Bronx, NY – A Democratic primary candidate for New York’s 16 congressional district called for disarming the police after a Fort Worth, Texas police officer shot an armed woman in her home during a welfare check.
Bronx middle school principal Jamaal Bowman is one of the several candidates challenging incumbent U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-New York) in the voting district that contains parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Bowman has been endorsed by the Justice Democrats, the same progressive group that supported U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) in 2018.
“It’s time to disarm the police... #AtatianaJefferson,” Bowman tweeted on Oct. 14.
Manhattan Institute legal policy expert Rafael Mangual called Bowman’s proposal “nonsensical,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
"The proposal itself is something that I don’t think is to be taken seriously," Mangual said. "This idea that we can disarm police, even in New York, which has now relatively low rates of gun crime, is really nonsensical."
The policy expert highlighted recent research that showed 99.2 percent of arrests involved no use of force, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
When officers had to use force to make an arrest, the research showed 98 percent of the time the person was taken into custody with “no or mild injury.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that there have been 32 police-involved shootings in New York City’s five boroughs since 2015, and only one of the suspects was unarmed, based on statistics in The Washington Post’s database of police uses of fatal force.
"This idea that we are suffering an epidemic of police shootings that are unjustified is nonsensical," Mangual said. "The vast majority of police shootings involve armed suspects that are actively resisting and posing threats to law enforcement."
Bowman isn’t the only Progressive Democrat primary challenger to Engel who wants to disarm the police, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Candidate Andom Ghebreghiorgis, a teacher, has also called for disarming officers.
"As someone who envisions a society free of guns, I support disarming police," Ghebreghiorgis said, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
He claimed arming police "needlessly escalates what should be non-confrontational interactions between community stakeholders."
Yet another candidate to oust Engel called the plan to disarm law enforcement “outrageous and irresponsible,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Candidate Sammy Ravelo, a former police officer with 25 years on the force, said he disagreed strongly with Bowman.
"I believe that the recent call by my opponent to disarm the police is both outrageous and irresponsible," said Ravelo. "The suggestion of disarming our men and women in blue disqualifies Mr. Bowman from seeking to become an elected official."
He also pointed out that in addition to making the job more dangerous for police officers, disarming them would disproportionately impact disenfranchised communities where much of the crime occurs, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
"Disarming the Police will negatively impact poor communities and communities of color where violence is higher due to socio-economic reasons," Ravelo explained.
Incumbent Engel hasn’t weighed in on Bowman’s proposal at all, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Engel hasn’t had a GOP challenger for his seat since 2012, and the Democratic Party hasn’t given him much to worry about in recent years either.
In 2018, he won 74 percent of the vote against three primary opponents, the Washington Free Beacon reported.