First Day on the Job for Mayor Eric Adams Not a Good Sign for NYPD

Image Credit: YouTube screenshot

Cops across the nation have been wondering how the former police officer and the new mayor of New York City will work out for the men and women of the NYPD. If his first day in office is any sign, maybe the cops should be worried.

In fact, Mayor Eric Adams hadn’t even gotten to his office when, while riding the subway in Brooklyn, on his way to work, surrounded by a gaggle of reporters, he observed three men arguing on a sidewalk down below the elevated subway platform. The New York Post reported, Adams said, “Once a transit cop always a transit cop,” referring to his time with the NYPD where he rose to the rank of captain.

Mayor Adams said he was on his way to work when he noticed the three hostile men. Before too long, the men began throwing punches. “Here we go,” Adams said. “I knew it was only a matter of time, that’s why I kept looking at it.” That’s when he said he called 911. So far, so good.

Adams, who did not identify himself to the 911 operator as the mayor, said he had to repeat his initial report, saying the operator initially misunderstood him.

Not sure why he had to report that insignificant glitch. Misunderstandings happen a lot in police work. They happen a lot speaking on phones.

Anyway, he clarified himself, “No, assault in progress. Not past assault. They are fighting each other on the street right now.”

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The Post reported Adams didn’t appear to have an NYPD security detail accompanying him for his commute. Reportedly, five minutes later, two patrol cars arrived, but the mayor said the three men had just gotten into a car and left the area. For most cops, that signals problem solved.

Since the men left together, there’s likely less to the story than it may have seemed. What the mayor described was not necessarily an assault as much as mutual combat—a fight. Now, the officers can remain available for true emergencies.

The incident might have amounted to something like disturbing the peace. But there were no other people around the three men, in danger of being injured. And, as seen in the Post’s surveillance photo, they didn’t appear to be damaging any property.

It’s been a long time since Adams trod the pavement as a beat cop. Just sayin’.

But reporting the incident is not the problem. It could have gotten worse, and it’s good police were on the way. But the mayor, who, on January 1st, just replaced the worst mayor in American history, went further. He publicly criticized the NYPD officers’ response. On his first day in office. What’s the symbolism in that act?

Now, it’s true Adams is now the cops’ boss. So, it’s his prerogative to criticize, scold, even praise his officers. However, a perennial tenet of good management is praise in public, correct in private. That’s not what Mayor Adams did. Instead, he disparaged how the officers handled the incident. Which was not even an incident once they’d arrived.

The Post also reported, “Adams said the cops should have ‘made inquiries’ and he planned to make the incident a teachable moment when he addressed officers later Saturday during a scheduled visit at the 107th Precinct in Queens.”

“A teachable moment?” As Archie Bunker (of Queens) would have said, “Ah, geez!” I’m quite sure those cops know how to do their jobs. Adams is lucky de Blasio left him with any cops willing to do the job at all.

Adams knows the endless crap the NYPD has suffered through these past several years, serving under the just-ended Warren Wilhelm de Blasio Jr. disaster. Despite knowing this, as mayor, criticizing officers is his first public interaction with the police department? Is it a lack of self-awareness, or is his awareness just filtered through a leftist political lens?

The new mayor’s treatment of these NYPD officers is not just insulting and unnecessary, it’s mean.

Is he trying to allay any fears the folks in his leftist bubble might have that the ex-cop might be pro-cop? Maybe.

From a cop’s perspective, the officers get a call of a physical disturbance at a location the beat cops there likely know well. Even if it came across as an “assault call,” probably a misdemeanor, it’s not the crime of the century—especially in post-de Blasio’s New York City. When the officers arrive, they don’t find three men fighting. And the mayor might know the men are leaving in a car, but the officers don’t.

Also, the officers have witnessed no crime, they have no suspects, and they have no victim. Of whom, exactly, did the mayor want the cops to have “made inquiries?” Any witness would have likely said, “Yeah, I saw three guys fighting. Then they left in a car.” I know. I spent over two decades investigating incidents just like that one.

It’s early in his tenure, so perhaps the mayor will course-correct. Maybe he’s too eager to, again, reassure his leftist allies he won’t be “pro-cop.” Still, it’s sad to see the new mayor using an incident like this to grandstand. Haven’t NYPD officers suffered enough under the previous anti-cop administration?

I guess if you ask Mayor Adams, the answer might be, “No.”

It will take a lot for Adams to overtake de Blasio as the worst mayor New York City has ever had. But, if he’s not careful, this is a good way to start.

meet the author

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer. He's served as a field training officer and on the East Precinct Community Police Team. He's the author of four books, including "De-Policing America: A Street Cop's View of the Anti-Police State." He's also a contributor to the National Police Association.

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4 months ago

A look next week under the grandstand will reveal the mayor’s basic instincts for law and order or just another greasy self-promoting opportunist with a 3 hour lunch routine and doing his stock market research on company time.