AOC confronts Bill Bratton after ex-top cop blasts NYC subway homeless problem


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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded Thursday after William Bratton – a former top cop in New York City, Los Angeles and Boston – suggested that the Big Apple’s Democratic leadership was to blame for a “mess” of homelessness on city subway trains.

In a viral Twitter post Wednesday, Bratton claimed that Democrats’ failure to address the homelessness problem was unfair to everyone – to subway riders heading to work every day, to police officers who were expected to handle problems, and to the homeless people themselves who weren’t receiving the help they need.

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“You know why NY’s ‘recovery’ isn’t happening?” Bratton wrote. “This photo today on the E Train at 6:45 am at 42nd & 8th says it all.”

The photo showed a number of bedraggled subway riders in various states of consciousness, with some sprawled out on the seats.

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“Why should working people & tourists be subjected to this?” Bratton continued. “How’s it fair to those who need services? Imagine the cops’ frustration with no support to deal with it!”

“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!”

— William Bratton, former New York City police commissioner

William Bratton speaks at New York City police headquarters, Jan. 12, 2015.

William Bratton speaks at New York City police headquarters, Jan. 12, 2015.
(Associated Press)

In a subsequent post, Bratton claimed that New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, and his recently named Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell “have their work cut out for them trying to fix this mess” that Bratton suggested was being left at their feet by termed-out Mayor Bill de Blasio and others in the city’s current leadership.

Eric Adams, a former New York City police captain, will become mayor in January after being elected in November. (Associated Press)

Eric Adams, a former New York City police captain, will become mayor in January after being elected in November. (Associated Press)

“We fixed this 30 years ago when Eric Adams was a Transit cop,” Bratton said, referring to his first stint as NYPD commissioner in the 1990s.

“It’s going to be a lot more difficult in 2022,” added Bratton, who has gone on to become a homeland security adviser to three presidents.

‘Like furniture or animals’

In her reaction Thursday afternoon, Ocasio-Cortez – whose congressional district includes parts of the New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx – accused Bratton of “talking about ppl like furniture or animals when his job ostensibly was to protect them too.”

“I truly will never adjust to how normal it is in our country to completely dehumanize people once they fall below a certain income,” the congresswoman wrote.

“I truly will never adjust to how normal it is in our country to completely dehumanize people once they fall below a certain income.”

— U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

In an earlier post, the Democrat claimed that misplaced budget priorities were partly to blame for the problems that Bratton identified.

She framed her Twitter message as a vote of sympathy for the city’s police officers.

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“Of course they’re frustrated,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “It’s not policing’s job or purpose to address housing, provide healthcare or counseling, or solve the reasons people sleep on the subway.

“Maybe if we shifted some of that $11B/year spent on robo dogs to housing services we could get somewhere.”

“Maybe if we shifted some of that $11B/year spent on robo dogs to housing services we could get somewhere.”

— U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

The $11 billion figure Ocasio-Cortez cited refers to the entire New York City police budget, not to the cost of robot dogs. In April, New York City ended a $94,000 contract to lease a police robot dog following public outcry that one city counterterrorism official claimed was misguided.

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In other posts, Ocasio-Cortez accused both Democrats and Republicans of melding problems like homelessness into “some non-evidence based electoral boogey monster” that neither party was addressing head-on.

“Nobody wants to live with these conditions, yet nobody wants to challenge the systems and decisions creating them,” she wrote. “Don’t complain if you want more of the same $.”



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