Andrew Yang: ‘Defund the Police Is Wrong for New York City’

New York Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang speaks to members of the media along Canal Street i
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“Defund the police is wrong for New York City,” Andrew Yang, who is running for mayor of New York City, said on Sunday hours after a shooting in Times Square.

Yang held a press conference in Times Square :

Nothing works in our city without public safety and for public safety, we need the police. My message to the NYPD is this: New York needs you. Your city needs you. We need you to do your jobs professionally, responsibly, and justly, and as you do these things the people of New York will have your backs. I will have your back.

Defund the police is wrong for New York City.

So what must we do instead? We cannot fall into the trap of imagining that there’s a false choice between keeping our people safe and evolving the NYPD. The fact is that we cannot do one without the other.

My number one priority as your a mayor will be keeping our people and our families safe every single day. 

“The truth is that New York City cannot afford to defund the police.” Yang also said, “And when I talk to New Yorkers, I get a very different message every single day. New Yorkers are concerned about rising rates of violent crime, petty crime, street homelessness. This is what we are seeing and we need our city’s leaders to step up, right now.”


Yang linked increasing rates of violent crime in New York City to COVID-19, while not mentioning local or state lockdown and shutdown decrees.

Yang remarked:

I think we all can sense why gun violence is on the rise in New York City, because life has been upended, schools have been closed for months and months, our streets are empty, storefronts are darkened, subway ridership is down two-thirds.

So in that environment, unfortunately, violence and even shootings are on the rise, not just here in New York, frankly, but around the country. This is not a phenomenon that’s unique to New York.

The shootings are the result of the impact that COVID has had on our way of life, on our jobs, and on the economy.

Yang put a mask on as he stepped away from the dais and took it off when he returned to speak, while alternating with other speakers.

In November, Yang said the “defund the police” campaign has a messaging problem, while expressing support for redirection of law enforcement funding to “community health” and “education.”

“Defund the police” has a “language problem,” he claimed. “We should be trying to frame some of these policies in terms that people will not have a negative reaction to or not be charged up about,” he added.


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