BUCK: First, I was really struck last night by the headlines about what happened on the Upper East Side. As you know, I’m here in New York City. I live in Midtown Manhattan. I grew up on the East Side and the Upper East Side is probably the safest neighborhood. It’s also generally an expensive neighborhood, not all of it is hyper-expensive, but a lot of it is. But it’s a place you don’t see shootings. It’s a place you don’t really see much in the way of violent crime even when the city is having a bad time of it, and there was a mother with her baby walking the baby in a stroller.
The mother was going for a walk and a gunman in a hooded sweatshirt came up behind her and executed her with a gunshot wound to the back of the head — 95th Street and Lexington Avenue, for those of you who live in New York City — and this immediately sent a shock wave through the city because this is exactly the kind of thing that gets everyone’s attention, as this is how far the security situation, law and order has deteriorated in a neighborhood like the Upper East Side in New York, where you’re generally not seeing as much violent crime: You have an execution in a busy intersection of a mother with a baby.
Clay, Eric Adams came out last night. He actually went to the scene of the shooting right away, so the mayor knew that this was a moment that going to really obviously upset a lot of people, upset everyone in New York and around the country. But also he knew that there were political ramifications from this kind of an incident, and here’s my basic theory, and we can go through it.
My basic theory, Clay, is we all know what would actually bring the crime levels down. We actually in New York City ran the experiment in the nineties. We know what needs to be done. Democrats for ideological reasons refuse to do it, they just refuse to do it. They focus on guns. The focus was not singularly on guns when they turned New York around starting in 1990, the year 2000. This is where we are now, and this is happening in cities all over the country.
CLAY: New York went from — correct me if I’m wrong, Buck — around 2,000 murders a year all the way down to 300. Giuliani, when he took over, you were a kid; it was around 2,000 murders. New York was not a safe place to be. And I think the number fell all the way to like 300.
BUCK: Under 300. It was 2,245 in 1990 and got to 292 in 2017.
CLAY: Okay. So an unbelievable success story in terms of making the streets safer for everyone. These are the kinds of stories that crystallize fear for many people because if someone is killed… Most deaths, most murders, as many of you know — almost all of you know — probably, involve people that you know. That is, random acts of vibrancy are rare. What has become very commonplace, Buck, suddenly in New York City is guys on the subway going to work and somebody shoots him and he dies and he didn’t know that guy at all. This is the Hispanic guy did who worked at Goldman Sachs. That was a viral story.
BUCK: He was a victim. He was executed. Yes.
CLAY: An Asian woman gets shoved directly in front of a subway car as she’s standing waiting to go I think to yoga class one morning in New York City as well. Now a mom, out pushing her baby in a stroller, gets executed. The details of who this guy was and what exactly might have been behind it, we still don’t know. But if this was a truly random act of violence — which, Buck, it appears, at least early on, that it was a random act of violence — everyone immediately thinks for all three of those stories, “That could have been me.”
It’s different when you’re involved in a criminal underworld drug trade. It’s different when someone that you know takes a violent act against you. But truly random acts of violence crystallize the killing fields that many of the cities and states in our country have suddenly become in the wake of the George Floyd prostitute and the BLM riots. Let’s be honest. That’s when it started it.
BUCK: That’s the absolutely critical point.
BUCK: Why did this all happen? Why is the murder rate in New York City up 60% in four years, especially given that the trend was down, down, down for over 20 years, decades?
BUCK: All of a sudden, it’s up 60% in less than four years? The murder rate in 2021, there were 488 murders here. Now, there are other cities like Baltimore that are much smaller with considerably higher murder rates.
BUCK: Right. But New York because it’s the biggest city and, honestly, the biggest crime turnaround miracles is — for people who want to look at the data, who want to look at what happened — a very indicator of what’s gone on here. And it is because of, the George Floyd riots, the progressive prosecutor movement, and the Democrat Party embracing this ideology of, “We just have to enforce fewer criminal laws.”
“The criminal justice system is racist,” this is the mainstream Democrat belief and talking point, “and therefore the way to deal with the racism that they assess is in the system is to just enforce fewer criminal laws, send people to prison for less time, let people out earlier, all of it. And when you look at New York, it is just step by step, it’s like de Blasio and now Adams — although Adams is beginning to turn it around — was running a “How do I ruin this city?” program.
They got rid of the plainclothes police unit, Clay, back in 2015. Why? Well, remember this. June 15, 2020: “The New York police commissioner announced on Monday he was disbanding the police department anti-crime unit plainclothes team that target violent time and had been involved in some of the city’s most notorious police shootings.” You know what the notorious police shooting is they always point to? Amadou Diallo, which was a bad incident, it was a mistake, but they thought he had a gun. That was in 1999.
CLAY: Yeah, I remember that story.
BUCK: Whenever the journos write about this, it’s, “Well, the plainclothes unit…” This is in 2020! “The plainclothes unit, man, they were in some bad shoots in, like, 1999.” These people, the journos, the Democrats, the police commissioner under the de Blasio administration — and now what we see with the progressive prosecutor, DA Bragg, and Mayor Adams — they’re reckless and they’re wrong and they just don’t want to stop. So he’s fixating on guns. Clay, the number of gun… I’ve seen estimates that there are over a million guns in circulation in New York City. They take about 10,000 guns a year off the streets.
BUCK: “Oh, but if they focus on the guns they’re really gonna solve the problem.” It’s idiocy. It’s like there’s a lack of ability to do the basic math.
