Trump vows to track down 'anarchists' who vandalized Washington statue

Trump vows to track down and jail for ten years two masked ‘anarchists’ filmed throwing red paint on NYC’s George Washington statue in Washington Square Park – as police union says de Blasio is ‘surrendering the city to lawless’

  • The monument at Washington Square Park was defaced on Monday by vandals who threw red paint at it 
  • President Trump tweeted that it had been defaced by ‘anarchists’ who would be ‘tracked down’ 
  • Downtown, hundreds gathered outside City Hall for an #OccupyCityHall protest ahead of the budget vote
  • They say they will not move until the city council strips at least $1billion from the NYPD budget 
  • They are calling for the NYPD to be defunded; the new budget, expected on Tuesday, strips it of $1billion 
  • The cut accounts for more than 16% of the force’s $6billion annual budget but some say it’s not enough 
  • It involves a class of 1,163 recruits who were due to graduate in July not being given jobs yet
  • The city has a $9billion deficit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which slashed tax revenues  
  • NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea says the $1bn cut is a ‘punitive’ reaction to the BLM protests 
  • Unions say Mayor de Blasio is ‘surrendering the city to lawlessness’ and putting New Yorkers at risk 
  • Crime is spiking in New York City with shootings and burglaries on the rise 

President Donald Trump has vowed to track down the ‘anarchists’ who tossed paint on the George Washington statue in New York’s Washington Square Park on Monday as video footage of the masked suspects emerged.    

‘We are tracking down the two Anarchists who threw paint on the magnificent George Washington Statue in Manhattan. We have them on tape. 

‘They will be prosecuted and face 10 years in Prison based on the Monuments and Statues Act. Turn yourselves in now!’ Trump tweeted. 

The NYPD released surveillance footage of the two vandals on Monday. 

They were filmed at 3.20am tossing paint balloons on the statute while one of their friends watched nearby on a CitiBike. 

At City Hall, protesters who have set up an Occupy City Hall camp clashed with police on Tuesday morning. 

The protesters have been there now for a week and are refusing to leave until the NYPD budget is cut by at least $1billion – something that is likely to happen on Tuesday. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has reached an agreement with the city council that divests $1billion from the NYPD and cancels the hiring of 1,163 cops. 

Some say it is a step in the right direction and that the police force – like others across the country – needs to be stripped of its power and resources to combat systemic racism and excessive use of force. 

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The two suspects who threw paint on the Washington statue in Washington Square Park are now being hunted by police 

The vandals were filmed with one other person who was wheeling a Citi Bike – which is digitally tracked – through the park at 3.20am on Monday 

Defaced: A statue of George Washington is covered in red paint after being vandalized in Washington Square Park in the early hours of Monday. America’s first president owned more than 100 slaves, making him a target of recent anti-racism protests

Target: The arch at Washington Square Park has two statues of the nation’s first president, which were targeted by vandals throwing balloons in the early hours of yesterday morning 

Clean-up: A member of the New York City Monuments and Conservation department power-washes the statue of Washington yesterday after it was vandalized 

However others say it’s not enough of a hit to the mammoth force which enjoys a $6billion yearly budget. They want more money to be taken away, and say that much of De Blasio’s plan amounts to ‘gimmicks’. 

But others – namely the NYPD Commissioner and Police Benevolent Association, say the need for a strong and bolstered police force is greater now then ever before, amid bubbling tensions across the city and nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Combined with de Blasio’s lenient bail reform that puts more criminals on the street than before, and a court system that has been back-logged for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they say crime is inevitably on the rise and that slashing the budget is not necessarily the right move. 

City Hall hall has been vandalized with graffiti calling for the police department to be defunded on Tuesday morning. Other complaints were about rent 

Graffiti at City Hall on Tuesday morning. Protesters have been there for a week now demanding the defunding of the NYPD. The vandals spray painted pigs and ‘FTP’ onto the building

8474921 Protesters clash with cops ahead of NYC budget vote that will strip $1billion from the NYPD – as police unions say de Blasio has ‘surrendered to lawlessness’ 

Officers on Tuesday morning clashing with protesters outside City Hall as they tried to protect a barricade 

NYPD COMMISSIONER SAYS CUTS ARE ‘PUNITIVE’

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Tuesday that he understood every department must face cuts but that the decision had also been heavily influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement and that it was ‘punitive’. 

He insisted that his officers ‘are not going to allow mob rule  

‘We’re all going to have to make cuts, we understand that, when you look at the fiscal crisis with COVID.

‘What concerns me is cuts that have to be made because of tough fiscal decisions vs cuts that could appear to be punitive. We’ll review all the numbers… it’s concern. It’s going to impact our ability, I believe, to keep New Yorker’s safe in some way, shape or form. But we’re also managers and it’s my job to make the most of the resources that we do have.

