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Following release of final 2022 crime stats report, New York leaders meet with the Rev. Al Sharpton

New York's top Black leaders meet with Rev. Al Sharpton about public safety
New York's top Black leaders meet with Rev. Al Sharpton about public safety 02:35

NEW YORK -- The 2022 year-end city crime stats show shootings and homicides are down compared to 2021. However, crime, overall, is up and a top concern for many New Yorkers.

There was a private meeting Thursday night on the topic.

The Rev. Al Sharpton hosted what he described as a historic gathering of the state's top Black leaders at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem.

Mayor Eric Adams, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Attorney General Letitia James were just a few of the elected leaders who attended the 90-minute meeting with Sharpton.

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Sharpton said 2023, "is gonna be the year that we show how to govern and deal with public safety for people that have been the disproportionate victims of both those criminal justice reforms that are needed and those violent crimes."

Cameras were only allowed into the private meeting for a brief period before a news conference, where James would not go into specifics on the issues discussed.

"We will discuss them in private. We will come forth with a plan. We will map out where the issues are, and we will join together as one. It's important that everyone understand this is not a Black or Latino issue. This is an issue that affects all New Yorkers," the attorney general said.

Sharpton hosted the meeting just hours after the NYPD released its year-end crime statistics, which show a rise in overall crime compared to 2021. Shootings and homicides are down from 2021, but they're still up compared to pre-pandemic levels.

"We have to get to the root causes of what's causing the crime in the first place. We have to talk about those difficult things, like poverty, and housing, and education, and lack of jobs," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said.

The stats also revealed that 150 people younger than 18 were shot in 2022, a number that has more than doubled since 2019. One of those victims was 17-year-old Raelynn Cameron, whose grandmother and aunt are still mourning her death months later.

"It's like the new norm, families grieve now. Instead of having weddings and baby showers, we're having funerals," Antandra Gorman said. "It's gotta stop."

"We're turning 18th birthday parties into memorials. Why?" Antasia Portis lamented.

After the meeting here, the leaders who attended would not take any questions from reporters.

Sharpton described it as the first of a series of meetings.

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