Back at the end of June, New York City was experiencing the usual explosion (both literally and figuratively) of illegal, private fireworks that we generally see in the runup to the 4th of July. Of course, that was the same time period when the city was embroiled in riots and protests, with increasing incidents of violent crime. At the time, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams advised Gotham’s residents to not call the police when fireworks were being deployed to avoid “a heavy-handed police response.” Instead, Adams advised New Yorkers to just go speak to their neighbors and work things out peacefully.
Home healthcare worker Shatavia Walls, age 33, apparently took that message to heart. While visiting relatives in East New York on Independence Day, she saw a group of young men setting off fireworks in a playground next to their building in close proximity to some children. She went outside to ask them to please move their celebration away from the park. One of the men responded by pulling a gun and chasing her, firing a single bullet that thankfully missed. The shooter somehow dropped his ID during the chase, so Walls collected that along with a spent cartridge and reported the matter to the cops. Three days later she saw some other men still firing off rockets in the park and decided to once again confront them herself. This time things went far worse. (NY Post)
A Brooklyn woman who followed Borough President Eric Adams’ advice for New Yorkers to settle disputes neighbor-to-neighbor rather than calling 911 wound up shot dead after she confronted some punks setting off illegal fireworks, the victim’s grieving mom said.
Shatavia Walls, 33, was blasted eight times in an East New York public housing complex on July 7, simply for asking the fiends to take their dangerous display away from a group of playing kids — exactly how Adams had urged constituents to act in the face of the pyrotechnic plague.
“She watched the news. Yes, she heard it,” Helen Testagros, Walls’ heartbroken mother, told The Post on Sunday, referring to Adams’ advice. “It was probably in the back of her mind.”
The second encounter didn’t include the man who had originally shot at her, but one of his buddies quickly ran to get him. He arrived at a full run, guns blazing. After striking Walls once, though not fatally, he walked up to her prone form and unloaded the rest of the magazine into her.
This is East New York we’re talking about, one of the most dangerous parts of New York City with some of the worst gang activity. With that in mind, it’s not unfair to say that Ms. Walls wasn’t showing the best judgment when she set out twice to confront a group of gang bangers. But that still doesn’t excuse what happened.
This grim incident is still another reminder of why you can’t simply “abolish the police” or outsource their work to civilians. This is particularly true in larger cities with significant gang violence problems. Advising a civilian to go out and confront “their neighbors,” particularly in a place like East New York is not just irresponsible. It very likely amounts to a death warrant, just as it turned out to be for Shatavia Walls. The Borough President (who is widely expected to run for Mayor) and the current Mayor should have known better. Rather than caving in to the demands of the mob and supporting the dangerous and destructive calls to defund the Police Department, they should have applied some common sense to the situation, assuming such a commodity is still present in the Big Apple.
The NYPD has enough trouble keeping the gangs of New York under control under the best of circumstances. Expecting some home healthcare worker to do their job is an example of criminal insanity.