‘We have an option of a candidate who can center people, racial justice, economic justice and climate justice,’ Ocasio-Cortez said during her announcement in New York City on Saturday.
‘(Wiley) didn’t just come up to run for mayor but has experience and has a lifetime of dedication to this,’ she added.
AOC and Wiley have both been vocal supporters of the defund the police movement, with Wiley announcing she’d strip a billion dollars from the NYPD’s budget if she were elected, despite soaring crime in the city.
Speaking earlier this month, she said ‘I’m going to take a billion dollars from the New York City Police Department and shift that money to create trauma-informed care in our schools, because when we do that violence goes down and graduation rates go up’ she said.
But she spoke out on the issue even after being exposed for paying $550 a month for a private security car to patrol the leafy street where she lives in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) threw her support behind civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley (right) for New York mayor as the race continues to tighten before the June 22 Democratic primary
Asked about the apparent hypocrisy by the New York Daily News last December, Wiley said: ‘I think it’s ridiculous and we shouldn’t have it.
‘It’s neither effective nor does it create the sense of community that I support. And I don’t think it reflects the actual reality of our community in terms of whether it’s even needed.’
Wiley claimed her partner Harlan Mandel had begun paying the $550 annual fee for the service without telling her, having initially done so after being ‘traumatized’ by a 2001 mugging that hospitalized him for six weeks.
She said: ‘The complicating factor is that Harlan was mugged after September 11th.
‘To this day, if it’s dark out he walks down the middle of the street, he doesn’t walk on the [poorly lit] sidewalk. And he said, one night he was coming home from work and he saw the car at the end of the block and it just made him feel better.
‘And so he started paying again and then I had a very hard time saying, “don’t do it”.
‘It’s not necessarily rational but it is his trauma response so it’s a complicated one for our family.’
Wiley and neighbors cough up $550 a year for a private security car to monitor the Brooklyn neighborhood
Democratic mayoral candidate Maya Wiley and her Prospect Park South neighbors hire private security to monitor the neighborhood
Wiley, who previously worked as counsel for outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, said: ‘I’ve lived here 20 years and in that time there was Harlan’s mugging, which was horrible, and one other mugging that I’m aware of on our block. So it’s horrible, but that’s how likely you are to be a victim.
‘And then there’s just the trauma or the fear because it’s so devastating if you are. It’s complicated from that standpoint, but I don’t believe it makes folks safer and I believe there are lots of ways we could accomplish the same goals differently.’
Announcing her delight at being endorsed by AOC on Saturday, Wiley said: ‘Having the support of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez means the world to me,’ Wiley said. ‘AOC is a fearless champion for our city in Congress.
‘She has fought for working people, taken-on corporate greed, revolutionized the discussion on the urgent need to address climate change, and is an advocate for a more equitable economy. Nobody says and means change like her.’
Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement could help swing the election for Wiley, with a primary due to take place on June 22.
Wiley, (pictured) who is running on a defund the police platform, pays for private security to patrol her Brooklyn neighborhood
AOC was even more unequivocal than Wiley on defunding, saying: ‘Defunding police means defunding police.
‘It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.’
Defund the police has drawn criticism from those who believes it intends to get rid of law enforcement and encourage lawlessness.
Supporters however argue that the movement isn’t about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money.
Activists say it is more about taking positive steps towards police reform in America by spending more on what communities across the US need, such as housing and education.
But both women face firm opposition from many New Yorkers, as serious crime in the Big Apple continues to soar.
Figures from the NYPD’s Compstate website show serious crime rose by 23.4 per cent in May, compared to the same month last year.
Robberies rocketed to 1,082 over the 28 days to May 30, up from just 726 for the same period in 2020.
Felony assaults also soared over by 22.6 per cent the same period, from 1,443 in May 2020, to 1,769 in May 2021.
Mayor de Blasio has repeatedly been accused of being ‘pro-criminal’ by critics. They say his bail reforms – intended to avoid leaving people who can’t afford bail languishing in jail for months or years for petty crimes – releases suspects back onto the streets to go on to reoffend.
Morale among the NYPD has slumped amid lukewarm support from de Blasio. Crime on the city’s transit network – including its buses, subways and trains – doubled in May compared to May 2020, up from 78 last year to 154 this year.