Robert Gangi, a genial gent, recently announced he’s running for mayor. With his joining Bo Deitl, Paul Massey and Sal Albanese, we now run the ideological gamut of fringe candidates.
Ex-cop Deitl, a favorite of Fox News until a year ago, is a spawn of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly — journalistically, that is. Massey is a big-bucks Queens realtor lacking name recognition. Albanese is a former city councilman and two-time mayoral loser.
Then there is Gangi, an anti-de Blasio activist reformer who sets his candidacy apart from the other three by his outspokenness about the NYPD’s policies. He faults the NYPD for continuing stop-and-frisk and broken-windows policing — attacking minor crimes to prevent major ones — which he says discriminate against blacks and Hispanics. His view of the NYPD reflects the narrative of much of the mainstream media that has gained currency over the past two years after the deaths by police of black Americans Freddie Gray in Baltimore; Laquan McDonald in Chicago; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; and Eric Garner in Staten Island.
Gray’s death led to riots in Baltimore; McDonald’s to a political upheaval in Chicago. Police in both cities reportedly “disengaged,” as FBI Director James Comey has suggested, and spikes in homicides followed. New York, following Garner’s death, experienced only hints of disengagement and crime has continued to fall.
Although he ran on an anti-police platform, the NYPD has become the centerpiece of de Blasio’s success as mayor. Stop-and-frisks and arrests for minor crimes have dropped. The city’s crime declines continue a trend that began in 1994 with former Commissioner Bill Bratton’s broken-windows policing. Then, homicides neared 2,000 a year. In 2016, it was 335.
Bratton’s successor, James O’Neill, is attempting to re-engage with the city’s minority communities by restoring what was known under former commissioners Ben Ward and Ray Kelly in his first term as “community policing.”
The NYPD is no longer one of all Irish and Italians cops. Despite Gangi’s claims that its policies are racist, the number of Hispanic cops in the department is approaching 30 per cent. This so-called minority may soon become the NYPD’s majority.