that comment shows his disconnect," State Sen. Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn, a former cop, told the New York Daily News. "What he's failing to realize is the good kids who want to go to the local police officer and tell him — 'this guy is carrying a gun' — they're afraid to do so because the day before, he was stopped unjustly by the police officer."
Roughly 87 percent of the 684,330 people who police stopped and frisked last year were black or Latino, the Daily News said. About 90 percent of those were not charged with a crime.
Bronx clergy members and elected officials held a press conference July 3, where they called on parents, police and politicians to work together to help reduce gun violence. The event was held near the spot where two girls, ages 14 and 15, shot and injured days before.
The Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition has reportedly scheduled a prayer rally Wednesday night at the Roosevelt Houses on Pulaski Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the 3-year-old boy was shot.