Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bill Bratton got into a Twitter war of words over the NYPD’s role in helping the homeless, in response to a viral tweet from the former police commissioner showing people sleeping aboard a subway train.
“You know why NY’s ‘recovery’ isn’t happening?” Bratton wrote along with the photo of several people who appear to homeless sleeping aboard an E train in Midtown early Wednesday.
“Why should working people & tourists be subjected to this? How’s it fair to those who need services? Imagine the cops’ frustration with no support to deal with it!” he said.
Bratton, who served two stints as the top cop, under Rudy Giuliani and Mayor de Blasio, blamed city and state leaders for policies that led to similar scenes across the Big Apple.
“The new Mayor & Police Commissioner have their work cut out for them trying to fix this mess our political leadership & DAs have created by tying the hands of the NYPD,” Bratton said.
“We fixed this 30 years ago when Eric Adams was a Transit cop. It’s going to be a lot more difficult in 2022,” he added.
The comments from the former commish drew the ire of many progressives, including Ocasio-Cortez, who suggested shifting city funds away from the NYPD to help solve the crisis.
“It’s not policing’s job or purpose to address housing, provide healthcare or counseling, or solve the reasons people sleep on the subway,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“Maybe if we shifted some of that $11B/year spent on robo dogs to housing services we could get somewhere.”
The Bronx-Queens congresswoman was referencing a now-defunct NYPD pilot program that aimed to deploy robotic dogs in dangerous situations. The program cost only $94,000, while the entire NYPD budget amounted to $9.9 billion in fiscal year 2021.
But AOC said the real issue is addressing why the homeless are ending up on subways, not why “working people” have to deal with them on their commutes.
“Why should THESE folks be subjected to unnecessary homelessness in one of the richest cities in the world where 1000s of apartments are vacant?” she wrote.
She called out lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for simplifying the issue “into some non-evidence based electoral boogey monster.”
“Nobody wants to live with these conditions, yet nobody wants to challenge the systems and decisions creating them,” Ocasio-Cortez said.