Rally held in East Harlem against gun violence, some want return of 'Stop and Frisk'

Josh Einiger Image
Friday, June 12, 2015
Residents rally to call for end to gun violence, some want return of 'Stop and Frisk'
EMBED <>More Videos

Josh Einiger reports from East Harlem.

EAST HARLEM (WABC) -- There's a rallying call from communities across New York City to stop gun violence.

Families are worried about the frightening rise in murders and guns.

A surge of cops, hundreds of them, flooded high crime areas for the first time Wednesday night.

A rally against gun violence was held in East Harlem with community leaders Wednesday night.

As the sun set over the East River Houses, residents were wondering how safe they'll be tonight.

"I don't really feel safe for my three year old," said Nathaniel Davis, a resident.

Davis already raised two kids there in the rough and tumble 80's. Now he's raising Dante with his wife Serena, and the way sees it, things today are worse than back then.

"My other kids they made it. They made it. By the grace of God they made it. My son, it's a different time," Davis said.

"In my eyes as a resident of the Harlem community, the crime rate is going up," said Serena Davis, a resident.

In this project, this week alone, three shootings have killed two people.

"Why is there not an outcry that the shootings have gone up the way that they have? Why are there no marchers? Why are there no protests? Is it just police shootings that we turn the streets upside down?" said Dr. Sean P. Gardner, of EastWard Missionary Baptist Church.

The de Blasio administration insists it is tackling the recent rise in certain types of violent crime. It insists the reduction in "Stop, question and frisk" is not to blame.

"Father we pray for our police officers that are watching over us," Dr. Gardner said.

But in Harlem and in neighborhoods across the city, many of the same people who protested the policy, now say it may be the only way to keep criminals from carrying guns.

"They feel like they can get away with it. They feel like maybe I'm less likely to get caught if they're not looking for that," Serena Davis said.

"I can't tell you what mother I've not come across who lost a loved one to gun violence who is not sitting here advocating for "Stop and frisk" to come back. It's a catch 22. It's a serious catch 22 in our community," said Tony Herbert, a community activist.

Issues of crime and cops and race have been thorns in the city's side for generations. Wednesday night, this community was praying for way out.