Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams began his first day in office Saturday, calling 911 to report a brawl in a Brooklyn train station.
Hours after being sworn in shortly after midnight, Adams was standing on a platform of the J train subway station when he noticed three men arguing among themselves, according to the New York Post. Adams was en route to City Hall in Manhattan and appeared to be traveling without a security detail, accompanied only by journalists, the Post reported.
Within what Adams said was “only a matter of time,” the three men’s argument turned into a fistfight. The escalation prompted the freshly minted mayor to dial 911, reporting “an assault in progress of three males,” according to the newspaper. Adam had to clarify that it was an “assault in progress” not a “past assault,” after the emergency service operator misunderstood him.
Police officers arrived in two squad cars five minutes after the phone call, the Post reported. But by then, the men who were in the scuffle left. Eventually, the cops left as well, without probing into what had occurred. The officers should have “made inquiries,” Adams said, according to the Post.
The mayor is a retired police captain who had served in the New York City Transit Police and the New York City Police Department for over 20 years.
“Once a transit cop always a transit cop,” Adams said during Saturday’s incident, according to the Post.
Adams on Saturday became the 110th mayor of New York City, replacing former Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The progressive ex-cop defeated his Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa by garnering 67.4 percent of all votes in the November mayoral election, according to election results shared by Politico. Adams won a majority of the votes in all boroughs of the city except Staten Island, where Sliwa won 66.5 percent of the votes and Adams 28.8 percent in that borough.
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) January 1, 2022
Promising to be the “people’s candidate,” Adams has stressed that the safety of the city is one of his top priorities after taking office, according to the mayor’s campaign website.
By the end of 2021, New York City witnessed almost 500 homicides, a number that has never been reached in the last 10 years, according to the Post. The high murder count is part of a trend where the number of fatal incidents has been growing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the outlet reported.
The 2021 homicide count represents a 52 percent leap from numbers before the pandemic, the New York Daily News reported. There was also a rise in rapes, robberies, assaults and car theft in 2021, police noted, according to the newspaper.
“Overall index crime in New York City increased by 21.3% in November 2021, compared with November 2020 (10,186 v. 8,396). Burglary saw a 5.7% decrease for November 2021 (1,266 v. 1,342), Robbery increased by 24.1% (1,418 v. 1,143) and Felony Assault increased by 11.2 % (1,868 v. 1,680),” the New York City Police reported in December 2021. “Through November 2021, overall index crime year-to-date increased by 3.4% compared to 2020.”
Adams vowed to employ “targeted initiatives” to help fight city crime, according to a copy of his safety plan published on his campaign website. The plan entails zeroing in on violent crimes, especially those involving firearms.
The mayor also seeks to revive the department’s anti-crime unit, which was disbanded by de Blasio, as an “anti-gun unit” and bolster enforcement of the city’s strict gun laws. He seeks to toughen handgun laws so that New York City residents “are not put at risk by lax laws in other counties and municipalities,” the safety plan states.
Unlike some of his progressive counterparts in the Democratic Party, Adams maintains that police have an important role to play in the war on crime.
That puts him at odds with those in his party’s leftist wing, such as Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
“Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist… I am done with those who condone government funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” Tlaib wrote in an April 13 tweet.
It wasn't an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.
Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder.
No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 12, 2021
Adams, on the contrary, argues cops play an indispensable role in curbing crime.
“If we are for SAFETY – we NEED the NYPD!” the mayor’s campaign website declared. Adams promised to address the “crisis of confidence in our police” by improving the diversity in the police force, and increasing transparency on how the city leadership deals with police misbehavior.
We have to turn pain into purpose.
At 15 years old, I was beaten inside the 103rd Precinct.
Today I returned as your mayor with a clear message to our officers:
We have your backs.
But there’s a covenant; we will hold you to a high standard as we keep our city safe. pic.twitter.com/pdV5wa7oS3
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) January 1, 2022
“We have your backs,” Adams wrote in a Saturday Twitter post with a “clear message” to cops. “But there’s a covenant; we will hold you to a high standard as we keep our city safe.”
The train station brawl was not the only crime-related issue Adams had to deal with on his first day in office. A bullet hit an off-duty police officer sleeping in his personal car between shifts in the city’s 25th Precinct, WABC-TV reported Saturday.
When the officer woke up, he was bleeding from his head and his vehicle’s window was broken, according to WABC-TV. He walked into the precinct where other officers saw he was bleeding, the outlet reported.
Below is a picture of the round that penetrated the officer’s vehicle. pic.twitter.com/rkjbCAMIQ8
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 1, 2022
“You don’t start bringing in the new year with bringing in violence. It’s unacceptable,” Adams said, according to WABC.
Surgeons have removed bullet fragments from the officer’s head, and expect him to make a recovery, according to WABC. Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for the incident, the station reported.