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Top Democrats Turn New York City Into A Pro-Israel Police State

Above photo: New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

New York Democrats are fueling the panic over a fictional crime wave to increase surveillance and police presence in NYC.

New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City’s Democratic Mayor Eric Adams continue to use policing to stoke the crime panic of their own creation. They’re wrong to do so and they’ve been wrong for a while now.

In November 2022, I wrote about Adams and Hochul throwing more cops and more surveillance into the subway to validate the crime panic they both (but more so Adams) helped stoke. Since then, the crime panic has, as expected, persisted. But their actions this month have shown that Adams and Hochul just cannot stop pressing the “more cops” button. Not only are they still trying to promote their crime panic with more cops and now soldiers, but Hochul and Adams are also hoping more cops and more intense police violence will put an end to pro-Palestine protests in the city. They’re again wagering incorrectly.

A few days ago, ostensibly in response to a few recent, sensationalized instances of violence in the subway, Hochul held a press conference announcing a five-point plan “to protect New Yorkers on the subway.” She performed some of her classics: fear mongering about a mild bail reform that’s been rolled back three times already; pushing for more surveillance cameras in the trains; demonizing mentally ill people while feigning concern for them. But she also announced new intensifications of New York City’s police state. Not only will Hochul propose legislation that will allow judges to ban people convicted of a “violent crime” from using public transportation, but she is also sending 750 members of the National Guard and 250 cops from State and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) police into the subway to conduct bag checks near the turnstiles of the city’s busiest subway stops. Adams, in collaboration with Hochul, made his own announcement the day before Hochul’s press conference. In addition to the extra cops in the subway Adams announced in 2022, 1,000 more NYPD cops will now be deployed into the subways.

Hochul and Adams’ announcements were near-repeats of their 2022 press conferences for the multiple versions of their “Subway Safety Plan.” Along with obviously having no effect on mainstream media’s coverage of and people’s perception of crime, those expansions of the police state in the subways had a near-zero effect on the actual crime rate.

Crime in the subway was already at historic lows in 2022, and the deployment of those extra cops corresponded to a mere 2% drop in what police call “major” crimes in the subway while just the overtime for those extra cops cost $155 million for the year. Rather than preventing violence, the extra cops just ended up targeting, arresting, and ticketing a skyrocketing number of Black and Brown people for fare evasion .

Hochul made sure to mention violence against transit workers in her recent announcement, but according to a survey by the Amalgamated Transit Union, the largest labor union representing transit and allied workers in the USA and Canada, 73.6% of assaults on transit workers are caused by fare disputes. Free public transit would literally do more to reduce violence against transit workers than merely throwing more armed agents of the state into the subway ever could.

Hochul and Adams outright admit none of this is based on the facts about crime though. They claim to be concerned with the perception of crime. They want to counter the effects of the crime panic on the public psyche so they can then point to already-low crime rates and take credit for them.

“I’m not here today to talk to you about numbers and tell you stats and statistics about what’s going up or what’s going down,” Hochul proclaimed. “Rattling off statistics, saying things are getting better, doesn’t make you feel better. Especially when you’ve just heard about someone being slashed in the throat or thrown onto a subway tracks. There’s a psychological impact – people worry they could be next. Anxiety takes hold. And riding the subway, which should just simply be part of your everyday life, is filled with stress and trepidation.”

“We know people feel unsafe,” Adams said . “I’m on the subway system and I speak with riders. They say, ‘Eric, nothing makes us feel safer than seeing that officer at the token booth, walking through the system, walking through the trains,’ and that is what we want our officers to do.”

But ignoring facts is precisely why both Hochul and Adams are doing the same thing over and over again. Calling in police and the National Guard can only be justified with lies.

This also applies to their approach to ongoing protests in the city against colonialism, apartheid, and genocide by the state of Israel. Hochul, Adams, and the NYPD all think more cops and more police violence will stop the protests when they all are part of why the protests are even happening to begin with. Both Hochul and Adams are committed Zionists. Hochul even recently defended Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza by claiming that she would wipe out Canada if it were to hypothetically attack Buffalo, New York. Adams once said that he’d like to retire in Israel , specifically in the illegally-occupied Golan Heights. NYPD has close ties with the IDF and Israeli police and even has an outpost in Tel Aviv .

Yet in their attempt to quash the protests entirely, NYPD’s behavior at protests has become steadily more petty, arbitrary, and violent over the past few months. They’re increasingly using any minor law they can think of, from jaywalking to using a megaphone without a permit, as an excuse for violent arrests and as a way to constrict, contain, and suffocate protests.

The cops want  to stop the protests but they can’t. The most recent protests illustrate as much.

Protesters took to the streets on Friday, March 8, International Working Women’s Day, in response to a call from women in Palestine to mobilize as part of a global day of protest against Israel’s ongoing genocidal campaign in Gaza.

The protesters were met with violence and brutal repression courtesy of the NYPD.

Cops pushed, tackled , punched , and injured protesters, legal observers, and copwatchers at marches in Manhattan and Brooklyn, even in the subways and at the jail support outside of 1 Police Plaza, NYPD’s headquarters, where protesters were waiting for the release of their arrested comrades. Cops ended up arresting more than 60 protesters throughout the day.

The week before, protesters went into the subway ,carried out a mass fare evasion, and took trains to Cipriani Wall Street, where Hochul and Adams were speaking at the Citizen Budget Commission’s Annual Gala. Protesters weren’t able to stay in one place too long though before NYPD, particularly the notoriously violent Strategic Response Group, showed up, threatened and shoved protesters with their batons, and chased protesters through the streets. Cops arrested at least half a dozen people (including me ), bloodying one protester’s face and sending another to the hospital.

Despite all of this police violence, the protests won’t stop. And no matter how many cops and soldiers Hochul and Adams put into the subways, local media won’t stop pushing the crime panic anytime soon. They helped stoke the crime panic, and they both support and defend Israeli state violence against Palestinians. They can’t address the root causes because they ARE the root causes. So they’re hoping that more cops are the solution to getting public support for increasing police budgets and for supporting Israel. They’re wrong. Again.

Ashoka Jegroo is a multimedia journalist born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Along with documenting and reporting on protests, police, and the policing of protests, his written work covers state violence against oppressed communities, radical political movements, and the fight against fascism. He has bylines in The Santiago Times, The Appeal, Truthout, Gothamist, Shadowproof, and other outlets.

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