Veteran politician Eric Adams has won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City, and if he is victorious in the upcoming general elections, the Brooklyn Borough president and former police captain will be the city’s second Black mayor.
Adams rose to the top in a crowded field of Democratic candidates that included former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Adams did this in part by targeting the political center and promising “to strike the right balance between fighting crime and ending racial injustice in policing,” CNBC reported.
Voting in the primary ended June 22 but a count of absentee ballots was just completed and Adams was declared the victor on July 6.
“Adams won by constructing an old-school political coalition of labor unions, political clubs, religious leaders, and homeowners in the majority-Black precincts of Brooklyn and Queens,” New York Magazine reported.
Adams, 60, is now the favorite in the general election against Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the citizen-run safety organization the Guardian Angels. In New York City, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans seven-to-one.
A moderate Democrat, Adams opposed the “defund the police” movement.
“If Black lives really matter, it can’t only be against police abuse. It has to be against the violence that’s ripping apart our communities,” Adams said. A 22-year police veteran, Adams himself endured police brutality as a teenager and has often told the story of how he was beaten by officers at age 15.
Adams joined the police force in 1984 and rose to the rank of captain. While in the NYPD, he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group that pushed for criminal justice reform and against racial profiling. Adams left the NYPD to run for and win a state Senate seat in 2006.
In 2013, Adams was elected Brooklyn borough president, his current job.
According to political observers, Adams is a study in contradictions. He’s a moderate Democrat who was an early advocate for same-sex marriage. He has often been defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. He is a police brutality victim who is against defunding the police. During his time on the force, he was considered an outspoken voice against some police tactics and policies.
“He was a fierce advocate for Black officers, infuriating his superiors with news conferences and public demands. As he rose through the ranks to captain, he spoke out against police brutality, and, later, the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics,” The New York Times reported.
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While Adams is pro-police, he wants some changes in the NYPD, according to his policy vision on his website.
“We cannot go back to a New York that is unsafe for New Yorkers—especially our children. We won’t go back. If we are for SAFETY – we NEED the NYPD!” the website says. Adams is calling for “tracking crime, analyzing data, and good police” while increasing community policing.
“I don’t hate police departments — I hate abusive policing, and that’s what people mix up,” Adams told The New York Times. “When you love something, you’re going to critique it and make it what it ought to be, and not just go along and allow it to continue to be disruptive.”