Zeldin calls for New York to bring back death penalty in wake of Buffalo shooting
Some New York lawmakers are calling for the death penalty to be brought back to New York in the wake of the fatal Buffalo supermarket shooting.
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who is also running for governor, was one of the first lawmakers to call for reinstating the death penalty after the upstate shooting. Two Republican state lawmakers introduced legislation Monday to bring it back for certain crimes.
However, some community leaders say they are not ready to take the state back to almost two decades ago.
Dr. Richard Koral, with the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, says he disagrees with any efforts to bring back the death penalty to New York after Saturday's deadly shooting.
"I think that's the wrong response,” he says. "It's too easy to mirror the violence and respond with that kind of reactive result."
Investigators say the white suspect in the Buffalo shooting targeted victims because they were Black.
Zeldin says because of this incident, he is advocating for the death penalty to be reinstated as an option for punishment when it comes to certain offenses, like deadly hate crimes.
"You had a shooter who went into that supermarket, into that community, trying to murder as many Black people as he possibly could,” Zeldin says. “This is raw, violent hate that we are feeling in other places with other communities and it's something that's just not welcome anywhere."
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, New York is one of 23 states, along with Washington, D.C., with no death penalty. Twenty-four states have the death penalty, while the governors of three states have declared a moratorium on executions.
Koral says New York should remain a state without the death penalty.
"The death penalty is a knee-jerk reaction, not a considered reaction and there's no evidence whatsoever that the death penalty deters crime,” he says.
News 12 reached out to Gov. Kathy Hochul for a response but has not heard back