Mayor Eric Adams and top police brass championed Labor Day weekend as one of the safest in history on Tuesday through large-scale firearm confiscations, while also defending the controversial use of drones despite a spate of violence that put a blemish on the celebrations.
Top cop Edward Caban and Mayor Adams joined NYPD executives at police headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 5 to promote the holiday weekend as a rousing success for law enforcement.
“This is one of the safest J’Ouvert celebrations and Labor Day weekend as we have seen in recent memories and probably the safest J’Ouvert celebration in history,” Mayor Adams charged, equating the outcome to the use of drones. “It costs $1700 to fill up a helicopter, it costs 17 cents to fly a drone.”
Still, Hizzoner has been sharply criticized for the deployment of drones over the holiday festivities with the New York City Democratic Socialists alleging that flying the machines will be used to primarily monitor Black and Brown communities and going as far as to call the move “an outrageous and illegal violation of New Yorkers’ right to privacy.”
Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry fired back at these claims, stating that the devices were not used to track barbecues as previously reported and they do not contain facial recognition technology. Daughtry likewise stated that when bullets started flying on 1187 Eastern Parkway at around 5:21 p.m. along the parade route, he was able to get a drone above the scene within 25 seconds. Daughtry called the drones a tool that helps cops discern where they need additional resources while also helping to prevent retaliation.
Although the police honchos touted the weekend’s accomplishments, four shooting incidents occurred in Brooklyn on Monday, three of which took place close to the parade route. These acts of violence transpired in spite of some 13 entry checkpoints being set up around the route. Still, Chief of Patrol John Chell echoed the sentiments that the weekend was a successful one.
Since the celebrations began on Thursday more than 70 illegal guns were taken off the streets with at least one being a ghost gun. On Monday alone 34 people were arrested while 30 guns were removed from the vicinity of the parade route.
“Those are 30-plus victims in our eyes,” Chell said. “At 30 years on this job—I was a J’Ouvert sergeant back in 2001–compared to J’Ouvert’s of the past, so what we are talking about now: night and day.”
Police officials also stated that there have been 245 fewer shootings this year when compared to the same time last year while the amount of guns being confiscated are at a rate not seen since 1996.
“This is a huge undertaking, and there isn’t another law enforcement agency anywhere that could do what the NYPD did this past weekend,” Police Commissioner Caban said.