Brooklyn, NY – Newly-inaugurated New York City Mayor Eric Adams took aim at the New York Police Department (NYPD) on his first day in the office after he called 911 to report an assault in progress and didn’t like the way officers responded.
Adams was surrounded by reporters and waiting for the J train in Bushwick at about 8 a.m. on Jan. 1 on his way to City Hall for the first time as mayor when he spotted two men fighting on the sidewalk below the train platform, the New York Post reported.
There was also a third man involved who was trying to intervene.
So the mayor called 911 and reported “an assault in progress,” WPIX reported.
NYPD officers responded to the scene, but by the time they arrived, two of the three men had already left the area.
Adams said the responding officers talked to the one man who was still there, but never got out of their police car to investigate before they left, WPIX reported.
The new mayor, a former NYPD captain in the transit division, told reporters that he would have investigated more thoroughly had he been the officer who responded to that 911 call.
“I think that what happened there, it is crucial that we use that interaction as a teaching moment. The officers, I believe, should have stopped, carried out a more thorough investigation, interview people at the scene. I don’t believe they did that properly,” Adams told WPIX.
“We should instruct how we want these jobs handled, and how we want them to come to a proper resolution,” he said. “And I’m going to look at that and make sure we instruct the officers on what my expectations are.”
He also told the WNYW a version of the same thing in an interview later in the day, according to New York Post.
“They did not do what I believe to be a thorough inquiry,” Adams said. “The officers should have stopped, they should have done a proper investigation.”
“Our officers feel, for the most part, that we did not have their backs as government officials, and I’m going to say, ‘I have your back,’” the mayor continued.
“I’m going to… give you the tools to do your job, but you have an obligation not to be abusive and to ensure that you provide the services that this city deserves and needs,” he added.
Some officers weren’t thrilled that the new mayor chose to kick off his new relationship with NYPD by shaming them to reporters.
But NYPD sources told The Police Tribune they weren’t surprised that Adams came in on the attack.
“To an extent, it’s what’s expected from politicians in New York,” one NYPD officer said.
“We’re all well aware that we’re a necessary evil and when it comes down to it, we’re always the first ones to get blamed for any problem,” he said. “Anybody who thought it would be different because Adams used to be a cop wasn’t paying attention to his campaign rhetoric. We saw this coming.”
Another NYPD source defended the officers to The Police Tribune and said there wasn’t enough information available for the mayor to make those sorts of statements yet.
“We have to know what got relayed to them,” he explained. “What did the dispatcher tell the officers, not just what did the mayor tell 911. We need details.”
“With all the rules about stopping people, if they didn’t have enough probable cause to stop or hold anybody, the mayor would have been on the other soapbox screaming about how the officers violated those peoples’ rights,” the officer added.