By Alicia Venter
Retired Judge George Grasso is officially running for Queens District Attorney along the Democratic line, filing 9,500 signatures to run for the position on Monday.
Immediately after leaving City Hall, Grasso hopped on the train to Queens Borough Hall where he shared updates with the campaign, many times delving into fervent monologues about an increase in crime in Queens.
Shooting CompStat statistics off at a whim, Grasso claimed Katz was “too little, too late” in addressing the crime sprees across Queens, particularly Flushing, and called on the current District Attorney to debate him before the primary on June 27.
“We have a crime wave in Queens right now. Crime in Queens is out of control during the tenure of Melinda Katz,” he said.
According to the most updated CompStat information, Grasso passionately stated, NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South has seen an increase of major felony crime of over 40% in two years.
“You think that’s bad?” he questioned. “How about Patrol Borough Queens North?” According to CompStat, major felony crime is up over 68%. The 109th Precinct, he said, is up over 126%. While currently running on the Democratic line, Grasso shared that he has begun the process to run independently should he lose the party’s nomination.
“If you don’t acknowledge a problem, you can’t fix a problem,” Grasso announced.
The Grasso for Queens Campaign received 11 endorsements from local law enforcement agencies on Monday, including from the New York 10-13 Association, the Retired Lieutenants Association and Retired Police Association of New York State.
“If you want to bring back safety, security and sanity to the county of Queens, it is so important to vote for Judge Grasso,” said Bob Valentino, the President of the New York City Retired Transit Police Officers Association, which has endorsed Grasso. “With him, you will bring back Queens like it used to be in the old days.”
Herb Woods, former NYPD Assistant Commissioner, Department Advocate, who led police discipline, has known Grasso for 35 years after meeting as police officers of the NYPD. Seeing him rise through the ranks, Woods claimed to be a first-hand witness to Grasso working diligently within the department to create strategies to reduce crime when he was the first deputy commissioner of the NYPD.
“He wanted to immediately create a disciplinary system that was fair, that was transparent, would enforce due process and brought everyone to the table equally,” said Woods. “He made it doubly clear to me that whether you are a police officer or a civilian, no one is above the law.
The first step in Grasso’s plan, he explained, is quality of life enforcement. It is the small things — not enforcing misdemeanor assault and trespassing, or those who avoid tolls — that must be enforced to avoid repeat offenders.
Current district attorneys, he feels, are too muted across the city, citing State District Attorney David Soares as a role model of how all district attorneys should speak out.
“This is real now. I consider this the official first day of my campaign,” Grasso said. “We are going to win on June 27… this is coming. This is happening.”