Bring Law and Order Back to the City: NYC Community Council President

Bring Law and Order Back to the City: NYC Community Council President
Donald West, president of the 7th Precinct Community Council in New York City. (Courtesy of Donald West)
Mary Hong

A New York City Community Council president is reaching out to presidents and vice presidents of the Community Councils in the five boroughs, uniting the power of the people and calling out to progressive politicians to bring law and order back to the city.

"I believe most New Yorkers believe in law and order," Donald West told The Epoch Times on Monday.

Mr. West has lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for more than half a century and has served as president of the Community Council in the 7th Precinct for nearly 30 years.

Recalling the Union Square Park riot in early August, Mr. West believes it’s time to speak out in favor of law and order.

On Aug. 4, live streamer and YouTuber Kai Cenat announced that he would distribute free computers and play stations in Union Square.

An estimated 3,000 young people flooded the park for the event. Unfortunately, it soon escalated into a riot, and the uncontrolled crowd started fighting and vandalizing vehicles on the curb. Photos and videos of the chaotic scene were highly visible on social media platforms.

The Police Department responded with a level 4 alert, the highest since 9/11, and deployed thousands of police officers, some equipped with pepper spray, batons, and riot gear, to disperse the large and out-of-control crowd.

Mr. Cenat did not have a permit issued by the Police Department for the assembly in Union Square. Several police officers were attacked by mobs during the law enforcement.

Jeffrey Maddrey, chief of the Police Department, said at a briefing to the media: ”We have encountered things like this before, but never to this level of dangerousness where young people would not listen to our commands. They were fighting each other, they were hurting each other, they were turning our attacks on us. We had to defend ourselves and we had to make arrests.”
 An NYPD police officer works with a group of mentees. (Courtesy of BBBS of NYC)
An NYPD police officer works with a group of mentees. (Courtesy of BBBS of NYC)
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said in a statement: "The individuals who created this dangerous situation and who attacked and injured New York City police officers need to be identified, held accountable, and subjected to serious consequences. That hasn't happened in the past. It absolutely must happen this time."

According to Mr. West, there were several officers injured in the riot. Some could not have returned to work due to the injuries.

"There is no reason for someone to take a construction barrel and throw it at a police officer and hit him in the head. That person intentionally tried to hit police officers needs to be identified and brought to justice,” Mr. West said.

In addition to the riots in Union Square, Mr. West also pointed out from his experience of living in Lower Manhattan for more than 50 years that there are now bike riders in the area who often ignore traffic signs, lane regulations, and more and more people are riding bicycles on the sidewalk, as well as unlicensed motorcycles.

"If they hit someone who doesn't have insurance, who's going to pay for the doctor, ambulance, and hospital bills?

"I would like to speak to the presidents and vice presidents of Community Councils of five boroughs, but it will take time to unite because there are lots of precincts," Mr. West told The Epoch Times.

In the past three to four months, Mr. West has contacted presidents and vice presidents of five boroughs, hoping to explain to them the current law and order situation to support the law enforcement powers that the police should have, and further demand that New York elected officials let the police enforce the law as written.

“It’s not about giving them more power, it’s to enforce the law already on the books," Mr. West said, "The police need more manpower and they need more tools."

At present, several Community Council presidents and vice presidents from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens have responded to his request. Mr. West plans to hold virtual conferences with the local leaders on the aforementioned issues and invite elected officials on board for NYPD.

This February, multiple media such as the New York Times reported the Progressive Caucus' Statement of Principles on defunding police, "We will do everything we can to reduce the size and scope of the NYPD and the Department of Correction," read the statement.

The bylaw caused a serious downsizing of the Progressive Caucus which saw 15 members jumping ship, and only 20 remained.

Democrat Councilmembers Christopher Marte (District 1) and Carlina Rivera (District 2) remain as members of the Progressive Caucus, and both of their districts cover the 7th precinct in lower Manhattan.

"If the article on (the) New York Times was correct, then we should vote these people out of the office," Mr. West said.

In an early March meeting of the Community Council in the 7th Precinct, Mr. West also expressed his opposition to the idea of defunding police.

Yichun Lin contributed to this report.
Mary Hong has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2020. She has reported on Chinese human rights issues and politics.