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Eric Adams’ police record is fueling his political rise, and it remains a mystery

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Eric Adams’ police record is fueling his political rise, and it remains a mystery

On June 22, 2020, 43 more people died from the pandemic that hit New York City. Protesters took to the streets again, NYPD helicopters hovering low overhead, policemen in riot gear waving protesters and smashing their bikes, continuing the clashes sparked by George Floyd’s murder a month earlier. The idea that a former crime-heavy cop would be the top candidate for mayor a year later seemed far-fetched.

Things have changed. Early voting begins this weekend and ends on June 22, 2021, the day of the primary elections. Crime, not coronavirus, has become the top priority for most voters, according to a new NY1 poll. Y Eric Adams, former captain of the NYPD, is the front runner. What world.

Timing is always of the essence in city elections. David Dinkins won as a racial conciliator in 1989 shortly after Yusuf Hawkins, a black teenager, was murdered by a group of white men in Bensonhurst. Four years later, crime rose and Rudy giuliani he won as a tough ex-prosecutor. Eight years later, the World Trade Center was attacked and the city thought it needed to choose a billionaire businessman. Mike Bloomberg, to recover. Twelve years after that, lefty Bill de Blasio it was the supposed antidote to the autocrat.

Now COVID cases are (thankfully) very low; Adams, a former black cop, sells himself as the perfect combination of police reformer and public safety expert. “Adams says: ‘I have the support of Abner Louima. I have the support of Sean Bell’s father. But I also believe that we must have a strategy to get weapons off the street, ‘”he says. Bruce Gyory, a Democratic strategist who is not working with any of the contenders. “There is a clear majority of New Yorkers who want meaningful criminal justice reform. But there is also a clear majority who want proactive community policing that is not racialized.” He’s at the sweet spot of the electorate. “

As a campaign message, it’s actually working well for Adams. More doubtful is whether Adams has the skills and experience to deliver what he promises. It’s true that his 22 years in the NYPD could give him a level of credibility with the department that de Blasio has lacked a lot. And Adams has at times been clairvoyant in his criticism of the department on racial issues, even while he was still in uniform. However, what Adams actually did as a cop is largely a mystery. Politico has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Adams’ personnel records, but they are still sealed; if there was any investigation of Adams internal affairs, for example, they are still out of sight. During the campaign, Adams has regularly referenced his years wearing a bulletproof vest. Like most young policemen, he apparently spent time on patrol. However, he is primarily remembered by contemporaries as an unremarkable officer during his assignments in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. “Eric was personally well liked, a pretty good boss and an effective self-advocate, but he wasn’t a street cop,” says a NYPD informant. “Hey, what kind of inside. A house mouse “.

Adams’ flagship initiative, Operation Take Back Our Community, which has provided teens of color with guidance on how to react when stopped by police, was launched in his role as co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. Adams was promoted to captain before retiring in 2006 to successfully run for a seat in the New York State Senate. “Eric was made a captain, not an inspector,” says an expert with the New York Police Department. “Captain is the last rank in the civil service. You become a captain by taking exams and you do well on exams if you stay indoors and study. You make him an inspector because people say, ‘That guy knows something about crime.’

When I asked Adams recently about his plans to make the NYPD less abusive and more effective, his focus came down to hiring the right people to do the right jobs. It’s hard to argue with that, of course; harder still to run on a large scale in a department resistant to change. Ask Adams about police reform, and he’s not talking about cutting the NYPD’s budget or their use of force, but about simplifying work. “We need to redefine the public safety ecosystem. We call the police for everything. That’s the wrong way to do it, ”he says. “We need to redefine it and say, ‘Hey, cop. Your role is to hunt down the bad guys and dangerous people and create the omnipresence of safety. ‘ And then let’s look at the other pieces that need to be in place, like the ones that are dealing with mental health illnesses. “How to stop the flow of guns into the city? Adams wants to inspect the buses coming in from out of state and restore the ones. NYPD anti-crime units, which became notorious after Eric Garner’s death by strangulation.

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