NYC Mayor Blasts Recidivism After Subway Death, Cop Shooting

(Bloomberg) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams pointed to “severe recidivism” after two men, including a police officer, were killed an hour apart by suspects with prior arrests.

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Carlton McPherson, 24, was charged with felony murder for allegedly shoving a man in front of an incoming No. 4 train Monday evening. The unprovoked incident occurred at 6:48 p.m. at the 125th Street and Lexington Ave. station, according to a police spokeswoman. The victim was identified as Jason Volz, according to the New York Times, which cited police officials and an internal report.

About an hour prior to the shove, police officer Jonathan Diller, 31, was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Queens, marking the first murder of a New York police officer since 2022. The attacks are the latest in a string of violent incidents that have cast doubt on Mayor Eric Adams’s handle on crime.

Both McPherson and Guy Rivera, the suspect in Diller’s killing, had prior arrests. Adams, a former police captain who ran for office on a public safety platform, cited police data showing that 38 individuals arrested for assault in the subway last year had connections to 1,126 additional crimes across the city. He renewed calls for Albany lawmakers to address recidivism, but didn’t provide a clear plan of action.

The offenders had “a total disregard” for human life, Adams told reporters Tuesday. “It is the good guys against the bad guys and we have to recognize that.”

Still, the mayor rejected the idea that crime is out of control.

“It’s just not true,” Adams said. “We have to push back on this narrative,” he said.

He said lawmakers have to do more to address mental health issues, and that his administration is currently working to “add teeth” to Kendra’s Law, which compels individuals evaluated as seriously mentally ill to receive psychiatric treatment through court order. The law was named for a woman who was pushed in front of a train in 1999.

Earlier Monday, the NYPD had announced plans to flood the transit system with 800 additional uniformed and plainclothes officers to crackdown on fare evasion. Fare-skippers are the most likely perpetrators of subway crime, Transit Chief Michael Kemper said Monday.

“The tone of law and order starts at the turnstiles,” Kemper said.

The subway shoving was the fourth killing this year on the city’s transit system, which sees almost 4 million riders on weekdays. A man was fatally shot in January on a 3 line subway train in Brooklyn after trying to subdue a dispute over loud music. Another man was shot and killed on the 4 train in the Bronx on Feb. 12 when an argument between two groups of teenagers turned violent. Ten days later, a man was killed on a D train in the Bronx over a dispute with other riders. Two weeks ago, riders were left shaken after a fight erupted on an A train that left a man shot with his own gun.

Earlier this month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she would deploy 1,000 officers, including 750 from the National Guard, to conduct random bag checks on subway passengers. She also laid out plans to install more safety cameras throughout the transit network.

The uptick in police on the system began at the start of February after officials saw a spike in crime in January, when major felonies jumped by 46.7% from a year earlier, according to MTA data. Overall transit crime this year is up 6.9% through March 17 compared to the same period in 2023.

--With assistance from Chris Dolmetsch.

(Updates with Mayor Adams’s comments throughout the story.)

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