Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the fatal stabbing of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors by three teenage muggers as a “tragedy on multiple levels” affecting all involved.
“You have the horrific tragedy of a young woman’s life being taken and so much potential,” the freshman member of Congress said Saturday in a Q&A after a Queens town hall meeting on the census.
“But then you have a tragedy of a young boy that was driven to that point, taken to that point. And I think that tragedy is also one of inter-generational poverty, potentially a broken home, a lack of opportunity.”
Majors, 18, was killed during a Dec.11 robbery in Harlem’s Morningside Park. Three teen-age suspects were arrested for her killing.
Rashaun Weaver, the 14-year-old who allegedly stabbed Majors so hard that feathers flew from her down jacket, was charged as an adult and faces two counts of second-degree murder. A second 14-year-old suspect, along with a 13-year-old youth, were also arrested in the killing of the first-year student from Virginia.
Ocasio-Cortez said she wasn’t sure if the accused teens belonged behind bars, and suggested societal issues were at play.
“I think that is precisely why we have judges in our system,” said the Democratic lawmaker whose district includes parts of Queens and the Bronx.
“I don’t know the entire history (of the suspects) … When you have boys in that scenario, the problem is bigger than them. It’s about the conditions around the child.”
And she said incarceration was not the cure-all: “If we want to reduce crime in our cities, we also need to make investments in education, health care and mental health care … I think when it comes to tragedies like this there are, you know, the tragedy on multiple levels.”
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