Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told “Your World” on Monday that he attributes the recent violence in the city and the increase in officers retiring from the police department to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I put this all out at the feet of Mayor de Blasio,” Kelly told host Neil Cavuto on Monday.
“He sapped the strength of the NYPD since he took office in 2014,” he added.
Kelly made the comments the day after NYPD officers, responding to a report of shots fired in Manhattan, were met with a large crowd throwing bottles and debris at them.
The New York City Police Benevolent Association shared a video that showed the crowd shouting and throwing multiple glass bottles at a police cruiser. The incident occurred when officers attempted to disperse the group of nearly 500 people in the neighborhood of Harlem.
“This is what a ‘light touch’ looks like: Police officers responding to a shots fired job in Harlem last night were met with this,” the city’s largest police union tweeted, referencing comments de Blasio during George Floyd protests last month.
The Harlem incident came amid an increase in violence in New York City. From last Monday to midnight on Sunday, there were 63 shootings and 85 victims shot, the New York Post reported. Shootings have more than doubled compared to the same time last year.
“We have some serious issues in New York City, no question about it,” Kelly said on Monday. “Shootings, murders, assaults [are] going through the roof.”
He added that “disorderly groups” are also posing problems “all over the city,” with the groups “challenging the police, goading them [and] looking to take them on.”
“The police understandably are backing off because those are the instructions that they have,” Kelly continued.
“About two weeks ago the mayor took away one of the most valuable tools in fighting street crime and that is [the] elimination of police officers and [sent] a signal to the criminal community that the NYPD or the city is surrendering as far as violent crime is concerned.”
He then pointed out that “retirements are way up [and are] going through the roof.”
The NYPD told Fox News on Saturday that 272 officers had filed for retirement between Floyd’s death on May 25 and June 23. That represents a 49 percent increase over the same period in 2019.
“There is no support from the political class here in New York City,” Kelly told Cavuto.
Earlier this month, New York City Council leaders issued a joint statement declaring their intent to back proposals slashing $1 billion from the NYPD budget.
The NYPD has a proposed budget of $6 billion, which de Blasio has pledged to cut in response to citywide protests — after initially backing the department.
The loss of $1 billion in funding would limit the scope and function of the police, but the City Council believes it shows a clear commitment towards reform.
Kelly pointed out on Monday that the defunding of the NYPD by $1 billion “apparently is going to take place.”
“It only means that the police force has to be reduced in some way, shape, or form because 90 percent of the police budget is for personnel,” he explained. “Who does that hurt? It hurts people in the poorest communities. They are the ones that need the police the most.”
He went on to say that he has attended “countless community meetings” and “no one has ever asked for fewer police.”
“They may not love the police, but they want them and they know that they need them,” Kelly said.
He added that “this crime wave” sends “an important message.”
“It says that New York is no longer going to be the safest big city in America, it simply can’t be,” Kelly said. “You’re going to see increases in violence and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel that I am aware of.”
Sources confirmed to Fox News earlier this month that text messages circulating throughout the NYPD are calling for members to “strike” on July 4 in protest of anti-police rhetoric and budget cut proposals as tensions in the wake of recent officer-involved deaths have reverberated across the city and country.
Fox News’ David Aaro, Peter Aitken, Stephanie Pagones and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.