Queens Borough President Candidate Anthony Miranda today sharply criticized a joint emergency statement issued by three Queens lawmakers warning of a potential “Loot-Out” in Queens that asked community members to band together to protect their community, and work to limit police presence.
“If these politicians believe the information credible enough to alarm the community, they should be working with our local police precincts to ensure an adequate police response,” he said.
Jackson Heights electeds including Sen. Jessica Ramos, Councilmember Francisco Moya, and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz issued the emergency joint statement on Thursday evening. In it they warned their constituents of a potential “Loot-Out” scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight in Jackson Heights and nearby neighborhoods.
Ramos, Moya and Cruz did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
In the warning to their constituents they wrote that they support the peaceful protests of recent days against the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and pushing for police reform in New York City but that they are against any act of violence such as looting.
“Our community has been ravaged by COVID and the threat of further destruction is absolutely heartbreaking,” they wrote “We cannot allow a lack of city resources or counterproductive protesters to take away their only means of survival.”
They did not specify where the looting might take place but said the stores in the area are mostly immigrant owned mom and pop shops that have suffered from the ongoing COVID-19.
“As a community, we must look out for each other and deter any additional police presence which has traditionally provoked more fear than provide peace of mind,” they wrote. “Now is the time to stand in solidarity and protect each other.”
Miranda, a former NYPD officer who worked to reform the police department internally as a member of the organization 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and whose continued to devote his time to police reform since retiring, said the statement was “reckless” and “irresponsible.”
“What is it that you want the public and our shop owners to do in the face of violent looters?” Miranda said.
He said that it is good to inform the public of the possible danger but that it is dangerous to join the rallying cry to defunding the NYPD when there’s a risk of riots and looting. Instead, Miranda said they should work with the NYPD and call on to New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to protect Queens. He said he would be encouraging the community to call 911 if they see anything and encouraging the NYPD to keep the community safe.
“We need our police to protect our community and respect our community,” he said.