Police union boss tells MTA riders they’re on their own amid violence uptick
The head of the NYPD’s largest union issued a stark warning to subway riders Friday amid an alarming rash of underground attacks — you’re on your own.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch accused lawmakers of preventing cops from doing their jobs and advised straphangers to “keep both eyes wide open” to avoid being victimized.
“The politicians have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want cops enforcing transit system rules, connecting the homeless with services, engaging with seriously mentally ill people or doing any of the things necessary to prevent these terrifying random attacks,” he said.
“That is their choice to make, but who is replacing us in those roles? Right now, nobody.”
Lynch added: “While our elected leaders are closing their eyes and wishing the problem away, we recommend that all New Yorkers keep both eyes wide open while in our transit system.”
The disturbing message came a day after a 40-year-old woman was shoved onto the tracks and into the oath of an incoming train at Manhattan’s 14th Street-Union Square station around 8:30 a.m. Thursday. She narrowly escaped death.
It was the second incident of its kind in as many days and the fourth since Oct. 19.
The attacks by unhinged assailants led interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg to plead for action from City Hall.
“We have a crisis in this city and it absolutely has to be addressed,” Feinberg said Thursday.
“It’s gotta be addressed, and I’m desperate for this mayor or the next mayor to take it on because we’ve got a long way to go.”
In addition to the shoving incidents, statistics released last month showed that although subway ridership this year has plunged 70 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic, five murders were committed in the system through September — up from two during the same period last year.
There were also 22 felony assaults on the subways in September, a tiny reduction from the 24 that took place during the same month in 2019.
City Hall didn’t immediately respond to Lynch’s remarks.
But in a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The City is committed to using every tool to promote safety and connect people with mental health needs to treatment.”
“From police officers and homeless outreach workers, to mobile mental health treatment teams, city workers are in our communities and subways doing this work every day,” spokeswoman Avery Cohen added.
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