BROOKLYN, NY, March 12, 2013: Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the City Council's Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, released the following statement regarding a vigil march for 16-year-old Kimani Gray, who was fatally shot by NYPD officers on Saturday, that turned into a riot in the area surrounding the 67th Precinct station house.
"Tonight, we saw an explosion of anger from the youth in my community. We have talked about this anger for years, but still the resources have not come to address it. We have talked about the corrosive relationship between our community and the NYPD, but still the Mayor and the Commissioner have failed to address the root causes of this tension. Tonight, we saw that tension turn in a destructive manner. I cannot and will not condone the damage caused to property or to person.
"I also cannot condone the continued refusal to hear the voices of this community. This action, which some are calling an uprising, was not about the details of one shooting; it spoke to the overwhelming frustration that people are living through day after day. I am calling on Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to join me tomorrow in walking through this community, to see the situation first-hand and address my constituents who demand real reform. I am calling on them to address the lack of positive outlets for our young people, including the community center which we are fighting to get built. I am calling on them to commit to fully funding efforts like the Anti-Gun Violence Initiative that will bring resources to besieged communities. All of these things are needed in tandem. All of these things are overdue.
"We cannot turn our anger against our neighbors. We must channel it constructively and send a clear message to City Hall and One Police Plaza that change must come. Without it, I fear this will be a long and bloody summer ahead. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 'a riot is the language of the unheard.'"