AOC Slams Gov. Cuomo's Plan To Add 500 Police Officers Amid Spike In Crime
New York, NY – One day before the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is scheduled to vote on their annual budget, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to scrap plans to add 500 police officer to the transit system.
“Arresting hard-working people who cannot afford a $2.75 fare is, in effect, the criminalization of poverty,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the Dec. 17 letter, the New York Post reported.
The missive, sent to the governor’s office, was co-signed by fellow Bronx U.S. Representative Jose Serrano (D-New York), U.S. Representative Jerold Nadler (D-New York), and Democratic State Senators Michael Gianaris, Luis Sepulveda, and Jessica Ramos, the New York City Patch reported.
“Desperately needed resources would be better invested in subway, bus, maintenance, and service improvements, as well as protecting riders and transit workers from assault rather than in the over-policing of our communities,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
The governor announced his plan to put 500 additional uniformed officers in the New York City transit system in June as part of a plan to increase safety for riders and employees of the subway and bus system, according to a press release issued at the time.
“From 2013 and 2017, assaults reported by New York City Transit workers have increased by 15.2 percent, and lost revenue from fare evasion increased from $105 million in 2015 to $225 million in 2018,” the press release said. “New data released today shows the upward trend is continuing with year to date totals reaching $243 million in the 12-month period ending in March 2019.”
Cuomo’s initiative also included new measures to detect fare evasion with new exit gates and enhanced cameras and monitoring.
"This year we succeeded in making historic reforms to the MTA and provided significant new funding streams that will overhaul the system," the governor said**.** "But the MTA is still plagued by problems of public safety, attacks against transit workers and persistent fare evasion - issues that have only worsened in recent years. This new multi-pronged effort will improve safety on the system overall, protect workers from these incomprehensible assaults, and deter fare evasion by deploying 500 new uniformed officers on our subways and buses.”
But the controversial freshman congresswoman doesn’t think police officers should be enforcing laws in the transit system.
In November, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for an anti-police protest in Brooklyn that saw hundreds blocking streets and jumping turnstiles into the New York subways.
“Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted the day after the chaotic scene. “Arresting people who can’t afford a $2.75 fare makes no one safer and destabilizes our community. New Yorkers know that, they’re not having it, and they’re standing up for each other.”
Protesters were seen in videos on social media helping each other to jump turnstiles to reach the platforms in the stations surrounded by people holding signs that said “No cops, no fares,” FOX News reported.
There were a few incidences of people who chose to pay their subway fare being verbally accosted by protesters for following the law.
Numerous people held up signs that called NYPD “racist” and advocated violence against police, FOX News reported.
Cuomo has stood by his plan to beef up law enforcement in the transit system and blamed the chaotic November protest on “the relationship between the police and the community,” the New York Post reported.
MTA began hiring for the new in-house police force in September.
Ocasio-Cortez’s position on the new police officers mirrors that of anti-police New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
All three of his representatives on the MTA board cited the expansion of the MTA’s police force as the reason they were voting against the budget proposal, the New York Post reported.
“We don’t have, or at least the board has not been apprised, of a strategy for deployment of these [officers],” de Blasio appointee Veronica Vanterpool complained.