Frank Abrokwa is the repeat offender who, to the surprise of many, was released after smearing his own feces on the face of a woman waiting at a Bronx subway station. Apparently, nothing on his long rap sheet required bail under New York State’s bail reform laws.
My friend Don expressed outrage at Abrokwa’s revolving door and urged me to write about it. Don is a traditional liberal, much like the Democratic masses in our big cities who vote for law and order.
Not that this reality seeps into the cracks of the right-wing media. They persist in conflating the Democratic Party with a far-left fringe element. So you keep hearing about “the left” angry at efforts to get the homeless and some criminals off the streets. That this anger is directed primarily at Democratic officials should tell the media something. Progressive cities have chosen these leaders, so how important are these fringes?
And it’s not just the law. Politico thrives on putting conflict in every headline, as do supposedly liberal news sources unable to divert their attention from the colorful leftists who amplify their presence by attacking fellow Democrats. There’s a reason Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets so much press while accomplishing so little — other than showing off.
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Back on the streets of the city, in poll after poll, Democrats see crime as the No. 1 problem. And the most important polls — those on Election Day — back it up. Former police captain Eric Adams, the law and order Democrat in the New York City mayoral race, won easily. A recent Marist poll found that 61 percent of registered voters approved of Adams’ performance, while 40 percent of that tough urban audience said he was doing a good or excellent job.
Adams says that as a young black man he was subjected to police brutality. He understands that some people shouldn’t be cops. He also understands that his people need good police. Some of his strongest supporters come from low-income neighborhoods that are most affected by crime. When Adams presents himself as the new “face of the Democratic Party,” he’s not wrong. And so much the better for the Democratic Party.
Other new faces belong to new mayors Bruce Harrell in Seattle and London Breed in San Francisco. Breed supported the expulsion of ridiculously woke school board members who dragged their feet when schools reopened.
Harrell was elected by a wide margin on his promise to remove Seattle’s homeless encampments. It does so, sending residents to shelters and social services.
Which raises the intersection of anarchy and social dysfunction. A Boston University poll found that city leaders across the country were most concerned about deteriorating mental health due to the pandemic.
Story after tabloid story confirms this. The homeless man who pushed an Asian woman onto the tracks in front of a moving New York City subway train had been in and out of prisons and mental hospitals. Many of the apparent hate crimes directed against Asians (and others), if you read, are committed by people with mental illness. The same goes for a variety of bizarre cases, like the “art lover” who stabbed two employees of the Museum of Modern Art.
Calls for the creation of mental health services must be heard. The growing consensus, however, is that social workers can help the police but cannot replace them.
Go ahead and treat the mentally ill, Adams said in a statement after the feces incident. But, he continued, there must be changes in the law regarding those who engage in violence. The law must “keep people who are clearly a danger to others off the streets”.
Don, this one was for you.
Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @FromaHarrop.