July 23, 2020
The city's crackdown on illegal fireworks started off with a bang — netting two shipping containers worth of pyrotechnics and nabbing 127 people for allegedly smuggling the firecrackers into the five boroughs from out of state in the last month.
"We haven't been focusing on fireworks going off in the streets but rather interdicting the amount of fireworks coming into the city," New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito said during a press briefing Tuesday.
"The amount of fireworks that we've seized since we started the project has been about two shipping containers full, a pretty significant amount," he said about the month-long effort.
"We have made 127 arrests related to fireworks interdiction coming into New York City and most of those arrests have been tracking large quantities of fireworks from Pennsylvania and other states coming into New York and stopping them at the border," Fucito said.
The suspects are facing two levels of charges for possession of illegal fireworks, depending on the price tag of the goods.
The crackdown started just under a month ago after city data showed a 4,000 percent surge in firecracker complaints during the first two weeks of June. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said stopping illegal fireworks is not a priority for the NYPD, and instead should be handled by 311.
Guardian Angels founder and fellow mayoral contender Curtis Sliwa accused Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams of giving "deadly" advice after a constituent followed the local pol's suggestion that New Yorkers settle disputes about illegal fireworks neighbor-to-neighbor instead of calling 911.
The woman, Shatavia Walls, 33, was shot dead at an East New York public housing complex on July 7 after asking punks to move their pyrotechnics away from a children's playground, sources have said.