MSNBC's Sharpton: Defunding police 'something a latte liberal may go for'

MSNBC's Sharpton: Defunding police 'something a latte liberal may go for'
© Bonnie Cash

MSNBC's Al Sharpton said Tuesday that defunding the New York City Police Department is an idea “a latte liberal" may advocate, but not by those "Blacker and poorer" who have seen shootings and homicides surge in New York over the summer.

Sharpton's comments on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" come as the NYPD reported a 166 percent increase in shootings in August compared to the same month last year.

Overall in 2020, New York has seen an 87 percent increase in shooting incidents across the city, with more than 1,000 reported compared to 541 at the same time in 2019.

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“We’ve always heard about the tale of two cities. On the side of the city that I come from, which is Blacker and poorer, we’ve seen more in terms of gun usage. I got a lot of attention when I did the eulogy for George Floyd’s funeral, but I also, a month later, preached [at] a 1-year-old kid’s funeral in Brooklyn who was killed by a stray bullet,” Sharpton said.

“Six people were shot over Labor Day weekend at a festival in Brooklyn, so I would say statistically we’re not much higher than where we were, but on the ground it is certainly feeling more violent, feeling more unsafe in unsafe communities,” he continued.

“We need to reimagine how we do policing," Sharpton later added. "But to take all policing off is something a latte liberal may go for as they sit around the Hamptons discussing this as an academic problem. But people living on the ground need proper policing."

Murders are also considerably up in 2020, with a 47 percent increase reported in August compared to the same month last year.

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOVERNIGHT ENERGY: California seeks to sell only electric cars by 2035 | EPA threatens to close New York City office after Trump threats to 'anarchist' cities | House energy package sparks criticism from left and right EPA threatens to close New York City office after Trump threats to 'anarchist' cities New Year's Eve in Times Square to be largely virtual amid pandemic MORE (D) cut NYPD spending by $1 billion in the city's 2021 budget in July, drawing criticism from the right and left.

"We are reducing the size of our police force by not having the next recruit class. We are reducing our overtime levels. We're shifting functions away from police to civilian agencies," de Blasio said on July 1.

"We think it's the right thing to do. It will take work. It will take effort and we're going to be reforming that work in the meantime," he added.