Mr. Adams, We Got Our Eyes On You

Mr. Adams, We Got Our Eyes On You

In the Black community, we have the expression about someone having ‘a million-watt smile’, which basically means you have big teeth, but also that you can also light up a room with it. Mayor Eric Adams was born with this smile, and that’s in my opinion at least half the reason he was elected. But smiles can be deceiving, especially when on a politician.

Mr. Eric ‘I’m soooo Brooklyn’ Adams was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to a mother who cleaned homes and father who was a butcher. He had a complicated relationship with the NYPD growing up. And by complicated, I mean he was a young black man, and they were, well the police. At age 14, Adams joined a gang, and later he and his brother were arrested for criminal trespassing. While in police custody, they were beaten by NYPD officers until a black cop intervened. Adams said that the violent encounter motivated him to enter law enforcement. 

He co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group for black police officers that sought criminal justice reform and often spoke out against police brutality and racial profiling. The group also held, problematic to some, tutorials that taught black male youth how to deal with the police if they are detained, which included turning on the car's dome light, putting their hands on the wheel, and deescalating the situation. These tutorials seemed to focus more on accepting unfair and often racist interactions with the police, rather than changing how the police are taught to react.

He retired with the rank of captain from the police force in 2006 after serving more than two decades in the NYPD.

But what do us New Yorkers (by way of Jersey here) want and or hope for? 

Well, we can start with reforming the NYPD, and supporting Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and his criminal justice reforms which include calling on prosecutors to downgrade certain felonies like armed robberies of commercial businesses and to no longer seek prison sentences in some cases.

New York may be on fire at the moment when it comes to crime, but it’s response to crime needs to be reformed, and fast. When asked to define success in a first term. Mr. Adams said confidently it was ‘Public safety” and that that was "the prerequisite to prosperity.” Well, Mr. Mayor, safety should also include being safe from systemic racism that has disproportionately targeted black and brown folks.

What about his promises when it comes to diversity in the New York City political system?

During his campaign, he said that he would appoint a woman to lead the New York City Police Department and he did, setting up Keechant Sewell to be the first female commissioner to lead the country’s largest police force. 

He also announced that five of his deputy mayors will be women – four of them women of color. And the leader of the city Department of Correction will be a Latino man, Louis Molina, overseeing a majority Black and Latino workforce overseeing jails where the majority of people incarcerated are also people of color.

Lately he’s been very adamant about keeping NYC schools open, despite a covid surge in the city. He recently said that he would support a temporary remote learning option for those parents who choose not to risk their children with in-person learning, something we can all get behind.

He’s hit the ground running on some things, but there is much to be seen from Bad Boy for life Mayor Adams.

My whole adult life I’ve had and still have a difficult relationship with the NYPD and policing in this country in general. Most of my adult life has been against the Prison Industrial Complex and fighting for solid police reform. I was never a fan of the NYPD and can’t see being one anytime soon. Do I support our men, women, trans folks and others in blue? I guess so. I understand that in order to maintain a society there needs to be law and order, and this law and order needs to be enforced. But there’s just something about someone who could be part of such a grossly corrupt system such as the NYPD that just makes me in the words of Master P, go uhhhhh, na na na na .

We understand the pressing need for what you campaigned on, bringing peace and order to a chaotic city. But we also want you to remember what you stood and hopefully still stand for, making sure the NYPD changes it’s racist and prejudiced practices.

So, in the meantime Mayor Adams,...we got our eyes on you.

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