Harlem Reverend Al Sharpton has joined a growing chorus of New Yorkers calling for amendments to the state’s disastrous bail law and other criminal justice reforms.
When it comes to improving public safety, the Reverend has more common sense than the Democratic lawmakers who run Albany.
“There are amendments that can turn these good reforms into great ones by addressing issues like recidivism, giving our district attorneys the tools they need, and helping the thousands of mentally ill New Yorkers forced onto the streets,” Sharpton said Monday.
The reforms initiated by the Legislative Assembly allowed a number of hardened repeat offenders to feel protected from punishment. An upsurge in teenage violence followed the passage of the Raise the Age juvenile reform, as juvenile gangsters seemed to take it as permission to shoot their peers.
Sharpton, who broke down last year: “They lock up my toothpaste.” [at his local pharmacy]notes that this was not the aim of the reforms.
The former hot-tempered street preacher and street activist is an important ally of Mayor Eric Adams in his quest to enlist the help of the Legislature in turning the tide of crime that has swept through the Big Apple.
For all his crusades against police brutality and racism in America, Sharpton never called for the total abolition of the police or the dissolution of police departments. He accuses “latte liberals” of supporting the “defend the police” movement at the expense of minority communities.
The legislature should take note of this, as Sharpton is in full agreement with New Yorkers of all stripes here. A recent poll in Siena showed that 93% of voters of all races consider crime to be a major problem in New York. And about two-thirds said they supported the idea of giving judges more leeway when setting bail for defendants charged with serious crimes.
God knows, we’ve been criticizing Sharpton’s outrageous demagogy for decades, starting with Tavana Brawley and Freddy’s Fashion Mart. Our disagreements have been endless and will probably never end. But we never pretended that he didn’t know what they were talking about on the street.
Progressives beware: if you disagree with Al Sharpton when it comes to securing minority communities (all communities!), you are not really progressive at all.