A day after the husband of Mayor Lovely Warren was arraigned on two drug charges and a firearms charge, mayoral hopeful Malik Evans stood at a podium on the 10th floor of One East Avenue and did his best to make restrained remarks about his opponent’s latest scandal.
But the situation is the latest in a string of controversies that involved the mayor, and Evans said the scandals are pulling the city apart. Besides the arrest of her husband, from whom Warren is legally separated, there was also the unrest related to the death of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester Police officers, and the mayor’s role — among others — in keeping word of his death from the public. And she’s also facing felony campaign finance charges.
“The focus needs to be put back on the citizens of Rochester,” Evans said. “Enough of the drama.”
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- PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
- Democratic Mayoral Candidate Malik Evans released his plan to combat gun violence on Friday, May 21. Standing with him at the podium were his wife, Shawanda Evans, his wife’s stepmother Andrea Brown, County Legislature candidate Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons, and Belen Colon, a supporter and a long-time civil rights activist.
He also stated that when something goes wrong in city government, such as Prude’s death, he will take responsibility.
“As a leader, you can’t claim all of the good stuff that’s happening and then blame and deflect all the bad stuff that’s happening on other people,” Evans said.
Evans addressed the mayor’s latest scandal Friday during a news conference he called to present his agenda on gun violence. In his address to reporters, he noted that he wanted to keep attention on the city’s violence problem, noting that 11 people had been shot last weekend, right after he presented his Youth Opportunity Agenda
, another key pillar of his platform.
As of Friday morning, 120 people had been shot in the city in 2021, 15 of whom died from their injuries, according to Rochester Police Department data.
“This is a historic imperative right now at this time, at this moment, and if we don’t do something about it it’s only going to spiral out of control,” said Evans, who was flanked by his wife, Shawanda Evans, his wife’s stepmother Andrea Brown, County Legislature candidate Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons, and Belen Colon, a supporter and a long-time civil rights activist. “And it requires leadership to keep the focus on what is going on right now, and right now it’s violence.
Evans explained that in his first 100 days of office, he’d create a gun czar position, which would report directly to the mayor. The czar would be a civilian employee, not law enforcement, and would be selected through a broad search. He added that he wants an expert who can interact with the community and build bridges between the city and different partners, including the federal agencies relevant to gun violence, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
He called on the state Senate to pass a bill that would require semi-automatic pistols to microstamp identifying information on shells. He also said he would declare a gun emergency in the city and work with others to put as much pressure as possible on the ATF to share its gun tracing data and for Congress to pass universal background check legislation.
Evans said he’d also ask the Attorney General’s Office to update a 2016 gun trafficking report
so city leaders could have a better idea of the Iron Pipeline’s effect on New York and Rochester. The Iron Pipeline refers to the flow of firearms — largely handguns — from Southern states with lax gun laws to New York and New Jersey.
Evans’ gun violence plan is part of his Compact With the Community, and added that his previously proposed Youth Opportunity Agenda will also help address root causes of gun violence in the city. That plan focuses on youth development, peer mediation programs, and youth work programs. It would also bolster support for the Teen Court program.
“We have to do something differently, we are losing too many lives,” Evans said.
Jeremy Moule is CITY's news editor. He can be reached at [email protected].