Dermot Shea worried about ‘unintended consequences’ with marijuana legalization, credits arrest in Midtown attack to community

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NEW YORK — Marijuana is one step closer to becoming legal in New York, which will have an impact on policing. 

This as the NYPD continues to grapple with an increase in violent attacks against the Asian community and sweeping reform measures approved by the City Council last week. 

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea shared the latest on the arrest of the murder parolee accused of attacking an Asian woman in Midtown, what bystanders should do if they witness attack and his thoughts on marijuana’s potential legalization.

Arrest in Midtown attack on Asian woman

Commissioner Shea credited the quick arrest in the Midtown attack to the community. He said many people shared the incident online and were able to locate the suspect.

Brandon Elliot, who was arrested early Wednesday, was out on parole after serving time in prison for the death of his mother in 2002. 

When asked if Elliot should have been out on parole, Shea said it’s up to the parole board, but people have “got to be given second chances.”

Shea, however, said those released from prison are put into homeless shelters which is “asking for trouble.”

More resources should be provided to them, according to Shea.

“This is what goes wrong. It never should happen,” he said.

J train subway scuffle

The police commissioner said the victim has not filed a report, but the NYPD has made a lot of headway in the incident. 

Shea said anyone who knows the victim or the suspect should call Crime Stoppers.

Many people witnessed the incident, but did nothing. 

When asked what bystanders should do when they witness incidents, Shea said he was torn because sometimes intervening could be dangerous.

The police commissioner said the most important thing people should do is call 911, and if it’s safe to step in, do it.

Marijuana legalization and policing

Marijuana is one step closer to legalization. 

Shea said he is worried about long-term effects and the impact on crime.

“I worry about what it means for New Yorkers,” he said. 

Shea also questioned what message this has for New Yorkers if people are seen smoking outside, hanging out or in public places, such as parades.

If marijuana were to be legalized, Shea said it is “not going to be a police matter” anymore.

“It’s a significant shift,” Shea said. “You pass new laws, you always worry about the unintended consequences.” 

Shea did, however, say there is a middle ground to everything. 

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