‘I don’t think anyone listening thinks that this is the climate right now doesn’t have an impact on what’s going on with the budget. I think that’s self-evident. It’s my job to make sure it doesn’t but we have to also take a look at what’s going on, cutting head count at a time of rising crime is going to be an extreme challenge for the men and women of this department,’ he said. 

Commissioner Shea went on to say that slashing the budget would harm communities of color the most because that is where there is most violence.  

‘It’s going to impact our patrol strength, our training, and it’s probably going to impact people of color more than anyone else. We know where the violence occurs in this city,’ 

‘My job is to make sure we are as efficient as possible, we’re doing everything can to keep New Yorkers safe… we’re going to have to be creative,’ he said. 

Over the last week, there has been a ‘significant uptick’ in crime across the city. 

Shea said it was down to a combination of bail reform and a back-logged court system. 

He questioned why the courts still weren’t operating because of COVID when thousands were being encouraged to protest peacefully against the police. 

There are also ongoing complaints that the NYPD is not cracking down on low-level crime like people breaching social distancing rules while dining outdoors, drinking in the street or being generally anti-social. 

Across the city residents have been terrorized for nights on end by illegal fireworks being set off through the night, seemingly with little intervention from the cops. 

The city’s income took a $9billion hit when businesses shuttered at the start of the pandemic and now many remain closed. Traffic levels in the city aren’t predicted to return to their 2019 normal until November. 

Restaurant and retail traffic in New York City is currently 43.6 percent of the 2019 normal, whereas national traffic is at 53.2 percent of normal. Foot traffic from late-May to late-June in New York City increased roughly 18.3 percent, compared to the national increase of 27.7 percent, according to Zenreach data.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Tuesday that he understood every department must face cuts but that the decision had also been heavily influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement and that it was ‘punitive’. 

He insisted that his officers ‘are not going to allow mob rule  

‘We’re all going to have to make cuts, we understand that, when you look at the fiscal crisis with COVID.

‘What concerns me is cuts that have to be made because of tough fiscal decisions vs cuts that could appear to be punitive. 

‘We’ll review all the numbers… it’s concern. It’s going to impact our ability, I believe, to keep New Yorkers safe in some way, shape or form. 

‘But we’re also managers and it’s my job to make the most of the resources that we do have.

‘I don’t think anyone listening thinks that this is the climate right now doesn’t have an impact on what’s going on with the budget.

‘I think that’s self-evident. 

‘It’s my job to make sure it doesn’t but we have to also take a look at what’s going on, cutting head count at a time of rising crime is going to be an extreme challenge for the men and women of this department,’ he said. 

Commissioner Shea went on to say that slashing the budget would harm communities of color the most because that is where there is most violence.  

‘It’s going to impact our patrol strength, our training, and it’s probably going to impact people of color more than anyone else.

‘We know where the violence occurs in this city,’ 

‘My job is to make sure we are as efficient as possible, we’re doing everything can to keep New Yorkers safe… we’re going to have to be creative,’ he said. 

Over the last week, there has been a ‘significant uptick’ in crime across the city. 

Shea said it was down to a combination of bail reform and a back-logged court system. 

He questioned why the courts still weren’t operating because of COVID when thousands were being encouraged to protest peacefully against the police. 

Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the PBA, said: ‘Mayor de Basio’s message to New Yorkers today was clear: you will have fewer cops on your streets. 

‘Shootings more than doubled again last week. 

‘Even right now, the NYPD doesn’t have enough staffing to shift from one neighborhood without making another neighborhood less safe.

‘We will say it again: the Mayor and the City Council have surrendered the city to lawlessness. Things won’t improve until New Yorkers hold them responsible.’ 

De Blasio defended the budget and said it would be down to good leadership from police bosses to keep people safe.  

Demonstrators from the ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ demonstrate in front of the New York Criminal Courts building to protest the police department and in support of “Black Lives Matter” on June 30, 2020, in New York City

Court security guards talk with protesters outside City Hall on Tuesday  

Many of the protesters have been there all week

A huge crowd of protesters outside City Hall on Wednesday morning. Some have been there for days as part of a #OccupyCityHall protest 

Protesters outside City Hall in Manhattan on Tuesday demanding that the police department be defunded 

Protesters meditating at the Occupy City Hall site on Tuesday morning ahead of the city council vote 

The Brooklyn Bridge City Hall subway station has now been covered in protest signs calling for the NYPD to be abolished 

People at the NYC ‘Abolition Park’ outside City Hall on Tuesday 

Protesters shelter under tents and umbrellas during their standing protest in New York City yesterday where demonstrators are demanding cuts to police funding 

The protesters have declared an ‘autonomous zone’ and a ‘no-cop zone’ in an echo of the ongoing ‘occupation’ in Seattle 

A group of protesters make their way to the Occupy City Hall ‘autonomous zone’ in New York City on Monday night

He said his focus was on helping young people. 

