NEW YORK (Reuters) - Civil rights leader Al Sharpton on Friday joined forces with New York police to cut the number of illegal guns on the city’s streets.
Sharpton, a strong critic of some past actions by New York police, will help promote a program called Gun Stop, which offers $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of someone with an illegal handgun.
Sharpton has “been against gun violence in so many different forums, and he’s been particularly aware of and concerned about the toll that it’s taken on the black community,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
In 2009, 73 percent of shooting victims in New York City were black and 80 percent of shooters were black, Kelly told a news conference at police headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
The Gun Stop program started in 2001 and has led to nearly 5,000 arrests.
Sharpton’s National Action Network is also helping police organize a gun buy-back program at a Harlem church on December 18.
About 6,000 guns and other weapons have been recovered through buy-back programs since 2008. This year, police have made more than 5,000 gun-related arrests and seized nearly 4,000 guns.
Sharpton, who appeared with Kelly, said that if he were to be silent on the gun issue, “it takes away any moral authority for us to raise questions when we oppose things in the city.”
Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., Editing by Jonathan Oatis
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