De Blasio, Bratton announce increased security at J'ouvert
The West Indian Day Parade and J'ouvert festival will have "the most extensive security ever" this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
The mayor said the NYPD and West Indian organizers have been working together for months to improve safety a year after a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo was shot and killed.
The aide, Carey Gabay, died after being caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs during last year's J'ouvert celebration.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said there will be twice as many officers along the parade route and in the surrounding area as previous years. He also announced security barricades and 200 lighting towers that will be placed along the parade route. Last year, police deployed only 50 of the light towers, he said.
J'ouvert organizers also had to obtain a permit this year, which had not been required before.
Aaron McNaughton, Gabay's brother, praised the improved security measures. He said his brother would not have wanted the event canceled, despite the tragedy.
"I honestly think he would want it to continue -- but to do better," McNaughton said.
Bratton said the NYPD will be monitoring gang-related activity over the next few days, stressing the department's ability to take quick action against anyone who poses a threat.
The leaders also called on community members to remain vigilant, monitor their children and report any suspicious activity to 911.
J'ouvert celebrations begin Friday night and the West Indian Day Parade is slated to begin Monday in Brooklyn.