CLAY: They also did away with “stop, question, and frisk,” as you well know, which was also incredibly important in terms of making people think, “Hey, make sure I shouldn’t have a gun with on me when I’m walking around in a high-crime area because the police can stop and talk to me and then judge me based on my reaction to some questions, whether or not I might be carrying a gun.” And, unfortunately, Buck, the overwhelming number of the victims of these massive increases in murders have been black, right?
And if black lives truly matter, where does BLM show up when all of these deaths are occurring in inner cities? They’re nonexistent! They are not in any way involved. They show up if a white police officer is involved in any sort of allegations of impropriety. But when you have killing fields in our inner cities — and overwhelmingly young kids are the victims — they don’t say a word. And the media that shows up to cover all these BLM protests and talks about how awful police are, they don’t say a word, either. They barely even mention these deaths, and it takes these sort of viral, anecdotal, out-of-nowhere random acts of violence to even cut through and personify what’s going on in our cities right now.
BUCK: They got rid of “stop, question, and frisk.” A judge here just decided that it was unconstitutional. They got rid of the plainclothes unit. They changed as many police procedures as they could and a hyperfocus on restraint holds and all these things to make the cops think, “Well, if I have to wrestle somebody who could go for my gun and kill me while I’m on the job, I better be careful that I don’t put my elbow in the wrong place or else I’m going to end up in prison as the police officer.” They cut the NYPD budget by a billion dollars.
The fascinating thing, Clay, is at the same time that we’re hearing — and this is true in city after city. In New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, L.A., they talk about lowering gun crime and going after the illegal guns. Arrests are way up for illegal gun possession in New York City. Prosecutions, somehow, are way down. And this is the phenomenon that you see that’s just enraging. People who do terrible things and think a lot of the high-profile cases in any city across the country, they kill somebody out of nowhere, and we find out they’ve been arrested 30 times.
BUCK: They’ve been arrested 70 times. There was somebody in New York City just got his 100th shoplifting arrest! It was like the lib the media wanted to give him some kind of a prize. “Look at him! He’s gotten away with it a hundred times.” This is a mind-set. This is an ideology the Democrats have pushed for. It’s rooted in virtue signaling. It’s rooted in their sense of guilt. It’s rooted in their belief that somehow you don’t have to give cops…
Here. Mayor Adams has neighborhood safety teams. This is what he said in response to this. Clay, listen to how they describe this. “Neighborhood safety teams, the City of New York,” these are police squads, “intensively trained in minimal force techniques, advanced tactics, car stop, de-escalation is essential to all of it.” Now, de-escalation is important. But we’re actually trying to go after bad guys here and the cops have to feel supported and not be told that they’re basically social workers who happen to have a gun.
CLAY: Being concerned that you’re being too tough on criminals is a luxury of a low-crime environment. That’s where we got. We got convinced that crime was not a major issue and we allowed it to creep back up, and then the George Floyd BLM protests put this all on steroids and the numbers now… It’s impossible to argue otherwise. You go look in May of 2020, in June of 2020. We basically suddenly went on a rocket ship of violent crime exploding.
Because we attacked our police officers, told them they couldn’t do their jobs and then that combined with the soft-on-crime environment. And I’m gonna, when we come back, Buck… I want to share an example of how celebrities have helped to fuel the environment of this awfulness, LeBron James in particular. I’ll tell you about something that happened in Akron that I bet almost none of you have even heard of.
BUCK: Yeah, and I just want to add to this as just in the background: We keep talking about this because the Democrats aren’t changing course, really. They’re just hoping this goes away, and we’re months away from an opportunity to actually have some accountability for these bad ideas.
BUCK: They have ruined cities, folks. Do you want to hold them accountable?
ADAMS: It doesn’t matter if you are on the Upper East Side or East New York, Brooklyn. The oversaturation of guns and dangerous people that repeatedly leave our criminal justice system to continue actions like this, it is what’s making the New York City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies here in New York, across the country — and across the country — difficult to fight this issue.
BUCK: Welcome back to Clay and Buck. That was the mayor of New York, Eric Adams. It’s always the guns. Although he did say something, I believe, there about dangerous people who have the guns, which is getting closer to the issue here, which is criminals and arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning those who are a threat to their fellow human beings and who break the law. We have an update for you on that.
The reason the mayor is speaking out on this is because of this execution style shooting on the Upper East Side of Manhattan last night. It was a domestic violence the incident the police are now saying. Here’s what we know according to the New York Post: “The young mom who was shot and killed while pushing her 3-month-old baby in a stroller on the Upper East Side was a domestic violence victim … identified by her mother as 20-year-old Azsia Johnson … she had been planning on meeting her infant’s dad on Wednesday night, according to the sources.
“‘She was targeted. It was a close head shot…’” the police said, and when speaking to the family what they found out was that this was a long-standing threat against this woman from this individual that’s now the prime suspect. Following the altercation … the ex-boyfriend continued ‘stalking’ and harassing her daughter,” according to her mother. “They called police for help, but he was not arrested… ‘We called the precinct numerous times to tell the (domestic violence) unit that he was stalking and harrowing her.
“‘Even (though) they knew what apartment he lived in, they failed to apprehend and arrest him,’” according to the mother of the victim, and then her quote here, Clay. “The city failed to protect my daughter.” That’s how a lot of people feel right now about what this city’s insufficient law enforcement environment is. They’re not doing what is necessary to keep people safe at a level that we’ve seen in the past. No one’s expecting perfection, but things have gotten out of hand. I know there’s this case.