In June, New York City First Lady Charlaine McCray told Time magazine that an NYPD-free New York “would be like a nirvana, a utopia.” She should try telling that to the grieving family of Shatavia Walls, 33, of Brooklyn.
On July 4, Walls attempted to settle a dispute neighbor-to-neighbor rather than risk more police brutality, the New York Post reports. Irritated by a group of delinquents setting off fireworks in a playground where young children played just feet away, Walls decided to broker the peace DIY-fashion. A “scuffle” ensued, ultimately ending with Walls sprawled on the ground riddled with bullets.
According to Walls’s mother, Helen Testagros, whom she was visiting when she was killed, her daughter had seen Brooklyn Borough Pres. Eric Adams on the local TV news, effectively urging New Yorkers to take the law into their own hands.
Amid increasing complaints of illegal fireworks detonations, Adams on June 21 said people should talk to their neighbors about the “nonviolent act,” rather than call the authorities and risk a “heavy-handed” police response.
“It’s not a good idea” to play cop, Testagros told the Post. “You don’t know who you are approaching. These kids are not respectful anymore. … They’re more ruthless.”
Shatavia Walls’s senseless death likely won’t be the last. Around the time Eric Adams was advising Brooklynites to settle disputes in a neighborly fashion, Mayor Bill de Blasio was busy disbanding the NYPD’s plainclothes anti-crime unit. Shootings surged. The weekend before last the city witnessed a record 15 shootings in 15-hour span.