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Mayor hopefuls spar over policing after Times Square shooting

New York: The shocking shooting of three people in Times Square prompted the city’s mayoral hopefuls to weigh in on controversial police reform on Sunday, with the front-runners in the race denouncing the movement to defund police and sparring over whose crimefighting proposals are the strongest.

Stray bullets struck two women and a 4-year-old girl on Saturday at the popular tourist destination when an argument escalated into gunfire among several men,

“New York City cannot afford to defund the police,” Yang said.”When I talk to New Yorkers, I get a very different message every single day.”

Yang’s remarks were his strongest to date in support of the NYPD. They came amid calls from some of his rivals to cut billions of dollars from the Police Department budget, a position inspired by last year’s protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

 Eric Adams criticized Yang’s response to violence when it struck close to home.

“You know what, Andrew? These shootings have been happening blocks from my house for years and blocks from the houses of poorer New Yorkers for years,” said Adams, a former NYPD captain campaigning as a “working-class” candidate.

As of last Sunday, the city had 132 homicides, according to the NYPD, up 17% from 113 during the same time frame last year. Shootings have surged, with 463 victims as of last Sunday, a spike of 79% from last year.

A new poll last week showed Adams moving ahead of Yang, a businessman who gained national prominence during his unsuccessful 2020 run for president, to take the lead in the race for the first time.

Adams has promised to reconstitute the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime unit — shut down after years of criticism for its aggressive tactics — with a focus on finding shooters and illegal guns. He has proposed better police training, too.

Progressive candidates Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley have proposed massive NYPD budget cuts — Morales wants a $3 billion reduction, while Wiley is calling for a $1 billion trim.

They each have said the funds would be better spent on services to communities.

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International USA

Both parties converging on need for police reform in US

Washington: There have been anti-racism protests in America before also, and not progress was made. But this time seems to be different. Two weeks of protests, over George Floyd’s custodial death, from coast to coast against police brutality and racism have produced a wave of change in public opinion on police reform. In Washington DC and in cities and states across the country, political leaders of all hues are beginning to listen.

Republican officials in red states like Texas, purple states like Wisconsin, and lawmakers in Washington are scrambling to appear responsive to the groundswell calling for change, says CNN in an analysis.

On Monday, Democrats unveiled a sweeping police reform bill in response to protests. And by Tuesday, congressional Republicans in the House and Senate said they planned to introduce their own reform proposals. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has said publicly that he would be open to supporting some provisions in the Democrats’ bill including linking police training to federal funds, making it easier to remove officers who are accused of misconduct, and a provision to prevent officers from moving from city to city in an effort to escape past misconduct allegations.

“I want to work and see that we get law. This is a moment in time,” McCarthy told the Los Angeles Times. “This is the moment where we ought to find where we can come together on.”

The lone African American Senate Republican, Tim Scott of South Carolina, presented ideas on police reform to Republicans during their lunch on Tuesday. In the House, a GOP aide said Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, would be releasing their own proposal this week.

In Texas, where Floyd grew up, that state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott appeared to go further. Speaking to reporters outside of Floyd’s memorial in Houston, Abbott directly linked reform to the issue of racism.

Democrats have long pushed for police reforms and have opposed the increased militarization of local police departments — especially after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown in 2014.

But some activists, disillusioned by some of the reforms that have been made since then that have not slowed the rate of killings of unarmed people at the hands of police, are now pushing for more extreme changes.

The “defund” and “abolish” police movements represent some of the most dramatic proposals being put forward at the grassroots level. In Minneapolis, the city council pledged in a veto-proof vote that they would seek to defund that city’s police department following Floyd’s death.

Yet most Democrats at the national level, including former Vice President Joe Biden have said they do not support defunding the police.

President Trump has focused on a “law and order” message and he and his party have seized on the defund police movement, seeking to tie national Democrats to the proposal. Yet, going forward, even the White House  is reportedly working on its own executive and legislative acts to deal with the issue. Trump is still not agreeable to addressing the nation on race.

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