California Democrats Silent After AOC Doubts Smash-and-Grab Robberies Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on Nov. 18, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 07 December 2021 02:27 PM
Leading Democrat in California have declined to comment on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks doubting the existence of smash-and-grab robberies, Fox News reported Tuesday.
In a recent interview with The Washington Times, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attempted to dismiss the growing problem, saying that "we have to talk about specifics because, for example, we're actually seeing a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out. I believe it's a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn't back it up."
Fox News asked numerous leading Democrats for a reaction to Ocasio-Cortez’s assertions, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, but none responded.
Republican politicians and business leaders, however, have been extremely vocal in slamming her remarks. Walgreens told The Washington Times that "organized retail crime is one of the top challenges" the company faces and that the issue "has evolved beyond shoplifting and petty theft to the sale of stolen and counterfeit goods online."
Jason Brewer, Retail Industry Leaders Association senior executive vice president of communications, added that "the Congresswoman has no idea what she is talking about. Both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions. If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that."
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said AOC's comments were "tone-deaf and offensive" to the family of Oakland security guard Kevin Nishita, who was shot and killed in November while protecting a news crew reporting on a smash-and-grab crime.
In an attempt to halt the wave of smash-and grab crimes, Newsom has boosted California Highway Patrol's presence along highways near major shopping locations and urged mayors to "step up" and hold perpetrators to account, adding that "these are not victimless crimes, and I have no empathy for these criminal elements," Fox News reported.
California police union leaders have blamed the crime wave on the ACLU for its backing of Proposition 47, which passed in 2014 and lowered shoplifting charges regarding the theft of $950 or less from felonies to misdemeanors, according to Fox News.
"San Francisco voters were lied to by the ACLU," San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya said. "Voters were told that prosecuting thieves was really a racist attack on people of color whose only real crime was poverty."
He added that this has rolled out "the red carpet for criminals, these smash-and-grab thieves aren’t stealing groceries to feed their families, they are ransacking and clearing out high-end stores to sell those goods to the highest bidder to fuel their criminal behavior or their drug habits."
Ocasio-Cortez’s office told Fox News that her remarks were referring to an October article in the San Francisco Chronicle explaining that Amazon's growth during the pandemic likely played a role in multiple Walgreens closings in the city.