New video of a recent subway shoving prompts the question: Are New York’s leaders waiting for an innocent to get killed before they do something about this threat?
It took the killing of Kendra Webdale to get the state Assembly to pass Kendra’s Law, allowing for mandatory treatment of some dangerously unhinged New Yorkers. But efforts to strengthen that law remain in limbo, while Mayor Bill de Blasio refuses to adjust his own policies.
In the latest attack, a deranged stranger shoved a woman into the side of a No. 3 train arriving in Times Square. The victim sustained severe injuries to her face and legs. Yet Anthonia Egegbara, ID’d as the attacker, has a rap sheet stretching back a decade, including recent charges for fare evasion, scratching a woman’s face in a dispute and snatching a cellphone from someone before fleeing aboard a train. Now add attempted murder.
This follows a hatchet-wielding maniac’s attack on a man inside a Chase ATM vestibule in August. Later that month, an unprovoked man pushed a 31-year-old woman down a Queens subway staircase. In Brooklyn, an unhinged male threw a woman onto train tracks.
Simply accepting this endless string of random assaults is no way to get tourists or office workers to return, not to mention the threat to all the regular New Yorkers who never left.
At a minimum, de Blasio can divert mental-health money to focus on the city’s estimated 12,000 mentally ill homeless. And crack down on the homeless-outreach workers who seem to simply hang out in the general vicinity of the folks they’re supposed to help.
The late mental-health activist DJ Jaffe estimated that almost 9,000 homeless mentally ill “could be moved off the streets and into supportive housing using the funds budgeted for ThriveNYC,” the $1 billion pet project of First Lady Chirlane McCray that mainly focuses on minor mental illness.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, meanwhile, could push the Legislature to bolster Kendra’s Law to allow for more involuntary commitment of people who’ve become dangers to themselves and others.
Innocent New Yorkers shouldn’t fear random attacks by sickos. It’s simply wrong to let severely mentally ill and clearly dangerous people roam free without medical supervision or medication.
If city and state leaders don’t get serious, they’ll have blood on their hands when some attacker finally puts his victim not in the hospital but in the morgue.
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