Message to BLM: Eric Adams is not backing down.
The Big Apple mayor-elect doubled down on his campaign promise to reinstate the NYPD’s plainclothes unit a day after New York Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome threatened “riots,” “fire” and “bloodshed” should Adams followed through on the move.
“I made it clear on the campaign trail,” Adams said on CNN Thursday morning, a day after the heated meeting with Newsome at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
“I’m going to put in place not the Anti-Crime Unit, I’m going to put in place a plainclothes gun unit. We must zero in on gun violence in our community. You’ve seen what’s happening when a young man, 21 years old, was shot by a 17-year-old man carrying a gun,” Adams said referring to a recent botched gang hit that killed an innocent man in The Bronx.
“This is what I’m doing to do. That was my promise and I’m going to keep it,” Adams said when the CNN host asked if he’d reverse the policy because of Newswome’s threat.
“If they think they are going back to the old ways of policing then we’re going to take to the streets again,” Newsome said outside Borough Hall after the Wednesday meeting.
“There will be riots. There will be fire, and there will be bloodshed,” he warned.
Adams has long promised to bring back a “reinvented” version of the disbanded Anti-Crime Unit that was tasked with firearm busts, as well as a crackdown on violent crime and hard drugs. It was dismantled in the wake of the George Floyd protests because some of the officers in the unit were involved in the high-profile killings of victims like Eric Garner and Sean Bell years earlier.
Adams, the outgoing Brooklyn borough president, opened his doors to Newswome and a handful of other BLM members Wednesday after they held a protest outside his office.
During a clip of the meeting that was live-streamed on Instagram a BLM member asked Adams, “What are you going to do to hold NYPD accountable for their unlawful actions?”
Adams, a retired NYPD captain who pushed police reform as a co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care while still on the force, defended his record.
“Brother, have you been living under a rock? I did it in the department!” Adams shot back.
On CNN, Adams downplayed Newsome’s war of words.
“First, let’s be crystal clear, you had 13 people who did a march from Manhattan to Borough Hall. There are different levels of people who are involved in the Black Lives Matters movement. Let’s not make believe that those 13 people have really consumed all the oxygen in the room,” Adams said.
He also reiterated a familiar stance that he’s a true progressive — as opposed to icons of that far-left movement like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — because he makes decisions based on being practical, not ideological.
“I believe being practical is being progressive,” he said, adding that in addition to policing he has plans for a jobs program and crisis management teams who work in communities to quell violence.