Monday, November 22, 2010

NYC Shooting Victims, Perps: Black Men

NEW YORK (AP) — Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, often a vocal critic of the New York Police Department, is teaming up with the department to help get illegal guns off the streets as the city tries to stem an increase in shootings.

Sharpton and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Friday announced they would host a summit on gun violence in December, and Sharpton pledged to support the NYPD's Gun Stop program, which offers a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone with illegal weapons.

The department, the nation's largest, also gives $100 to anyone who turns in a gun at a police station — no questions asked.

City officials say gun violence remains a serious problem, even with tighter weapons laws, and shootings are up this year. So far there have been 1,590 victims of gun violence reported, about 60 more than through the same time last year.

Kelly said most of the shooting victims are black men, as are most of the shooting suspects.

Sharpton, who's black, said something needs to change and the black community must work together to stop the trend. "I think that there's almost been a culture of silence that is becoming the partner and co-conspirator to those that make thug and gangster culture seem like it's something positive," Sharpton said. "Black culture has never been about destruction and thugism. It's been about pursuing excellence, even when we have to deal — and still deal — with social inequalities."

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