‘Our young people have experienced something we would never have wished on them. We need to uphold them and help them through this moment in history. 

CRIME SPIKING IN NYC 

– 38 murders over the last 28 days, twice as much as the same period last year 

– 159 murders, 25% higher than last year

– 394 shootings this year, a 24% increase last year

 – 1,691 burglaries last month compared to 759 last year

– Burglaries up by 47% since start of the year compared to last year 

– Grand larceny up by 60% (3,078 incidents happening this year, up from 1,893 at this point last year) 

‘They’re going to inherit this city… our young people need to be reached. Not policed. We need to figure out how to nurture and support them,’ he said. 

At City Hall, the group of protesters have been there for a week. 

‘We’ve done different levels of escalation to make sure we’re getting their attention,’ said Jonathan Lykes, one of the movement’s organizers.

‘If they defund the police by $1 billion then we have won – but that’s only our demand this week.’ 

At the protest a makeshift ‘People’s Library,’ assembled under a tent, promotes ‘radical literature’ while a nearby ‘bodega’ features free donated food and protective gear to protesters.  

Speakers announced ‘de-arrest training’ sessions and reinforced the expectation that residents of the space look after one another.

‘We want racial injustice to end, and the means is that we stay here right now in this space,’ said Manny, who addressed the crowd but declined to give his last name. 

‘It’s very clear that people want to stay past Tuesday and that people want to see police and prison abolition.’

Gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned in New York City because of the coronavirus, but those rules have been ignored by protesters for weeks and police have not moved to enforce them. 

NYPD CUTS  AND WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING

$1billion stripped from NYPD 

 – Overtime 

–  July police academy

–  Contracts and non-personnel expenses

Where it’s going; 

$116m education

$115m summer youth programming

$143m family and social services

$450million for NYCHA and Parks and youth recreation centers 

$97m on NYCHA Broadband expansion 

Lykes said the occupation has made the NYPD ‘nervous,’ recalling a string of minor confrontations that were resolved without arrests. He differentiated the peaceful assembly in Lower Manhattan from a weeks-old occupation in Seattle that has seen episodes of violence.

‘We have an uprising and one of the largest we’ve seen since the death of Martin Luther King,’ he said. 

‘These are the worst of times but the best of times as far as an opportunity to change.’ 

The idea of slashing the NYPD’s budget, now around $6 billion annually for operations, seemed politically laughable even a year ago with memories of 9/11 and the high-crime decades of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s still fresh.  

Last weekend alone, as many as eleven people were shot in a period of less than 12 hours across Saturday night and into Sunday morning, in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Murder is also up 25 percent in the city in comparison to this time last year. 

Earlier this week, several officials warned that any drastic cuts to the NYPD would set the city back 30 years in its efforts to control crime – jeopardizing public safety in a negative impact that ‘would be felt in every neighborhood citywide,’ a law enforcement source told the Daily News.

‘A $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s operating budget would set the city back three decades and severely compromise the significant progress the NYPD has made in keeping crime at historic lows and New Yorkers safe.’

A series of slogans are displayed at the Occupy City Hall protest, including more than one demand to ‘defund the NYPD’ 

Protesters display a series of slogans including Black Lives Matter and ‘abolish the police’ at the Occupy City Hall protest 

That view is one shared by Bruce Backman, a New York-based research consultant and member of the Re-Open New York coalition, who told DailyMail.com the city is balancing on the precipice of disaster – leaving it just ‘two years away from becoming like Detroit’.

‘The city of New York has never been worse than it has been in the last three months and it’s getting worse by the day,’ Backman said. ‘It’s not just coronavirus, its riots, looting, murders, fireworks and burglaries.’

‘Once they know New York is on the run, this will incur more crime,’ Backman continued. ‘Go into any of the poorer neighborhoods of New York and ask those who live there if they want less law enforcement on the street.

‘I’m pretty sure the answer is not what the mayor thinks it is,’ he said. ‘This is not the time to decrease funding, this is bad public policy.’ 

Owner of American Home Hardware and More, Felix Atlasman, echoed Backman’s sentiments in an interview with DailyMail.com Monday. 

Atlasman detailed how his neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen has been plagued by a dangerous crime spree in recent weeks. 

Amid suggestions New York City could be heading back to its crime ridden days of the 1980s, Atlasman insisted ‘we’re already back there’.

‘My best selling item used to be light bulbs, now it’s pepper spray,’ said Atlasman, who opened the hardware store in 1955. 

‘When I call the police they arrive two hours later and then ask me which way [the shoplifter] went.’ 

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