Several top ranking officials held a briefing at City Hall Friday to give an update on the Adams administration’s ongoing public safety efforts.
This comes over a year since Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his subway safety plan, which increased the NYPD presence underground to address homelessness on the subway system.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell touted the plan’s effectiveness so far, however acknowledged there are still challenges that occur daily.
Rev. Al Sharpton joined Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” Friday to discuss the briefing, bail reform and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Two months ago, the civil rights leader brought together top Black elected officials for a summit on public safety.
Some of the elected officials that attended the summit included Adams, State Attorney General Letitia James, Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.
He said at the summit, they agreed on how to deal with “the questions of discovery” and bail reform, which he said there has been some disagreement of Black political and other leadership.
According to Sharpton, he expects an announcement on “some areas of common agreement” by early March.
“I think that it is insulting that to many of us that those of us that have struggled around police reform and prison reform look like we’re trying to also say that we don’t want to deal with the fact that we wanna help the mayor and others deal with public safety. We want both,” he said, adding that they don’t want to be abused by cops or criminals.
“Many of us in the civil rights community are saying, ‘We’re not saying defund the police,’” Sharpton continued, mentioning that funding needs to be allocated. “It’s not defund the police, it’s define the police, and at the same time define public safety.”
When asked if there was a sense if bail reform will move policy, he said it will certainly “be defined.”
“I think that you got to deal with the fact though that many people are incarcerated because they can’t afford to get out with bail, they can’t afford a lawyer,” Sharpton said. “So we got to have a balance here, and we got to stop distorting people that are on the left or the right and leave our people in jail in the middle.”
DeSantis and African American studies
Last week in Florida, Sharpton led demonstrations in Tallahassee against the state’s rejection of the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American Studies class, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plans to get rid of college diversity programs.
Sharpton said DeSantis is trying to “politicize” the teachings of Black and LGBTQ history because “he wants to play the culture wars as his entrée into presidential politics.”
“He is doing what Trump did in a more abrasive manner. He is baby Trump,” he said.
“You cannot teach American history without teaching Black history. You can teach a distortion, but you can’t teach history,” he continued.
DeSantis visited Staten Island earlier this week, where he criticized “woke ideology” in left-leaning cities to an audience of law enforcement members.
In terms of DeSantis becoming a potential GOP candidate for president in 2024, Sharpton said no one knows “if he’s ready for prime time.”
“I’m not too sure that once we put him under the national magnifying glass, both policy-wise and otherwise, will be able to stand that kind of pressure,” he said.