A string of bloody shootings in New York City over the weekend has left at least four people dead and 19 others injured.
The surge in violence marked the deadliest weekend since New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in January, the New York Post reported. It was also the third time in June that New York City saw at least 12 people involved in shootings, leaving one local lawmaker to wonder whether a decline in stop-and-frisk practices is responsible for the spike.
According to NBC New York, the shootings took place in all five of the city’s boroughs, and included injuries to 10-, 12-, and 16-year-old boys in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Harlem. One man died after being shot in the head in Queens, while another suffered a similar fate in Brooklyn. Of all the boroughs, Brooklyn experienced the most violence with seven shootings and 11 people hurt.
At one point, 15 people were shot over a 12-hour period between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Speaking with the New York Post, state Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) blamed the New York Police Department’s decreased use of stop-and-frisk for the uptick in violent episodes, saying gun wielders “are taking chances because they don’t think stop-and-frisk is going on … Thank God these guys are bad shots and thank God for our trauma rooms that keep these [victims] alive.
“If we don’t do stop-and-frisk, there will be more shootings and there will be more death.”
As RT reported in January, Mayor de Blasio announced the city would drop its appeal of a court ruling that mandated reform of the controversial policy, which allowed police to stop, question, and search pedestrians for firearms and contraband. The case has since been settled, with the city agreeing to work with a federal.
Critics of the policy claimed it unfairly targeted minorities and was unconstitutional, an argument that held sway in court when US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled it caused “the disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of blacks and Hispanics in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”
Whether or not declining stop-and-frisk practices are the root cause of June’s spike in violence remains to be seen, however. The NYPD is currently studying whether or not that may be the case.
"We have a very comprehensive analysis underway to get a sense of if stop, question and frisk, the decline in it, is having any impact on overall crime," NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton said on June 25, according to Newsday. "At this juncture, we really don't know. Once that study is completed over the next several weeks we will have a better idea of that."
Bratton told NBC on Monday, however, that the total number of shootings seen in 2014 is still down compared to the same time period last year, and pointed towards an incoming class of 1,200 additional officers as a way to bolster police presence.
In response to the situation, de Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak released the following statement:
“The mayor and the Police Department are working closely to put hundreds of more officers on the streets, deploy cops to areas experiencing crime spikes, and utilize innovative strategies to catch bad guys and keep neighborhoods safe.”